There are two basic mindsets in individuals, a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Carol Dweck, Standford University psychologist, and author of the best-selling ‘Mindset’, explains the difference using students as an example:
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. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.
Those with a growth mindset believe that they or their circumstances can improve with work, patience, and perseverance. Those with a fixed mindset believe all they have are the cards in which they were dealt. Which one are you?
Well, your answer is most likely, both.
Almost all of us have both mindsets. It depends on the area of our life. You may have a growth mindset when it comes to your career. You know that you can learn and grow and become a more successful employee or business owner. On the other hand, you may have a fixed mindset when it comes to your health or breaking a bad habit. “I can never be as fit as the people in the magazines”, “I’ll never be able to stop smoking.”
The good news is that a growth mindset can be adapted to any area of your life. With practice and time, there is NOTHING you cannot do. The problem is that YOU have to believe that. Once you develop a growth mindset in the area of your life you want to change, it’s only a matter of time before it does change.
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How Do You Develop A Growth Mindset?
Here are several ways to develop a growth mindset.
Take Baby Steps
Start off small when developing a growth mindset. For example, if you feel you can never learn a new language, start with adjusting your thinking. Start with daily affirmations, “I will be fluent in Spanish.” Then move on to making small daily habits that will move you towards your goal. Taking manageable, smaller steps early will help build your confidence to continue and grow.
Realize You Will Have Set-Backs
It’s rare that anyone succeeds in their first attempt. Just look at anyone who is successful in the area in which you want to grow. I’m willing to bet they have had set-backs. The key is to dust yourself off and keep going. Every day is a new day. Be the king of start-overs if you have to be. Just realize that you will take a step back every once in a while. It’s okay, it’s part of the process.
Enjoy The Journey
Although it is important to keep the end goal in mind, try to enjoy the journey. If you are trying to be a healthier person, for example, and you have 20 pounds to lose, make sure you enjoy every moment of your journey. I know that sounds ridiculous right? “Shane do you really want me to ENJOY waking up at 5 in the morning to go run?” Focus on how you feel after you finish your walk or run. Focus on the fact that you were able to lift a little bit more this week. Before you know it, you’ll have a growth mindset when it comes to health. … and Yes, eventually you will enjoy that 5 am run!
See Obstacles As An Opportunity
We never grow when things are comfortable. Look at challenges as a way to refine yourself and improve instead of seeing them as roadblocks.
Stop Looking For Approval To Create A Growth Mindset
When you want to change or improve something in your life, do it for yourself. You will need all the motivation, stamina, and momentum possible and if you are doing it for approval, you’ll lose steam pretty fast.
Create A Growth Mindset By Rewarding Effort Over The End Result
Always recognize and reward your effort. That is what matters the most. We have a habit of only rewarding ourselves when we complete a goal. Instead, recognize all the hard work you have put into your efforts.
Change Your Language
Replace “I can’t” with “I will.” Replace “I didn’t” with “Not yet.” Changing your language, even if you don’t believe it at first, will begin retraining your thought process to think positively.
Put It Out There
Publicly declare your plans to reach your goals and desires. This will give you that extra push to continue towards your goals and improvement.
Set Micro Goals To Create A Growth Mindset
Micro goals are easier to achieve and reinforce a growth mindset in a particular area of your life.
Be Aware of Your Fixed Mindset
Just recognizing a fixed mindset is sometimes enough to change it. If something pops into your mind such as “I can never be smart enough to create that app that I thought of,” realize it’s just a fixed mindset and that your thinking can be changed.
Try a Different Strategy
If something hasn’t worked before, try something different. This will help you avoid falling into the trap of repeating the same mistakes.
Those with a growth mindset seek help and knowledge from others. They see every challenge as an opportunity for growth and getting feedback from others helps them overcome these challenges.
Accept Harder Challenges To Create A Growth Mindset
Those with a fixed mindset stay away from difficult obstacles. They are afraid of failure and being judged. Take a step away from this thinking by accepting a harder challenge.
Developing a growth mindset takes practice but it can be done. Those with a growth mindset have increased self-esteem, are more productive and live happier lives. Don’t let your fixed mindset keep you from being happy. Remember, you CAN do it.