In my journey of personal development I have recently come across the idea of a growth mindset. While reading the book aptly titled Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. The astonishing thing I realised after reading this amazing book was that I definitely showed characteristics of the fixed mindset. This actually frustrated me because if someone was to ask me whether I had a growth or fixed mindset? I would have confident said well and truly a growth mindset. Although after analysing some of the questions that were posed in the book. The way I answered, it seemed in some cases I demonstrated the fixed mindset. Thankfully this book was a great resource on how to develop a growth mindset.
What is the growth mindset?
Firstly we should star by understand what a ‘mindset’ is. As Dweck points out in her book a mindset is a self theory that people hold about themselves. For example believing that you are either intelligent or not intelligent. Further examples can be that someone may believe that they are a good parent or a bad parent. The mindset being the self theory on what they believed about themselves or a trait that they have.
The theory of the growth mindset came about from Carol Dweck. Her team having studied the behaviour of thousands of Children over a 30 year period. This was spawned off their interest in understanding childrens attitudes towards failure. Thousands of children having gone through the study they realised that certain children demonstrated mindsets. This now coined by Dr Dweck as the growth mindset.
What the mindset demonstrates is that people have underlying beliefs about their intelligence and their ability to learn. For example if children actually believed they could get smarter. This would allow them to place greater effort and develop greater learning outcomes. Their ability to learn was much stronger than those with those that thought they thought their abilities were fixed.
A mindset now being a self theory about a trait or characteristic. A growth mindset simply meant that you believe that these traits or characteristics could be changed. The opposite being a fixed mindset, which speak for itself. You believe that your traits and characteristics are fixed.
Steps to developing a growth mindset
The first step to developing a growth mindset is to recognise. Recognise that you may well truly hold some fixed beliefs about yourself. An example that I used for myself was that I believed that I had a certain amount of cardio ability. I thought had a certain limit to what I could achieve. This was a false belief. But because I held such a belief for such a long time I didn’t even try. So the first step is to RECOGNISE!
Now that you recognise a fixed mindset attributes as mentioned above. Now you need to put in the EFFORT. When you place a focus on real effort into achieving something it allows people to be succesful. As Neil Pasricha discusses in his book The Happiness Equation. Moving past barriers of can’t do and won’t do, you need to just do. As the old Nike slogan says, ‘Just do it‘ the simple effort trying.
Sometimes the effort may not necessarily work to get to the goal that you are trying to. So stepping back and reassessing and trying different strategies can be more beneficial. Rather than telling yourself to just try harder. If you think a certain method is not working to achieve your goal. Think to yourself is there a way I could do this differently to achieve my goal? As I go back to my example of my inability to do intensive cardio. I initially thought this because, jogging and circuit training were just not my thing. I kept trying and never got far. Then I discovered jump rope. This suite my body much better and was the perfect high intensity work out to achieve my goal.
Focus on the learning rather than the comparison. In Dweck’s study they found that when student had upcoming tests, there were those that took the test as a chance to discover how much they learnt. While there were others who took the opportunity to compare themselves against others. Those who focus on what they learned were task orientate and as such this leads to greater motivation, confidence and performance. You should only measure your results to what you have learned and what you achieved. You are the measuring stick not others.
How to develop a growth mindset is not as hard as you may think. The next step to your path to a growth mindset is to get into a feedback loop. If you seek out feedback and value such feedback you have the opportunity to improve. Nobody is perfect and we can always learn more. As Jen Sincero puts in her super book You Are A Badass approach everything like a novice always you will always learn new things that way. You position yourself in a state of learning.
In your efforts to achieve things and learn new things, ultimately you will face some setbacks and face some barriers. Recognising that this is ok is key but also applying a sense of perseverance to the task at hand also helps. You need to persist at at task and this will help you build the growth mindset you are wanting to develop. In Daniel Coyle’s book The Talent Code the discusses the formula to success being the ability to break things into to chunks. When you face road blocks consider chunking your task, break it down and master the smaller sections until you build it into a whole.
Choosing to do the simple and easy tasks you are used to places you in the fixed mindset. As stated earlier in the piece seek learning new things, believe you can learn and do new things. Place your mind and body in a place of discomfort and find difficult tasks and stretch your abilities. This is well and truly at the core of how to develop a growth mindset. Pushing your own barriers of thought and ability is demonstrating that you believe you can do and you can achieve. It takes a level of courage and vulnerability and to show this is to demonstrate strength. Extending yourself past your current abilities and putting yourself in uncomfortable situations and positions will create new cerebral paths that continually push you past the limits of your ability.
Set the bar high!
What we know about our abilities is really unknown David Goggin’s in his inspiring book Cant Hurt Me speaks of the 40% rule. What does this 40% rule mean? Well when you think you are done, typically you are only at about 40% of your actual capacity. Mind over matter is key here and pushing through these boundaries will help you develop this growth mindset. Our minds have a certain ‘self theory’ on what we can do. Where as our bodies have an actually greater capacity to set higher standards. Don’t listen to your mind, let your body do.
Quotes to encourage a growth mindset.
Let’s be honest. Trying to change your mindset is no necessarily one of the easiest things to do. Recognising the need to change is a start. If you need some motivation to getting to this place. Use the below quotes to help inspire you to this new world of GROWTH!
Change your words. Change your mindset.
All things are difficult before they are easy. – Thomas Fuller
You have to get in before you can win.Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.
Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it – Steve Maraboli
We cannot control the wind, but… we can control the sail.
The expert in anything was once a beginner.
You have not failed unless you have quit trying. – Gordon B. Hinckley
Mistakes make a difference!
“Courage is like a muscle. We strengthen it when we use it.” – Ruth Gordon
Sometimes what we call “failure” is really just that necessary struggle called learning.
Every mistake you make is progress.
May your choices reflect your hopes, not your fears. – Nelson Mandela
A comfort zone is a beautiful place but nothing ever grows there.
“It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.” -Confucius
We learn from failure not from success.
“If at first you don’t succeed… you’re normal! Kid President
I do not fail, I succeed in finding out what does not work.
Attitude is a little thing that makes a big difference. – Winston Churchill
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” – George Bernard Shaw
Believe in yourself!
A good attitude is contagious. Pass it on!
Mistakes are portals to discovery.
Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising every time we fail. – Confucius
The person who does the work is the only one who learns. – Harry Wong
If you quit once, it becomes a habit. Don’t quit! – Michael Jordan
There is no failing, only feedback.
Learn to be a risk taker because there is more to gain.
Everything you don’t know is something you can learn!
I can keep going until I know it’s my best work!
Failure is not the opposite of success. It’s a part of it.
I’m not going to tell you it’s going to be easy, I’m going to tell you it’s going to be worth it.
I learn. What’s your superpower?
Don’t let a failure be an ending. Make it a beginning.
If “plan a” does not work remember there are still 25 more letters!
Be better than you were yesterday.
The one who falls and gets up is much stronger than the one who never falls.
“Education is not the learning of facts, but the training of the mind to think! – Albert Einstein
“In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity!” – Albert Einstein
FAIL: first attempt in learning
Hard work outperforms talent when talent fails to work hard.
Mistakes are beautiful
Strive for progress, not perfection.
I am always doing what I cannot do yet. In order to learn how to do it. – Vincent Van Gogh
Stop being scared of what could go wrong and start looking for what could go right!
Choose the challenge, not the easy way.
I made an error so I’m going to try again!
Going fast does not mean you are smarter!
You are capable of so much more than you can even imagine.
It’s not about being the best. It’s about being better than you were yesterday.