Between where you are and where you want to get to is a growth mindset. It sounds fancy—"a growth mindset"—but I don’t think many people really understand what it means.
What is a mindset?
Much of your personality grows out of your mindset. If you have a mindset that is overly negative, your personality will grow with a slant of being more negative. If you have a positive mindset, then your personality will grow to be more positive.
Whatever your mindset is, it can be a differentiator to help you fulfil your potential.
Fixed vs Growth Mindset
We can summarise a mindset into a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
If you have a fixed mindset, you’ll generally assume:
- Intelligence is something you cannot change—even if you learn new things
- You tend to lean on doing things that you already have the skills for
- It’s important to show how smart or talented you are
- You value relationships that admire (or even desire) your intelligence and talent
- You don’t like the idea of making mistakes or failure
- You feel that if a task is hard, you’re not good enough
However, if you have a growth mindset, you can safely assume:
- You can change your level of intelligence
- The brain is changeable and what is hard today can be easy with deliberate practice
- You can look at failure as a point of learning and not judgement
- You orient towards learning to continue improving your self awareness and skills
- You do not seek approval from others and that your growth is an intrinsic value
- You believe that obstacles are an opportunity for you to learn
Benefits of a growth mindset
Let me make this clear. Having a growth mindset is a valuable attribute to anyone who is striving to some goal.
It allows you to objectively see your ability and identify the path to improvement. It gives you the resilience to overcome negative feedback from peers. And it gives you the confidence and courage to do things that are out of your comfort zone and get you to be the person you aspire to be.
How do we get our mindset
More often than not, our mindset is something passed down to us from a very young age. If your parents value grades when learning, want you to win instead of improve or judge you when you are seen to fail—then there’s a high likelihood you have inherited a fixed mindset.
Conversely, if your parents value objective understanding of why something you tried didn’t work and what you can do next time, and that the opinion of others is a measure, not a goal—then you are more likely to have a growth mindset.
Can you change your mindset?
This is a trick question. If you have a fixed mindset, you’ll ultimately resign yourself to saying that it can’t be changed. If you have a growth mindset, then you’ll believe that change is indeed possible.
To quote Henry Ford:
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.”
The more valuable question is. How can you develop a growth mindset? This is what we’ll be covering in future issues.