A Guest Post by John Estafanous
A person’s mindset is highly important when it comes to the performance of any task. Whether it’s achieving professional goals, studying for an exam, or even learning a new language, mindset really does play an important role in how people tackle challenges.
Psychologist Carol Dweck’s work on the fixed mindset versus growth mindset is instrumental in this field. The definition of a growth mindset according to Dweck is, “In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence.”
The question is whether a growth mindset can only be defined in an educational environment. While Dweck’s initial efforts focused on education, the concept of fixed and growth mindset are relevant in daily interactions. With a growth mindset, an individual will be able to tackle challenges head on and open themselves up to experiencing more success in life. A growth mindset can help people achieve more in all that they do.
To identify what mindset you possess, it is essential that you are able to identify each of them.
Identifying Your Mindset
People with fixed mindsets have self-limiting beliefs. They feel like their traits are fixed and that their success will be determined by their level of intelligence and talent. Those with growth mindsets are more open to learning and believe that they can develop their abilities and talents if they just put in some effort.
The table below indicates a brief comparison of what someone with a fixed mindset would think as opposed to someone with a growth mindset. You can identify whether you have a fixed or growth mindset with the help of these examples.
|What is a fixed mindset?||What is a growth mindset?|
|Feedback is a personal attack against me.||There’s value in the feedback I get.|
|I’m either good at it or I’m not.||I can learn to do it and in time, I may become good at it with practice.|
|I am who I am. It’s too late to change now.||I’m constantly learning and changing to be a better version of myself.|
|I already know everything I need to.||Learning is lifelong, there’s still so much that I can learn.|
|Why try if I’m going to fail?||Failures are learning opportunities and can prepare me to do better next time.|
|This is out of my league.||This looks challenging. Let me try to work on it and see how it goes.|
Changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset
If at present you identify that you have a fixed mindset, don’t freak out. There’s good news. It is possible to change your mindset if you’re willing to put in the work it requires.
The neuroplasticity of the brain implies that our experiences result when neural pathways in the brain change. The dynamic brain is proof that you can train it to have a growth mindset rather than a fixed one – and here’s how.
Identify your fixed mindset voice
This will require some self-exploration enabling you to identify negative self-talk. The example statements described above will guide you on how to identify a fixed mindset. If you believe that you were born with a certain amount of talent and can’t progress beyond it, you will end up shutting yourself off from pursuing anything that is out of your comfort zone.
Acknowledge the choice that you have
Everyone faces and overcomes challenges in a different way and mindset plays an integral role in this. Either, you view failures as the end of the road, or you look at them as learning opportunities. The same applies to every task you undertake when choosing between a fixed and growth mindset. Choose not to limit your abilities and intelligence through a fixed mindset, but to grow in these areas. Choose to view failures as opportunities to develop and blossom.
Replace fixed mindset statements with growth mindset statements
For every self-limiting statement you think of, aim to think of its growth mindset alternative. Replace negative self-talk with positive affirmations and focus on the journey of learning something new, instead of solely worrying about the end results. Be willing to take on new challenges and incorporate “yet” into your vocabulary to remind yourself that you simply haven’t mastered a task “yet”.
Ask yourself growth mindset questions such as:
- What can I learn from this experience?
- What value can I take away from this feedback?
- How do I intend to follow through on my plan?
Take the needed action
A growth mindset isn’t only about being optimistic. It involves putting in the hard work that is needed to achieve your goals. Once you have a clear plan of action, execute it to achieve what you desire.
Mindsets are not set in stone, there is always room to improve and adjust. It is important to identify your mindset in any environment and determine whether it needs to be altered. You can change your life for the better just through a shift in mindset, it may take practice, but there are tools available to help you along the way. Never be afraid to grow.
About the Author
As founder and CEO of RallyBright, John Estafanous leveraged his experience in product development, team leadership, technology, and marketing to help drive RallyBright’s rapid growth. RallyBright is a SaaS platform that helps business leaders and coaches build better teams. This is done by integrating behavioral science and data with proven professional development products that are built based on work with hundreds of teams and thousands of professionals.
Also published on Medium.