What is a growth mindset? Why do I need one?
Here's a summary of what a growth mindset is. I also cover the alternative. Spoiler alert, it's a fixed mindset. What I've discovered are 30 compelling reasons why you need a growth mindset.
There are more reasons, but 30 is a pretty good starting point.
First a little story...
I didn't enjoy geography at school. Although I liked my teacher - he was great. Until he told me he wasn't putting me forward to sit the O'level. He didn't believe I'd pass. But you know the first thing that went through my mind?
- I'm useless
- I hate you Mr Roke
- Geography - who needs geography anyway
My first thought was...
I'll show him
Little did I know at the time, but this was my growth mindset in action.
What Is A Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset, in its simplest form is the belief you can develop your skills and abilities.
In my article, what is confidence and why you need to understand it, I highlighted the vital part our mindset plays in our confidence.
In the words of Dr Carol Dweck, the genius behind the growth mindset,
'The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.'
Carol Dweck’s work on mindset reveals the power of our beliefs and how they can ‘affect what we want and whether we succeed in getting it.’
So, what does she mean by this?
Thankfully you’re not limited to the capabilities you’re born with, but through effort and hard work, you can achieve anything. There's hope for us all who believe we're not naturally talented. That those born with talent will always be successful and we, lesser mortals don't stand a chance.
The secret sauce here is effort. Building a growth mindset is not a quick fix scenario where suddenly overnight, you can change the way you think about things.
A growth mindset needs time, effort and constant stimulation to learn and be better at what you do.
To my mind, embracing a growth mindset is like embarking on a voyage of self-discovery. Are you willing to face stormy waters, the upheaval of emotions and challenging waves?
If you are, then the most extraordinary achievements will be yours.
What Is A Fixed Mindset?
Okay, so we’ve looked at the growth mindset. Let’s have a look at the opposite – the fixed mindset.
The fixed mindset believes intelligence is static. There’s a limit to what you can do and, anything needing a lot of effort can be dismissed as impossible.
In the face of adversity, there’s a tendency to give up. What’s the point in trying when it won’t change anything?. As a result, when others are successful, there’s jealousy over their achievements. The success of others is a threat to you.
With a fixed mindset, there’s a need to prove yourself always right. There’s no acceptance of mistakes or vulnerability. Making a mistake is embarrassing so rather than take responsibility, it’s easier to blame someone else, or the environment or anything else that comes to mind.
If someone else makes a mistake, there’s a relief that it’s not you. Let them make a fool of themselves!
When it comes to criticism, there’s a belief that it’s a way to make you feel small and unworthy. Criticism is a way of putting you down, so better to keep your head below the parapet.
We're social animals, and as a result, there is a strong sense of wanting to belong. Whilst fitting in is not a bad thing, the fixed mindset limits itself. Because there’s a desperate need to be accepted, there is a strong need to seek approval from others. To confirm that you’re doing the right thing. As a result, too much reliance is placed on the opinion of others. Your own needs are forgotten.
The consequences of a fixed mindset is:
- Lack of development as a person
- Stuck in a life with no chance of progress
- Loss of opportunities
I hate to have to point out the bad news, but having a fixed mindset limits you. Embracing a growth mindset means that you can become who and what you want to be.
So, let’s look at the compelling reasons why you need a growth mindset.
30 Compelling Reasons You Need A Growth Mindset
A Growth Mindset Benefits
Due to the large number of benefits, a growth mindset can provide means it’s a better way of thinking. Not only will you make more remarkable progress towards your goals and dreams, you’re free from the stress, anxiety and inner doubt that plagues those with a fixed mindset. Less stress and doubt means greater happiness.
To be more successful is alluring, but it does require an openness and willingness to learn. It isn’t easy to change your way of thinking. It takes hard work, focused effort and action.
Whilst having a growth mindset is something to aspire to, the reality is the majority of us have a mixture of both growth and fixed mindset.
Thankfully, if you do have a fixed mindset, you can always learn how to change.
I know there are times when I think with a fixed mindset. It's heartening to know that Carol Dweck confesses the same thing in her book Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfil your potential.
But, I'm committed to improving every day. Are you?
And, in case your wondering, I did get my O'level in geography. Mr Roke sought me out to congratulate me and to tell me he was proud I'd proved him wrong. If I hadn't adopted a growth mindset, I would never have achieved this.
- I didn't wallow in the criticism
- I took action
- I believed I could do it!
What will you achieve?