If you've not yet managed to read, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, by Dr. Carol Dweck, I'd highly recommend getting your hands on a copy as soon as you can.
Throughout it's pages, Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist, defines two types of mindset; a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
By her definition, if you have a fixed mindset, you'll believe your abilities are fixed, innate and unchangeable. In contrast, with a growth mindset, you'll believe you're able to improve your abilities with hard work and effort.
Whether in a personal or professional capacity, with these two definitions, it'd be fair to say we'd all benefit from developing a growth mindset if we want to have any chance of succeeding and achieving our goals.
If unsure about whether you lean towards the fixed or growth end of mindset, consider for a moment if you're someone who embraces mistakes as part of your learning, or someone who avoids them at all costs.
Dweck describes those with a growth mindset as people who view failure "not as evidence of unintelligence, but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities."
On the flip side, she highlights where a fixed mindset holds to an underlying belief that success is based on talent alone, that intelligence is static, and that effort plays a minimal role in the development of either.
So, that said, here are three strategies you can start putting into practice today, that with time, will help you develop a growth mindset.
For some, the idea of receiving feedback isn't easy! And as a result, they neither ask for, invite, or welcome it from those around them. But in not asking for feedback they risk missing valuable insights.
In your efforts to develop a growth mindset, it helps to proactively source the input of others; from friends, peers, mentors, teachers, clients, and others you value. For example, I recently asked for your feedback here.
Getting feedback gives you a chance to spot where you can make improvements, learn from others, and will allow you to determine where it'd be best to place your efforts and time in the long run.
Though a huge advocate for having clearly defined goals, which serve to keep you focused, motivated and disciplined, I also warn against how they can become unhelpful if you're not careful.
What I mean by this is that if you become too fixated on your goal, you could potentially lose sight of the valuable lessons and learning you gain on the journey towards achieving it.
For example, in preparing to complete a half-marathon several years ago, what I learnt about pacing myself, was an invaluable lesson that I've been able to transfer into other areas of life.
Had I focused solely on the goal, there's a chance I may have missed this. And, it was only through spotting where I was failing in my performance (e.g. fatiguing quickly), that I was able to make changes to help my running.
I benefited from experiencing failure, which from a growth mindset perspective, is one of the best ways to consolidate learning. A perfect model to emphasise this is Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle (1984).
Whether it's SMS, email, social media posts, or a good book, you read on a daily basis. It goes without saying, you're a competent reader, you do it with little to no effort, and that it likely feels quite 'natural' to you.
However, as with any skill, there was once a time you would've been unable to comprehend letters, let alone words or sentence structures. These words wouldn't have simply jumped off the page to you, like they do now.
And this is where incorporating the word "yet" into your vocabulary is helpful, as it ingrains the belief that with time and effort, you can develop the skill or knowledge you hope to achieve.
In other words, practicing the use of the word "yet", for example, "I can't swim, yet", signals that as you learn to overcome setbacks, you're capable of learning, growing, and making progress in all areas of life.
It goes without saying that in every aspect of life, you'd benefit from developing a growth mindset. And regardless of where you'd place yourself on the fixed/growth mindset continuum, there's always room for growth.
So, as you reflect on how you're making progress in your personal or professional life, give some thought to which of the three strategies could be most helpful in seeing you achieve greater success.
And once identified, make an intentional plan that will see you implement whatever you decide into your life. Both you, and others, will benefit from your decision.
If you think you might benefit from working with a counsellor or coach, book a free Exploration Call with me to talk about what working together might look like.
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