Top tips for developing a growth mindset
I am a huge fan of all things 'mindset' and in particular, developing a ‘growth mindset’. Not only can a growth mindset help you to move forward and try new things but it can positively impact those around you. So what does it mean to have a growth mindset and how can you develop one?
Before I give you my top tips on developing a growth mindset, let me start by explaining the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. It was psychologist Carol Dweck who, through her years of research, discovered that there are two different types of mindset: one can help you progress, try new things and persist if you fall down, the other holds you back – the former, of course, being the growth mindset.
The growth mindset is based on the belief that your potential is unknown but through effort, practice and positive belief you can improve. With the belief that your qualities can be developed, so it creates a passion for learning.
The fixed mindset on the other hand believes that you are only as capable as the talents you are born with. People living with a fixed mindset tend to shy away from opportunities for fear of making mistakes which ultimately stops them from growing. With a growth mindset, you learn to enjoy the challenges despite the risks.
You will find those people with a fixed mindset saying things like: “I’m not good at that”, “I’m not a morning person”, “I can’t do that” compared to those with a growth mindset who might say, “I’m not a morning person yet but if I try I might get there”. See the difference?
We all tend to have a mixture of both mindsets, depending on the situation but where we can develop more of a growth mindset we will open ourselves up to a lot more opportunities. So what can you do?
How to develop a growth mindset
It is important to become aware of your fixed mindset and note when it shows up – what are you doing? Who are you with? If you are aware of your fixed mindset triggers you are more likely to be able to tackle them. When they show up question them, e.g. you find yourself saying, ‘I’m not good at that’ – where does that come from? How long have you been living with that thought? Is it true or is it a story you are telling yourself? Do you really believe it or do you actually believe that if you practised more you would improve? Take me as an example, I grew up hearing my parents saying that my brother 'was the academic one' - that definitely stayed with me until I was old enough to question it and remove it from my thoughts.
Developing your growth mindset means seeing ‘challenges’ as a way to improve and get better. It might mean stepping out of your comfort zone but even this is something which gets easier with practice, which is easier with a growth mindset! Saying yes to opportunities is a great thing to do to develop your growth mindset. Taking risks can be scary to start with but the more you exercise this habit the easier it becomes.
When developing a growth mindset it is important to persist in the face of setbacks. Start seeing the word ‘failure’ as a good thing because with failure comes learnings and without learnings, it is not as easy to grow. Remember, we are all on a ‘journey’ and we learn from different experiences along the way. In addition, learn to take feedback for what it is – it is someone else trying to help you to develop.
Too many people fail to embrace opportunities for fear of making mistakes. I can really relate to this from my younger years when I lived and worked in France. When speaking French I never wanted to be seen to be making mistakes so I would miss many opportunities to speak while others around me spoke regardless of the small errors they were making – guess whose French skills improved more quickly…not mine that’s for sure. It doesn’t matter if things are not always perfect. Do it anyway and embrace imperfections along the way.
Pay attention to your language
The word yet is a very important word to remember when developing a growth mindset. With the belief that you can always improve and get better with effort means you will get there but you are not quite there ‘yet’. The minute you start introducing this one word into your vocab you will notice a difference. In addition, be conscious of how you are communicating with others. If you are a parent or a manager, consider how you are praising your kids or your team members – where you are praising them for their efforts and not for their talents you are helping them to develop a growth mindset too.
Ask yourself each morning, "what are the opportunities for learning and growth today?".
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