Be honest about the following question, are you a glass-half-empty or half-full kind of person? The answer to this simple analogy is a massive game-changer for your way of approaching complex situations and dealing with adversity.
Though personal and professional success relies on skills, talent, and hard work, a growth mindset will help you get the most out of your capabilities and even acquire new ones. By developing a growth mindset, you’ll earn a powerful ally to face every challenge and overcome any obstacle in your career.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford Psychologist and Professor, developed the growth mindset concept. In her work, Dweck explains people are usually divided into two groups: those with a growth mindset and those with a fixed mindset. A growth mindset means believing in your ability to develop your skills through learning, practice, and resilience.
According to Dweck, people with a growth mindset aren’t bothered by the genetic advantages or disadvantages since the desire drives them to fulfill higher achievements regardless. For them, challenge and failure are a springboard for growth and improving their abilities.
On the other hand, for those with a fixed mindset success relies on the skills and talent they’re granted by birth. They don’t believe “practice makes the master.” For them, talent and intelligence are innate and aren’t developed or acquired.
This concept is based on scientific research; therefore, there is a theory you can develop to adopt this way of thinking. But take one step at a time. Now that you know the definition of a growth mindset, settling out some truths and myths about it is essential.
A common mistake made when first speaking about mindsets is believing that they are binary concepts and you can only identify with one or another. “Fixed” and “growth” aren’t just two beliefs you should choose from. The truth is that most people are somewhere in between both, so don’t be overwhelmed if you’re not completely aligned with either.
Being capable of seeing a growth opportunity in failure and challenge doesn’t mean your results will be guaranteed. This is no magic formula. Remember, a growth mindset is just a part of the formula, and you should combine it with motivation to improve, commitment to your objectives, time to work on your skill set, and a solid strategy toward your goals.
Though one of the growth mindset principles is that your capacity doesn’t depend on your genetic abilities, this doesn’t mean you’ll overcome your limitations easily or entirely. Please don’t take this the wrong way, it’s not about discouraging you. People with a growth mindset recognize that their innate strengths and weaknesses are part of their course of action, whether positive or negative outcomes are achieved.
The first thing to do if you want to develop a growth mindset is to discover where you are at. When it comes to failure, how do you react? How is your internal dialogue when you’re facing challenges? Take a moment to notice what kind of thoughts you have whenever you encounter obstacles. Most importantly, even if that thinking comes from a fixed mindset, remember you have complete autonomy over this and the ability to change it.
Another vital aspect you need to acknowledge while you’re developing a growth mindset is your capacity. Recognize that you can’t achieve everything at once; some goals may surpass your current capability, require more effort, and require an enhanced skill set. This will help you be resilient when things don’t go as expected. Not all people are equally suited for the same obstacles, so be realistic and strategic about how and when you will complete your objectives.
Coming to terms with failure would be the next thing to work on to acquire a growth mindset. For most people, failure is scary because it proves a lack of abilities or effort. Unfortunately, this mindset leads to avoiding challenges where loss is possible. Nobody likes to lose, but there’s so much to gain, even from the smallest mistakes.
Start seeing failure as an essential step of the learning process. It’s not a sign of inability, it’s proof of your commitment to achieving your goals. You may have failed, but take comfort in your effort to try. Remember, perfection takes time and practice, so don’t fear a few missteps.
Many times the fear of failing is tied to the need for approval. This combination usually makes you lose sight of your objectives, or even worse, it will lead you to set goals that aren’t entirely yours. Be honest and remind yourself that your goals should pursue growth instead of approval.
More importantly, focus on your plans and remember each person learns at different paces. Others’ success doesn’t mean you’re failing. The only person who should be comfortable with your progress is you; even if it’s about mistakes, embrace them and recognize your progress and how much you’re growing.
Though developing a growth mindset is mostly an inner-self journey, you shouldn’t take it alone. On the contrary, surround yourself with people who think and act the way you want to; the more people you find who support you and enrich your mindset, the better. Think of it as building a support network that will help you whenever you feel stuck. Remember that mentorship from people who have already traveled this path will provide you with better insight into how to obtain the abilities you don’t have.
The final step toward achieving a growth mindset it’s to start practicing. Now that you’ve figured out how to deal with your thoughts, it’s time to apply your learning to day-to-day tasks and decisions. This step isn’t necessarily about succeeding, it’s about talking to yourself with a growth mindset, being consistent with your actions, and persevering no matter the obstacles and adversity.
Remember developing a growth mindset is more like a marathon than a sprint race. You have to be patient and strategic. Your thoughts, decisions, and actions help guide your mind to improve your performance and react positively even when things get tough.
Contributed by Luis Arellano
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