In your journey towards improving yourself and finding out how to achieve everything that you want you may have seen people talking about a growth mindset. What is it exactly? Well, the good news for you is that just by coming here and reading this you either already have it, or are well on the pathway to developing it. So we are all on the same page, growth mindset is a mindset that is characterized by a view that nothing is set in stone and that your abilities can be improved. People with this mindset are also the kind who view the world with a glass half full as no matter how poor a situation is, they know that they have the power to better that particular situation. It’s also no secret that the world’s most successful people have this type of mindset which is what not only gets them to where they are but keeps them there.
This ability is extremely powerful as with it nothing will seem unattainable or stand in your way. With time it will also get stronger as this mindset is not something that switches on and off, it is a way of life that will continually develop and grow. The alternative to this mindset is a fixed mindset, which is possessed by many. This may then make the growth mindset sound like a lonely place, but in reality, this mindset will give you greater understanding and emotional intelligence which will help you to be understanding and accepting of all! Let’s take a look at how we can get you on the path to this mindset and unlock everything that you deserve!
Growth vs Fixed Mindset
To be able to achieve something we need to understand what it is and why it is important to us. To expand on the above, a growth mindset is when you believe that nothing is set in stone and that you will always be able to better yourself to achieve what it is that you’re dreaming of. You probably know that one person who seemingly isn’t perturbed by anything at all, sometimes much to your annoyance. They’re always content and/or happy with what’s going on and where things are headed. They are this way because they know with 100% confidence that tomorrow and the future is brighter than today. Even if life is rosy they will still think this way as it is this picture in their mind that is pulling them forwards and helping them achieve success.
Many will use something like this only when things are going poorly, but this can be an unhealthy way of thinking. By using this mindset only when things are bad you will train your brain to always seek out negative experiences or emotions as you are rewarding it with an optimistic picture of better times ahead. Then after a while, the optimism will wear off as your brain realizes that these images are never being achieved. The person with the growth mindset is able to continue using these mental images as a driving force as their brain knows that something good will come from aiming for whatever the mental picture is.
A fixed mindset is characterized by someone who believes they have to work with what they have and that what they know by a certain point in their life is all that they’ll ever know. These people aren’t always negative people but I’m almost certain that anyone you know with an overly negative outlook on life will have a mindset like this. What this mindset fails to recognize is that where they currently are in life has been reached through growth and learning. Therefore by not recognizing it, they don’t realize the importance of it.
Can This Be Learned??
The short answer to this question is YES!! But you didn’t come here for that, so let’s dive into this below. It’s a well-known scientific fact that almost everything we do is learned behavior, and those with a growth mindset are using this to their advantage. We place much of the recognition of who we are onto our families and upbringing, and for good reason as they are the ones who have taught us much of what we know. Therein lies the keyword… “taught”, they taught you what you know which also means that this can be retrained and relearned. Most families are bringing their children up with the child’s best interests in mind, but the world continually changes and evolves, so it makes sense that we do too.
Another way that we learn things is by discovering them for ourselves. If you think back to when you were a child then you’ll likely remember it as a time of great discovery and learning. This is because as a child the chances of encountering something for the first time are much higher as we do not have as much life experience to draw upon. Humans are also born with only two innate fears, the fear of falling backward and the fear of loud noises. This also means that as children we throw ourselves into activities without fear, as our fears for many things simply aren’t there yet. Why is this important? It is important as it is this discovery that holds the key to being able to continually learn and thereby learn how to achieve and implement a growth mindset.
Learning new things as an adult may sound like a big challenge but as highlighted above the key lies in your past, even as far back as your childhood. If you have had a fixed mindset for a while then you can start with simple things such as learning a new skill or going out there and conquering a simple fear of yours. This will then reengage your brain into what new experiences are and what they give you, leaving you more open and receptive to more complex changes down the track. Whilst a growth mindset is not inherently complex, if you’re coming from an extremely fixed type of mindset then it will take some time to reactive the learning part of your brain. Once you start and get some momentum rolling then there’ll be no stopping you!
Putting It Into Practice
Now that we’ve recognized what exactly a growth mindset is and its benefits it’s time to go out there and put it into practice! It might sound as though you just simply need to put in more effort but this isn’t the case. The world is full of people putting in loads of effort and not getting what they want. This is likely because their attitude towards learning is not a positive one or they are not able to recognize their successes and failures. The awesome part about all this is that learning is also a learned behavior and focusing on this first will get you kick-started in the right direction.
A great way to start is to focus on learning, it sounds simple because it really is! Choose some role models or seek out the very best people in your particular field and take a look at both how and why they do things the way they do. Try to focus on a number of different people from different walks of life and take note of the differences and similarities in what they do. Nobody is like you and so focusing on just one person is not going to give you the depth of knowledge required to find what works for you. This also flows into my next point which is that this process is purely an information gathering and learning technique and not something to use in order to copy someone. As I mentioned before only you are you, and so directly copying someone who isn’t you won’t allow you to reach your full potential. It’s exactly the same as if you copied someone’s exam paper at school, you might get good grades but you aren’t going to learn anything. More importantly, you aren’t in control, as the way you work is dependent on somebody else.
You may have seen or experienced that competition also spurs tremendous growth. When thinking of this many think of competing against others such as in a football game or a car race. Whilst that is a form of competition the biggest and most fierce competition you’ll ever come up against is yourself. The only way to be able to truly measure growth is to compare it against a common denominator or control, and the only person that can be this control is you. Your particular life story, advantages, and disadvantages have only been experienced by you. Others may have gone through stages of life with you or through similar activities, but the only person who’s been there every step of the way is you. So in order to compete fairly and assess growth for what it actually is we need to compare and measure against ourselves. If we are constantly growing and assessing our growth against where we were then it is rare that will lose, further strengthening our growth mindset and flow towards our goals.
What Can Growth Mindset Do For You?
There’s really nothing that this mindset can’t do for you once it’s adopted! At least once you’ve adopted it this is likely how you’ll feel. As with anything getting there may be challenging but each and every day will get easier, and knowing that before you start out can help pull you through. Growth and a positive mindset don’t always go hand in hand but those with a growth mindset are usually more positive and optimistic about what’s coming. This is the case as they know that both fun and challenging experiences give them an opportunity to learn and grow towards where they want to be.