Is Human Mindset Set in Stone?
Every human being is innately different and this means that our mentality, beliefs and reactions are uniquely different in each situation. When faced with a challenging situation, every individual usually has a different approach on how to tackle the problem at hand. Our reactions all boil down to the abilities that we think that we possess. Our beliefs about our abilities to tackle each situation we are faced with form the foundation of the mindset that we have. Thoughts on how to react or behave tend to change depending on the situation at hand and it is therefore safe to say that mindset is malleable and flexible. After close to three decades of research, renowned Stanford psychologist and researcher Carol Dweck posited that mindset has a great impact on personality, how we view the world and our overall success in what we attempt in life. She argues that a small change in mindset or lack thereof can have far reaching effects on every aspect of an individual’s life. In her research findings, Dweck says that the mindset can broadly be classified into two categories namely:
1. Fixed mindset
2. Growth mindset
What Does Having a Fixed Mindset Mean?
People who have a fixed mindset tend to assume that their creativity, intelligence and abilities are somewhat carved in stone and they cannot be easily changed. Persons with this mindset tend to crave an affirmation of their abilities and shy away from situations that may put their ability to perform optimally and perfectly in question. Simply put, people with this type of mindset prefer to remain in a ‘comfort zone’ where they are not challenged to learn or explore any new problem-solving skills that may shine a light on their ‘imperfections’.
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What Does Having a Growth Mindset Mean?
Persons with a growth mindset tend to view challenges as a ladder towards personal growth and development rather than a stumbling block to be avoided. People with this mindset tend to incrementally upskill with a view of becoming equal to the task. When faced with a challenge that they cannot solve, persons with this mindset would rather expose their inequities and find a solution instead of hiding their flaws in fear of being thought imperfect.
Why Is Growth Mindset Key to Achieving Success in All Aspects of Life?
There are several reasons why people with a growth mindset puts an individual on the path to reaching higher achievements in life. Life is full of twists and turns and as mentioned earlier, mindset powers thought which in turn dictates the direction that we take in life. Persons who have a growth mindset believe that there is no challenge that cannot be conquered. All that is needed to solve a particularly tricky problem is a new outlook and a new set of skills. This mindset usually gives an individual a thirst for new knowledge in all areas of life. Instead of backing down when faced by insurmountable challenges, people with a growth mindset tend to persevere, embrace and understand setbacks and, seek help when in doubt. They also tend to participate in helping others grow and do not look consider teamwork as an opportunity to shine rather they see it in an opportunity to learn as well as draw inspiration and knowledge from others. Most importantly, they do not seek validation and they tend to accept criticism constructively as a way of enhancing themselves. The combination of the traits discussed above are what put people with a growth mindset on a path to high levels of higher achievement and more fulfilment in life. In contrast, people with a fixed mindset tend to believe that only they can do things right. They usually look at failure as a blot on their record which must be avoided at all costs. People with this mindset to avoid challenges and give up fairly quickly when faced with any obstacles in their day to day life. Given that you cannot learn anything new if you are not gaining new skills, learning from peers or willing to accept mistakes, people with this mindset rarely get any upward development trajectory in life.
How Does Having a Growth Mindset Positively Impact Various Aspects of a Person’s Life?
1. Professional Relationships
Team work and consultation is the glue that binds together the workforce in any organization. When employees are working as a team, productivity and morale at the workplace is usually higher. When in doubt on how to proceed when faced with a problem, people with a growth mindset would rather seem vulnerable but get directions and answers from other people in the workplace. Strong bonds and healthy relationships with other workers are usually forged in the process of such consultations. In contrast people who have a fixed mindset like proving themselves and their abilities whenever they are given a chance. This can at times be detrimental to overall workplace productivity and workplace relationships. People with a fixed mindset would rather provide work that is less than perfect rather than consult fellow workers to provide quality results.
2. Personal Relationships
One of the main reasons why many personal relationships go sour is because people to avoid embracing the imperfections that show up in the course of the relationship. Unlike people with a fixed mindset who rarely like being reminded that they may also be imperfect, people with a growth mindset understand that they are not always right. They know that sometimes, they may be the source of the problem in the relationship. Instead of assigning blame and trying to always be on the right side, people with a growth mindset tend embrace their errors while at the same time actively working towards finding a solution for the problem at hand.
