What is a growth mindset? The chances are you’ve already heard about the work of Stanford Professor, Carol Dweck (if you haven’t, where have you been?). The increasing popularity of mindset alongside positive psychology has seen it applied within the workplace, coaching, sports psychology and education. There’s a huge buzz around Carol Dweck’s growth mindset research and how it can be used to improve performance in a multitude of areas. But what is a growth mindset and how can you develop one? We take a look at the definition of mindset, growth mindset, fixed mindset and how to grow your own.
What is Mindset?
Dweck noticed that some people are constantly learning, they’re curious about why things happened, how things work and how they can develop. They’re probably drawn to this ‘What is a growth mindset?’ article. Other people seem to believe that they can’t learn, that they’re stuck with what they’ve got. Mindset is the way that Dweck describes these two positions, a set of beliefs that determine how you interact with the world. That’s Carol Dweck & growth mindset in a nutshell.
What is a Growth Mindset?
With a growth mindset people believe that their abilities can be developed and improved with effort. Learning and mastery play a huge role in growth mindset, creating the telltale love of learning and resilience when faced with failure. Examples of growth mindset? Imagine you’ve just received negative feedback from your boss. The growth mindset response would be to listen for the feedback, ask for more detail and work on those developmental areas. Another very famous growth mindset example might be JK Rowling who was rejected by 12 publishing houses before she finally found a publisher for Harry Potter. She didn’t quit at the first rejection, she was resilient and persevered. The rest is history.
What are Fixed Mindsets?
Fixed mindset definition? a fixed mindset is pretty much what it says on the tin. You believe that you’re stuck with your innate talents and skills and there’s not much you can do to change them. Yup, you believe that you’re stuck. Fixed mindset characteristics are spending time trying to prove how smart you are. Choosing not to develop yourself, avoiding challenges, dodging failure & never stretching yourself. This mindset believes that talent will get you where you need to go. It’s wrong. An example of a fixed mindset? Imagine you’ve been offered a promotion but it involves lots of presentations and that’s your number one fear. Turning down the promotion is the fixed mindset choice. A growth mindset choice would be to say yes to that promotion and develop your public speaking skills.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset
What we believe to be true about our abilities and how this affects our motivation is key to understanding how we can change. Dweck recommends 4 super simple steps to increase self-belief, boost motivation and develop a growth mindset for success. Here are some growth mindset activities to get you started.
Step 1: Learn to hear your fixed mindset inner dialogue voice. “Maybe you don’t have the talent?”, “You’ll fail.”
Step 2: Recognise that you have a choice. Your response to challenges, setbacks & criticism is your choice.
Step 3: Talk back to it with a growth mindset voice. ”Most successful people had failures on their way,” “if I don’t try I automatically fail.”
Step 4: Choose to act with a growth mindset approach:
1) take on the challenge wholeheartedly
2) learn from your setbacks and try again
3) hear the criticism and choose a growth mindset response, your mindset is up to you.
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