If you’ve heard the phrase “growth mindset” lately, you’re not alone. The idea that you can develop your abilities is impactful to many people. Read on if you’re wondering what exactly a growth mindset is and how you can develop it for yourself.
What Is A Growth Mindset
A growth mindset is the belief that a person’s talents can be developed. It was made famous by psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Her theory is that there are 2 mindsets: the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. The fixed mindset holds that intelligence is static, whereas the growth mindset believes that intelligence can be developed and people with this mindset have a desire to learn. They are persistent, hard workers and continuous learners. Those with a fixed mindset avoid challenges, give up when faced with obstacles and are threatened by the success of others.
Fortunately, if you find the idea of a growth mindset intriguing, you can learn how to develop it and better yourself. People with a growth mindset are more motivated to work hard and determined to achieve success. The following are some tried and true ways to develop a growth mindset:
Rather than shying away from obstacles, learn to approach them with curiosity and determination. A challenge is something that you need to work through to overcome, so treat it that way. If you feel you aren’t making progress, take a step back and reevaluate. Be brave in the face of obstacles and use them to propel you toward your goals.
Learn From Mistakes
Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Try to replace the word “failed” with “learned.” Find lessons out of everything you do and you will approach the world differently. Pay attention to the mistakes of others as well and learn from them.
Practice Positive Thinking
Positive thinking has been proven to improve our health and enable us to deal with stress better. It takes practice, but over time you can improve your self-esteem and even increase your lifespan from positive thinking. Try to identify negative self-talk, like “I can’t do this,” “This is too hard,” and “I’m not good enough,” and flip it to something positive like, “I CAN do this!” For more tips, read 5 Ways Positive Thinking Can Change Your Life.
Find Your Purpose
People who have a growth mindset are passionate and that passion drives them to achieve. Find what you’re passionate about and make it into something purposeful that you can put effort into. Cathy Heller says that, “The opposite of depression is not happiness. It’s purpose.”
Learn From Criticism
Many people are afraid of new things because they fear what others will say when they aren’t successful. Rather than avoiding new things because of criticism, make a choice to learn from criticism. It will allow you to be more open to new experiences and you may be surprised when you are open to learning from others.
Embrace The Journey
Having goals is a powerful thing - but don’t narrow your focus to the end game. The journey is filled with hard work and determination. Enjoy the journey and embrace the times when you find yourself in the flow and making progress. Keep in mind that success is not a destination, it is a habit.
Angela Duckworth’s 2013 Ted Talk introduced the world to “grit.” She became interested in grit as a teacher when she noticed that the students who did the best in school did not have the highest IQs, but they were the ones who worked the hardest. Then as a psychology graduate student, she studied children and adults and found one characteristic that was a significant predictor of success: grit. According to Duckworth, “grit is passion and perseverance for very long-term goals.” If you’re interested in hearing more about grit from the trailblazer herself, check out her 6 minute Ted Talk:
You can learn more about grit, how you can develop it and the impactful stories that she based her research on in her book, Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance.
Never Stop Learning
Something that all lifelong learners have in common is that they are open-minded. You have to be open in order to learn new ideas and expand your horizons. Pick up a book or watch some Ted Talks the next time you want to put the TV on. If you meet someone who is an expert in their field, ask them questions. Try to set aside time each week to learn something new about anything you’re interested in.
Having a growth mindset is up to you. You have made the decision to learn how you can develop a growth mindset, so starting today make an effort to face obstacles, learn from your mistakes and never give up.
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