3. Personal Development
People with a growth mindset believe that gaining new skills is key in wholesome development. As such, they tend to continuously identify personal flaws that maybe hindering them from achieving their full potential. Unlike people with a fixed mindset who believe that character and habits are hard to turn around, people who have a mindset oriented towards growth usually chip away at their bad habits continuously until they reach levels that suit their development goals. Additionally, people with a growth mindset understand that development is a milestone that must be achieved progressively rather than overnight. When faced with insurmountable blocks to personal development, individuals with this mindset tend to put in the effort no matter the light they are portrayed in as they undertake their endeavors. Ultimately, they understand that there is no shame in fighting to become a better person.
4. Future Preparedness
The world is constantly changing and the attendant developments need people who can upgrade their skills, talents, abilities and, adapt to changes. People with a growth mindset tend to see new challenges as a way of becoming better and this essentially makes any changes that arise in the future fodder for growth. To cap it off, people with a growth mindset are open to dynamic change. Embracing that you can change any aspect of your life is usually the first step towards achieving any real positive change in any area of life.
Top Ideas on How to Gain a Growth Mindset?
According to findings from the research by Carol Dweck, there are certain steps that you can take to achieve a growth mindset. It all comes down to embracing positive strategies that help you change your beliefs. If you believe that you are capable of change, you can affect the change you desire in your life. Below are some useful strategies you can start implementing to foster a growth mindset within yourself.
1. Acknowledge any deficiencies and limitations you have and embrace them
The first step to fostering a growth mindset is to identify the limitations you have in your life. After understanding your weaknesses, it is critical that you embrace them. For example, if you tend to put off making incremental development goals, start by doing something small that will ultimately help you become the person you eventually want to become. Ensure that you identify the things that feed your limitations and start eliminating them one by one. Self-development is a journey and not a race and as such be patient with yourself. Remember that you are a work-in-progress and masterpieces take time to perfect.
2. Yearn for more in life
One of the reasons why people tend to avoid challenges is that they fear failure. Instead of running from obstacles that present themselves in your life, you should start embracing the heat they bring. Challenges usually come in hand with new opportunities and they usually present a great opportunity to learn new things about yourself. Do not be afraid of tackling something new in life since it is the only way that you will get out of your comfort zone. Remember that each obstacle you tackle will give you extra skills while in the process motivating you to go even further in your journey of self-development.
3. Pace yourself
If you have decided to learn something new, first identify which learning strategies work best for you. You may have the motivation to learn something new but if you are using the wrong techniques to upskill, your efforts can end up coming to nil. Research on the best strategies to learn your desired skill and if possible, combine different techniques to shorten the learning period.
4. Do not be afraid to ask for help
One of the key attributes of people with a growth mindset is that they are not afraid to ask for assistance even if it may dent their image. Remember, no one has a monopoly on knowledge. If you are having trouble making adjustments to your life or learning a new skill, do not be shy about consulting other people. Shared experiences can help you develop multiple skills in one area which is a great thing.
5. Remember that your mind is flexible
The human brain is always developing and forming new connections to adjust to environmental changes and new situations. Do not be afraid of taking advantage of natural biology. If you open yourself up to learning new things that align with a growth mindset, your brain will adapt.
6. Focus on learning instead of seeking approval for your efforts
If you are constantly seeking affirmation in whatever you do, you are limiting your potential. To embrace a growth mindset, you must be willing to shed off vanity and avoid being a people-pleaser. Instead, focus on developing yourself and making yourself better because ultimately all the benefits of the new mindset will be yours.
7. Instead of looking at the outcome, focus on the process
Try to align your current abilities and intelligence with understanding what you are learning. Keep in mind that learning new things and adapting to change will be a difficult process. You should therefore go in ready to face setbacks and grit hard so as to achieve what you ultimately desire. Remember that before finally acquiring the skill or change that you desire you will have to go through numerous different processes. It is also imperative that you approach any new learning challenge with enthusiasm. If you are keen and eager to learn things, you are more likely to pick up extra tidbits of useful information along the learning process.
