growth mindset versus fixed mindset

If you’ve ever thought that having natural talent would make you more successful, you were wrong. See success comes down to mindset, not skill and what you want to have is a growth mindset.

If you’re not sure what type of mindset you have, or you want to create success in your life, keep reading. Because the good news is that you can cultivate a growth mindset at any age, and I’ll share tips with you on how to do it.

What is a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset?

Fixed mindset and growth mindset are terms coined by Dr Carol Dweck, a leading mindset psychological professor, and are used to describe a person’s beliefs to learning, intelligence and achievement.

In simple terms, a fixed mindset believes that talent is innate whereas a growth mindset believes effort leads to improved outcomes.

People with more of a fixed mindset tend to be limited in their perception of what is possible. They assume that achievement and success is the direct result of their inherent intelligence and ability. They are less likely to persist with tasks and develop mastery, as they do not believe improvement is possible. Furthermore, people a fixed mindset avoid taking risks in order to avoid the possibility of failure.

In contrast, people with a growth mindset think the opposite is true. They believe that effort will lead to improvement which will ultimately result in achievement and success. They are therefore willing to make sustained effort, which promotes progress and achieves better outcomes. Instead of avoiding failure, a person with a growth mindset embraces the challenge and sees ‘failures’ as opportunities for growth and development.

Why is mindset crucial to success?

In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck explains that “When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.

In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.

In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.”

success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm

Because continued success requires perseverance, dedication and tenacity, a growth mindset is necessary as it allows you to keep progressing towards your goals, despite the inevitable failures and hiccups.

Now before you stress that you have a fixed mindset, it is important to be aware that everyone has a mixture of both growth and fixed mindsets. Therefore, we each need to consciously commit to fostering our growth mindset every day.

How you can cultivate a growth mindset  

It may sound obvious that sustained effort leads to better outcomes, but it’s not. Beliefs are formed at pivotal moments in our lives, and our mindset towards learning is consequently ingrained at a young age.

The great news is that neuroscience proves that our brain plasticity allows neural pathways to connect and strengthen through experience. Because of this, it means our actions impact our beliefs and that our beliefs can be changed.

Here are some examples of how you can cultivate your own growth mindset.

  • Embrace the word ‘yet’. This focuses your attention on your trajectory rather than your current position and fosters a mentality of life-long learning.
  • Focus on continuously improving your habits because by making consistent small changes you can see exponential improvements.
  • Create an environment that supports risk-taking and values the process of achievement, not just the outcomes.
  • View every challenge as an opportunity. In other words, ask yourself ‘what can I learn from this situation?’ in every situation.
  • Focus on your purpose and keep your big picture front of mind.

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