Updated: Jul 26
The terms "growth mindset" and "fixed mindset" were first introduced by Carol Dweck, a renowned psychologist, to describe people's attitudes towards their abilities and intelligence.
A growth mindset is when you believe your abilities and intelligence can be developed and improved through hard work, persistence, and learning from mistakes. In other words, instead of seeing yourself as a victim, you embrace challenges and persevere through obstacles. So if you think you can’t do something, just remember: you can’t prove yourself wrong if you don’t try!
A fixed mindset on the other hand is when you believe your abilities and intelligence are innate traits that cannot be changed. People with a fixed mindset give up faster than you can count to three. They’d rather stay in their comfort zone than explore the world outside, even if it means missing out on a few opportunities. To them, failure is simply terrifying.
Having a fixed mindset is like being in a bubble; it keeps you safe from failure, but also from success and any kind of growth. It’s like being stuck in a rut that you can’t get out of, unable to move forward or backward.
Developing a growth mindset requires intentional effort and practice. Here are 6 ways to develop a growth mindset:
1. Embrace challenges: Challenges are opportunities for growth, so embrace them rather than avoid them. When faced with a challenge, approach it with a positive attitude and willingness to learn.
2. View failure as a valuable life lesson: Instead of seeing failure as a sign of inadequacy, view it as an opportunity to learn and improve. Identify what went wrong and what you can do differently next time.
3. Adopt positive self-talk: Pay attention to your self-talk and reframe negative thoughts into positive ones. For example, instead of thinking "I'm not skilled at this," change to "I can improve with practice."
4. Focus on the process, not just the outcome: Instead of solely focusing on the end goal, focus on the steps you need to take to get there. Celebrate the small wins along the way and recognize the effort you're putting in.
5.Emphasize learning over performance: Instead of solely focusing on getting exemplary grades or achieving a specific outcome, focus on learning and understanding the material.
6. Practice persistence: Cultivate a willingness to stick with challenging tasks and persevere through setbacks. Recognize that progress takes time and effort.
By practicing these habits regularly, you can develop a growth mindset that will enable you to approach challenges with confidence and resilience, and continuously learn and improve over time. As the famous American motivational speaker Denis Waitley once said:
“Failure should be our teacher, not our undertaker. Failure is delay, not defeat. It is a temporary detour, not a dead end. Failure is something we can avoid only by saying nothing, doing nothing, and being nothing.”