8. Appreciate the performance of others
One trait of people with a growth mindset is that they appreciate when other people they are working with develop themselves. If you are learning something new as part of a team, ensure that you congratulate and appreciate each person for the contributions that they make.
9. Remember learning takes time
Do not expect that the growth mindset will manifest automatically overnight. Development is an incremental process that takes time. Take time to learn and ingrate the new things that you learn within instead of rushing off to acquire new skills when you have not yet mastered previous lessons.
10. Approach your new self with a sense of purpose
To gain a growth mindset quicker, approach every new lesson that you are taking with a sense of purpose. Ideally, when breaking a habit, starting a new habit or learning something new, you should have a detailed long-term goal on how what you have learnt will help you later in life. By working with a purpose in mind, you will be able to motivate yourself to take small steps each day to eventually help get you where you want to be in the long run.
11. Accept criticism
One of the best ways to learn new things is to accept when you have made mistakes and make the requisite corrections. Remember that criticism and corrections are not a way of pointing out your faults rather they are a way of helping you improve your abilities. Instead of getting angry when corrected, learn and rectify your mistakes. Additionally, learn how to offer criticism in such a way that you do not hurt the feelings of the person you are correcting.
12. Do not be afraid of making mistakes
When learning new things, be ready to make mistakes. Even when you fail at something several times, avoid getting frustrated and venting. Instead, apply more effort in your endeavors. Be persistent and remember trying something out several times means that you are inspired and motivated to make the necessary changes.
13. Ensure that you evaluate what you learn
It is very easy to slide back to your previous mentality if you are not keeping the changes you make in your life at heart. Whether you are adopting a new habit or learning something new, ensure that you evaluate and reflect on what you have gained at the end of each single day. One of the best ways to make change permanent is to constantly practice what you have gained on a daily basis until you are fully adept at it.
14. Search for inspiration
When it comes to learning something new or changing anything in your life, it is very easy to get de-motivated halfway especially if you lack will power, motivation and grit. When adopting any change or learning anything new, ensure that you seek motivation and inspiration. The best way to maintain grit when undertaking any new endeavor is to maintain a keen interest in what you are doing.
15. Be consistent in your development
You can never learn enough. When you feel that you are sufficiently good at what you were learning the previous day, find something new to keep you occupied. To sustain a growth mindset, ensure that you constantly set new goals each day. With each goal that you accomplish, set a new one! A continuous learning curve will keep you motivated in continuously making yourself better while at the same time ingratiating the growth mindset within you.
16. Approach the change you desire with commitment and passion
If you are not fully committed to making a mindset change, you will find yourself backpedaling to your previous state of mind constantly. To give yourself room to grow, you have to shed the notion that your current skills are all that you will ever need in life. Remember you can only achieve a growth mindset if you believe that you have the ability and will to make yourself better.
17. Learn something new each day
Keep in mind that any day that you go to bed without learning something new is a waste. People with a growth mindset always learn something new before the sun sets. If there is no one nearby to teach you your desired skill or to help you make the change you desire in life, delve into books. It is worth noting that to achieve a growth mindset, you should focus on reading books that add value to you.
18. Study accomplished people who have a proven growth mindset
To get invaluable tips and advice on how you can achieve your desired mindset quicker, consider studying accomplished people who are known to have a growth mindset. Check to see the life choices they made to get where they are today and start implementing the tips that apply to your case in your life. If something has worked successfully for several other people in the past, it will probably work for you too. In whatever you are doing to align yourself to a growth mindset, remember to be patient with yourself. Change takes time. The results you desire may not present themselves overnight but if you are persistent and tenacious in your efforts, they will eventually pay off. REMEMBER, according to the research findings by Carol Dweck, mindset starts forming at an early age. If you are a parent, take steps to cultivate a growth mindset in your kids. Though you can adapt a new mindset at any age, it is easier for kids to gain a growth mindset compared to adults since their brains are still at the formative stage. Some of the things that you can do to foster a positive growth mindset in your kids and set them up for future success include:
Teach them healthy lifestyle habits at a young age
Appreciate the efforts that they make instead of the traits that they display
When they perform well, appreciate their achievements but show them that they can still do better
Teach them the importance of continuous self-development
In conclusion, remember you are never too old to adopt a growth mindset. Man is mind and if you set your mind to it, you can!