Adopting a Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck, a renowned psychologist, researcher, and professor at Stanford University, uses the term “mindset” to describe how people view their abilities and talents. Dweck describes two mindsets that exist on a continuum, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. 

Fixed mindset.

A fixed mindset is inflexible in that it assumes one already possesses the talent and knowledge to succeed. Thus, people who have fixed mindsets are not as open to learning new perspectives and skills. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that their abilities are innate and unchangeable. Those working from this mindset also tend to believe that failure is permanent and that any form of feedback is a personal attack. are likely to give up when faced with challenges. Those with fixed mindsets are likely to give up when faced with obstacles, choosing easier tasks that they know they can accomplish with ease. A fixed mindset focuses on measurable outcomes and accomplishments. While such outcomes are often desired, working from this mindset limits our ability to reap all of the benefits that can be gained from the process of reaching a goal. 

Growth mindset. 

Those with a growth mindset truly believe that their skills and talents can be developed through hard work, dedication, practicing good strategies, and seeking feedback from others. Growth mindset emphasizes the process of working towards desired outcomes, notably by seeking help from others in a collaborative manner and capitalizing on setbacks to move forward effectively. Those working from a growth mindset believe that failure is a chance to learn; working from this mindset allows us to approach challenging tasks and situations with confidence, as we know that any setbacks will serve as chances to adapt. Those who embrace a growth mindset put more energy into the learning process in a way that is educational and empowering. To adopt a growth mindset is to commit to the journey of continual improvement and to find value in the process of doing so.

Adopting a growth mindset may help us find greater comfort with taking personal risks, may broaden the type of goals we reach for, may improve our motivation, improve work relationships, and may result in higher performance levels; research conducted by Dweck has backed these benefits. 

How to adopt a growth mindset.

Working from a growth mindset starts with focusing on the learning process; seek out information to broaden your knowledge through books, academic publications, podcasts, and conferences. Find and follow role models who practice the growth mindset in their own lives for inspiration and example. Acknowledge where your mindset is fixed; inquire with yourself about where you feel your talents and abilities are inflexible, reframing your beliefs to be more aligned with that of the growth mindset. Identify your goals to enhance your sense of motivation in pursuing them. When faced with challenges and “failures” on the way to your goal, do your best to view these points as opportunities; a challenge may indicate another way to move forward or the need for more concentrated effort. Be the truest form of yourself in a way that is open to new experiences, different perspectives, and embraces the humility of the human experience.