How to Develop A Growth mindset For Success
It’s no secret that a starting point for personal success is to get your mindset right, have a strong work ethic and look outside of your comfort zone – and these growth mindset examples are the best place to start.
An interest in personal development is a trait that links all successful people but how do we get there and what exactly does that mean?
In this article we’ll take a look at the two different types of mindsets and how they have a profound effect on the way that we approach life.
What is a Growth Mindset?
The concept of growth mindset, as conceived by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, is the belief that a person’s capacities and talents can be improved over time.
People with a growth mindset believe that the learning process never ends and if they aren’t good at something initially then with hard work and an open mind, they will improve.
A set-back is re-framed as a new challenge to overcome, and failure can have a positive effect and be used as a springboard to achieve new skills.
The hallmark of the growth mindset is the belief that your skills and abilities are not set in stone.
Just as mighty oaks grow from tiny acorns, our talents might start small, but they have the potential to grow huge.
A famous example of a growth mindset response to a challenge comes from computer programmer and startup founder Leah Culver.
Speaking about how running transformed her life and mindset, she said:
“I’ve started to think of myself as a runner.
If you would have told me a year ago that I would be working out almost every day and running 100 miles a month I would never have believed you.
Running really snuck up on me. I had modest aspirations and didn’t really care if I was great at running.
I just wanted to stick to my one goal: don’t quit.”
In her example Leah never thought she could run long distances.
But as she began pushing her body on a daily basis, she realized just how capable she was.
Her mindset changed with a simple belief that she could improve.
This led her to eventually run in marathons and hire a running coach.
Growth mindset examples can be seen across all aspects of life not just in a sporting context or for professional development.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
A fixed mindset is essentially the opposite.
People with a fixed mindset are more likely to believe that their ability and intelligence can’t be changed; that they’re either good at something or not.
They’re usually easily discouraged from taking on a new task and might avoid taking risks or because of their fear of failure.
For example, imagine you’re learning to box.
By the end of your first lesson you can throw a few punches, but you’re not Tyson Fury.
If you have a fixed mindset you might think “I’m no good at this, so why bother?” and give up straight away.
You’ll stop taking lessons and surprise, surprise you’ll never get any better.
If you have a fixed mindset, it’s easy to get caught in a web of proving to yourself and others that whatever fixed level of talent and skill you have, it’s enough.
Otherwise, you’re stuck with an inadequate amount of whatever it is that you’re not going to be able to improve.
If a fixed mindset is left unchecked long enough, it can eventually lead to a failure mindset, in which you believe you simply can’t overcome challenges.
This can be very damaging to a person’s confidence.
Key Differences between a growth And fixed mindset
Stanford university psychologist Carol Dweck gave her account of the differences perspectives of a growth vs fixed mindset in her book:
Mindset – The New Psychology of Success: How We Can Learn to Fulfil Our Potential:
“When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world—the world of fixed traits—success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself.
In the other—the world of changing qualities—it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new.
Developing yourself. In one world, failure is about having a setback.
Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing.
Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential. In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented.
If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented. You have a choice. Mindsets are just beliefs.
They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind, and you can change your mind.”
Talents and basic abilities are fixed. It’s who we are.
Talents and basic abilities can be developed through effort and practice
Scared of making mistakes with a desire to look smart
Engage deeply to understand why mistakes were made
Lack of resilience. Give up easily
Persevere in the face of failures
Feel threatened by the success of others
Find inspiration in others success
Ignore negative feedback
Accept criticism as a way to learn
Avoid new experiences with fear of failure
Embrace challenges and new skills
Look for people who can reinforce their self esteem
Look for people who challenge them to grow
Focus on the end result since they
Focus on the process and learning
17 Growth Mindset Examples for you to try
1. Set Mini-goals
The best way to approach any challenge is to break it down into mini-challenges or mini-goals.
By doing this you make it much easier to achieve the overall goal and get the satisfaction of completing smaller tasks along the way.
Language learning apps like Duolingo use this method to great effect.
2. View through a different lens
When we encounter issues we all tend to have a default setting for how we see things.
This is called a conscious bias.
Having an open mind and taking time to look at the situation from an outside perspective may help in assessing the size of the challenge in front of you.
Often what we think are basic beliefs in the moment are actually an emotional response and when the dust has settled we sometimes see things differently.
Taking time to react before we address a challenge can help us conquer them in a more meaningful way.
3. Be accountable
Accountability is an important part of Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.
In it she asserts that the growth mindset is the notion that those who reflect on the experiences of failures, setbacks and mistakes tend to be more adaptable and embrace the idea that they haven’t arrived yet at where they want to be.
Fixed mindset students, meanwhile, believe they are failures if they make a mistake, haven’t learned from the setback, and tend to have a judgmental mindset of the self–related to successes.
Taking responsibility for our actions is the first step towards reshaping our learning experience and improving next time.
4. Process not outcome
As the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu said:
“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step”
Dr Dweck supports that notion in her work inferring that those people with a growth mindset will focus on the action rather than the outcome.
As with the mini-goal theory, it helps us as humans to break down small tasks and concentrate on what is right in front of us rather than looking at the larger outcome and being overwhelmed.
