Growth mindset isn’t an option. It’s a must. That is… unless you enjoy being stuck and miserable.
A growth mindset is believing you can learn and improve. The opposite is a fixed mindset—believing you’re stuck with your current abilities—how bleak.
Unfortunately, society encourages us to have a fixed mindset. We’re told our IQ can’t improve, even though research is proving otherwise (Ref). And culturally, we praise people for ability or “natural talent” rather than effort or learned talent.
The fixed mindset is also forwarded in common quotes like: “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” (yawn) And when people who don’t want to change use the excuse, “but I’m just that way.” (double yawn)
If you feel stuck or you aren’t where you want to be in life, it could be a fixed mindset that’s holding you back. But don’t fret. Because you can learn a growth mindset. And I’m gonna show you how with the 3 steps below. Make sure to also check out the tips for success at the end.
Step 1: Awareness of Growth Mindset
In order to change, you need to take an inventory of where you are now.
Think of ways you have a fixed mindset in your life. How do you limit yourself? Did anything about the fixed mindset above sound familiar? Do you think you are limited in your intellectual abilities? Or do you think you can’t learn something new?
Fixed mindsets block and limit. Can you think of an area where you feel overwhelmed or blocked? Is there something you want (and others have) but you feel just isn’t for you? What are things you want to do but you feel are impossible?
Advertising promises like: “lose 10 pounds in a week,” or “learn to be a pro in 2 days,” encourage failure and strengthen fixed mindsets. So be aware of false promises. Remember, anything with value typically takes time.
A fixed mindset manifests in different ways. For instance, someone who thinks they can learn a new language but doesn’t think they can lose and maintain weight. They have a growth mindset around learning and a fixed mindset around fitness.
The fixed mindset is created with cultural influence and also by past experiences. So if you started out with a fixed mindset, to then failed at something, you may have only strengthened your fixed mindset in that area.
Another sign of a fixed mindset is blaming others instead of focusing on ourselves or thinking we aren’t good enough when things don’t work out. Anything sound familiar?
Step 2: Gaining a Fresh Perspective
In order to get a growth mindset you’ll need a change of perspective. Use what you’re now aware of to give yourself a fresh perspective. Think of what you’ve learned after a let down. Or focus on things you can improve.
For example, if you were turned down for a job you really wanted. Did you feel like you couldn’t hack it or you weren’t meant for that type of position? Could you instead look at it as a learning opportunity?
Think of the interview as practice for the next one? Look into what areas of the interview process you were comfortable in and what areas need improvement?
If a fixed mindset is keeping you from starting, think of small things you can do to begin. If you want to open your own company, think of what you need to learn before you start.
If you failed at something and your fixed mindset is holding you back from trying again, ask yourself: “what did I learn from this?”; “how will I do better next time?”; and “how bad will it feel if I don’t try again?”
If you need help with a perspective shift, you can check out these powerful success to failure quotes for inspiration.
Step 3: Taking Action
Now it’s time for some action! Having a growth mindset means taking action. So the most important factor for a growth mindset is: action. Take everything you’ve learned from the last two steps and turn it into action.
Action can be something as small as making a phone call or can be something larger, like starting your own business. And remember: we typically need to take the small actions in order to get to the larger ones.
If you realize your interview skills need some work, start practicing the STAR interview method. For better leadership skills, listen to podcasts and read leadership books.
Want to start your own business? Talk to other business owners and ask about their experience. Do a search and check out what you need to start. Look at your potential competition and what they’re up to.
Don’t just think about it, be about it. Ugh, I’m totally gonna pull this dated and annoying cliche out here (forgive me), but: “don’t just talk the talk, make sure to walk the walk.”
Growth Mindset: Tips for Success
Life is a growing process. And we need to grow in order to feel fulfilled and happy. So if you want to succeed, you need to have a growth mindset. And the amazing news is that you can build it.
Follow the three steps above. But remember, while the steps sound simple, in action they can be tough. Your current mindset is one you’ve maintained your entire life up to now. You’ve got some roots to that weed. And in order to rip it out, you have to practice and repeat.
Everything that is living is growing and moving. Even the universe itself is expanding. So you can decide to stay stuck or to expand and grow with us. I hope you choose the latter!
A growth mindset is gritty. It’s rolling up your sleeves and doing the work… and occasionally getting your ass kicked. It’s difficult but it’s INCREDIBLY rewarding. And it only gets easier and easier as you go!
Just keep in mind that there are things in our environment that may keep us down. Keep going and stay on course with what you think and feel. No one else.
Ah, and if you realize you’ve messed up, it actually means your growing, so don’t be too hard on yourself when you make mistakes.
Image by mohamed Hassan