In a fixed mindset, people believe their qualities are fixed traits and therefore cannot change. These people document their intelligence and talents rather than working to develop and improve them. They also believe that talent alone leads to success, and effort is not required.
Alternatively, in a growth mindset, people have an underlying belief that their learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. When people believe they can get smarter, they realize that their effort has an effect on their success, so they put in extra time, leading to higher achievement.
Carol Dweck, a researcher at Stanford University, introduced these ideas and wrote a book to describe each mindset in more detail.
According to Dweck, when a student has a fixed mindset, they believe that their basic abilities, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits. They think that you are born with a certain amount and that’s all you have.
- People with a fixed mindset is to always want to appear intelligent, because they believe that they were born with a fixed level of intelligence that cannot be modified. These people have a fear of looking dumb to people because they do not believe that they can redeem themselves once other people look at them as being unintelligent.
- In a growth mindset, however, students believe their abilities and intelligence can be developed with effort, learning, and persistence. Their basic abilities are simply a starting point for their potential. They don’t believe everyone is the same, but they hold onto the idea that everyone can become smarter if they try.
Take a look at this video to understand more:
So, what are some benefits of developing a growth mindset?
- You can enjoy life, event when you are not good at it! Since your focus is on doing and learning, while not caring about success or achievements, it is much easier to enjoy doing whatever it is you’re doing.
- A growth mindset improves your self-insight and self-esteem. Many studies show that people are terrible at estimating their abilities but by developing a growth mindset, their self-insight and self-esteem improves
- You don’t stress about being perfect. If you believe that any test, at anytime, will measure you for your whole life, you will feel the need to be perfect all the time
- Strengthens your confidence. Those in a fixed mindset do not have less confidence than those in a growth mindset, however their confidence is more fragile and easily undermined by setbacks and effort
- You see setbacks as useful. It is easy to be frustrated by setbacks yet they are useful because the give us information in the form of feedback.
So, what can you do to develop a growth mindset?
- Acknowledge and embrace imperfections – hiding from your weaknesses means that you will never overcome them
- View challenges as opportunities – having a growth mindset means relishing opportunities for self-improvement
- Replace the word ‘failing’ with the word ‘learning’– when you make a mistake or fall short of a goal, you haven’t failed: you have learnt!
- Stop seeking approval – when you prioritise approval over learning, you sacrifice your own potential for growth
- Replace your words – look at the table below and see how you can change your words from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset
- Value the process over the end result – intelligent people enjoy the learning process and don’t mind when it continues beyond an expected time frame
- Celebrate growth with others – if you truly appreciate growth, you will want to share your progress with others
- Use the word ‘Yet’ – Carol Dweck says ‘not yet’ has become one of her favourite phrases. Whenever you are struggling with a task, don’t think you can’t achieve it. Just tell yourself that you haven’t mastered it ‘yet’
- Learn from other people’s mistakes – it is not always wise to compare yourself to others but it is important to realise that humans share the same weaknesses
- Take ownership over your attitude – once you develop a growth mindset, own it! Acknowledge yourself as someone who possesses a growth mentality and be proud to let it guide you throughout your career
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