The theory being that if we concentrate on completing the action then the outcome will take care of itself.
Using the analogy of focussing on set plays to score goals in a soccer match rather than trying to win the game without a planned pathway.
5. Operate at 'Stretch'
Brain plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity, is the biological, chemical, and physical capacity for the brain to reorganize its structure and function.
Learning and new experiences cause new neural pathways to strengthen.
Although traditionally associated with changes in childhood, recent research indicates that mature brains continue to show plasticity as a result of learning.
Operating outside of our comfort zone and in the ‘stretch’ part of our learning graph helps us literally improve our brain function and grow.
6. Be Consistent
Consistency is a hugely underrated quality in personal development but one that is vitally important to help us achieve.
This point links in well with Dewck’s research above and consistency is much easier to achieve with smaller more manageable goals that are followed methodically.
Consistency works in a similar way to compound interest. The more you learn, the quicker the knowledge accumulates.
7. Adapt to new situations
How we react to new and challenging circumstances says a lot about us as individuals.
Throughout history (and prehistory infact!) it has been those of us who have adapted to change that have succeeded and prospered.
There have been some notable winners in the tech sector during the pandemic who have leveraged online resources to build new connections and make themselves a fortune.
8. Cut out the noise
This growth mindset hack is a particularly good teaching in the modern day.
With the plethora of mobile apps available it is so easy to waste time when we could be pursuing something productive.
Removing the noise of local gossip pages on Facebook or unnecessary celebrity chat apps will give you extra time to start a new project or engage with another more productive, learning app.
One of the basic characteristics of a fixed mindset is one that looks for validation to fulfil their self esteem. This is something social media certainly re-enforces.
9. Seek Advice
Seeking advice from people who have done things you wish to do is a great way of helping you get ahead.
If you are a leader then asking the advice of your team members can help you grow and improve in your role.
Gathering a host of different thoughts from team members not only provides valuable feedback from a different perspective but also helps them to feel valued.
10. Celebrate Your Success
For the most part we tend to process praise a lot better than we do criticism.
So when we take this point on board it makes sense that we should dish it out as much as we like to receive it.
Celebrating the success of other people is infectious and helps open our eyes to setting and achieving our own goals.
Having a fixed mindset and being envious of other people’s achievements shrouds you in a cloak of bitterness and jealousy.
You’ll have a hard time focussing on your own happiness by focussing negative energy elsewhere.
There is a clear increase in productivity in people that celebrate others’ achievements rather than berating them.
Reflection is a growth mindset hack that flows throughout this article.
A healthy dose of self reflection after you have completed a piece of work, given a speech or played a game of sport will allow you to identify where you have done well and where you can improve.
Building on the strengths and minimizing the weaknesses is one of the basic qualities in growth mindset principles.
12. Rise and Rise Again
Lots of people find it difficult handling negative feedback.
Criticism, even when it’s meant to be helpful, can feel like a personal attack.
This is especially true if someone associates their abilities with a portion of their identity.
Next time someone gives you some constructive criticism (or otherwise), try following this process:
- Analyze the feedback- Take a step back and reflect on what they’ve said.
- Ask follow up questions- Where did they specifically think you could improve.
- Thank them- Acknowledge that you’re taking their input onboard.
- Strategize – Work out how you’re going to improve next time.
- Action – Get moving on a proactive response
I understand that sometimes this will feel tough as we’re peeling away our defensive layer but hey, no one said growing was easy, right?
13. Go forth with a smile
In whatever you decide to do, go forth with passion and commitment.
All of the points above will be much easier if you approach what you’re doing with a smile on your face and a commitment to achieve.
14. Show others the way
Developing a growth mindset also means understanding the value of others.
Then, you can share your progress with others too.
You set an example for others by being mindful of:
- The attitude, behavior, and language you want your business would portray.
- How you treat others.
- The way you react during times of crisis.
15. Consume knowledge
We are not born with a finite amount of intelligence, if we were then taking classes in high school would be pointless.
For some people high school is where learning ends, but not for those with a growth mindset.
Every day is a new opportunity for learning and in 2021 the world is literally at our fingertips.
With the internet ever present and advice from the most successful people in the world just a click away then there is no excuse not to consume knowledge.
If you are old school like Mr Warren Buffett, widely regarded as the best investor of all time.
Then you can read a book or two, in fact, Warren Buffett credits his success down to reading for 4 hours every day.
16. See the big picture
It’s easy to rationalize completing average work when you lose sight of the big picture.
However, if you have a constant reminder of the purpose of the work that you’re doing, you will maintain the motivation that is required to improve.
This isn’t to be confused with concentrating on action not outcome.
Instead the big picture goal should always be visible, so even when it is broken down into bite size chunks you can see what they are adding up to.
Think of the moments that you’re vulnerable to giving into the impulses that separate you from success.
Then come up with tangible reminders of your ultimate purpose to dissolve that urge and keep you on track.
17. Believe in yourself
Perhaps the most powerful thing of all, self-belief.
Whether you choose to use self affirmations to give you inspiration or if it is a pep talk in the car before work, self belief is very important.
Having confidence in the process that you’re undertaking and that your desire will see it through could be the difference between success and failure.
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