Your mindset is the key basis for your life and will result in chain effects. A person with a growth mindset will live a life completely different from a person with a fixed mindset.
The growth mindset was introduced by Carol Dweck, who wrote the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She made a distinction between these two mindsets and use this distinction to explain the growth and achievements of individuals.
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How does a mindset affect your life?
Your mindset affects the way you think. How you think will then affect the way you act and the actions you take. With different actions and habits, this will lead to different achievements and results.
Different mindsets will lead to different personalities. This is how your life will be affected by your mindset.
Learn more about this cycle by reading The Personal Growth Model: What Is It and How to Use It.
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What is the growth mindset?
By observing your colleagues and friends, you may able to identify people with different mindsets. To understand more about these two mindsets, here are the main characteristics of people with a growth mindset.
They believe in learning and growth.
People with a growth mindset believe in trying and learning. They believe in diligence and participation. Even though they are not familiar with a certain area of knowledge, or do not possess certain skills, they believe they can attain them by actively trying and learning.
People with a fixed mindset, however, believe that intelligence is set. They always wish to show others that they are smart and are very conscious of how others think of them. They believe that their efforts will not bring about positive outcomes and refuse to give the challenges a try.
They focus on the process instead of the outcome.
A person with a growth mindset tends to believe that everything can be changed by their participation. On the contrary, people with a fixed mindset tend to fixate their mind in a very limited area and refuse to work on things which they believe are beyond their capacities.
A person with a fixed mindset is often afraid of challenges and limits their own potential. They often tell themselves that “This is too difficult. I won’t be able to make it”. A person with a fixed mindset often focuses on the outcome and forget about enjoying the process of learning and trying. Once they encounter challenges, they choose to protect themselves or give up.
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset are not afraid of challenges and they are always eager to give it a try.
They are willing to learn from criticisms.
People with a growth mindset are able to recover from threats, criticisms, stress and adversities. They are able to quickly adjust themselves and learn from mistakes and failures, hence attaining personal growth from their failures and adversities.
As mentioned, people with a fixed mindset are conscious of others’ comments. They are worried about others’ perception of them and will get very upset when they receive negative feedback. As a result, they will often choose to ignore those comments and feedback and hence fail to learn from them.
So how does a person with a growth mindset think?
To summarise, a person with a growth mindset will generally say:
- I believe I can figure out how to resolve this problem.
- I am able to do this, even though I may need to spend a bit more time on it.
- Never mind, I can learn from my mistakes.
- I don’t know how to do this, but I will know if I learn it.
- Others’ success can be an inspiration for me.
- I gain from others’ criticisms to my or my work.
- I need to try out other ways of handling this and I will be able to do better!
However, a person with a fixed mindset often thinks:
- I don’t want people to think I am a loser.
- I don’t like asking questions as I don’t want to be laughed at.
- I am not good at this. This is too difficult. I should give up.
- I don’t like receiving criticisms.
- I tried my best already. It is what it is.
- When I failed, I feel depressed and think that I am useless. I just can’t make it.
- Others’ success is a threat to me.
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3 misunderstandings regarding the growth mindset
“I already have a growth mindset.”
People often confuse the growth mindset with characteristics like optimistic, positive and flexible. Many believe that they already possess these characteristics.
However, each individual may have both a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Your mindset may change according to different circumstances and experiences.
Very often, it is mistaken to say that we own a growth mindset fully and completely in all situations.
“A growth mindset is all about rewards and encouraging results”
While results are important, it is not the basis of a growth mindset.
Instead, the growth mindset should focus on the process of learning and improvement. It should encourage proactive learning through seeking help, challenging yourself, and grow from failures.
Positive results and achievements are attained by continuous participation.
“I can achieve great things as long as I possess a growth mindset”
A good mission is a foundation for success, but it is not everything. A company would not succeed without effective implementation.
As such, developing a growth mindset is not just about changing your thoughts. It’s about thinking in a different way that can help you take up challenges and risks. It is about focusing on experiences and the process of attaining success.
This means you will have to take actions in acquiring those experiences.
In short, a growth mindset is only the first step. A growth mindset is what that encourages you to take advantage of the opportunities available.
You will have to adopt concrete strategies to realise the value of a growth mindset.
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4 steps to developing a growth mindset
We understand that a growth mindset is what that helps you to keep challenging yourself and grow. But how can we develop a growth mindset?
First, you should accept that we may have a fixed mindset in certain circumstances.
As described, your mindset has a mixed feature of both the two mindsets. There is no reason why we should be ashamed of our own mindset.
Instead, we should learn to recognise our views, face them and accept them.
Next, we have to understand what causes us to develop a fixed mindset.
When did it start to appear? Was it because of a challenge I faced before? Was it because I failed once after putting in a lot of effort? How did I feel at that time? What caused that feeling? What decision I had made?
By observing your own mindset, you can figure out the reason why you have adopted such views and values.
Next, you should identify your thoughts and write them down. You should constantly remind yourself of the thoughts you are having and how they are affecting you.
Finally, you should educate yourself about the impact of a fixed mindset. You should be aware of how it will be an impediment when you face certain challenges, and you should think about what you would do if you have adopted a growth mindset in that situation.
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