“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.”
Do you agree with this statement? Some may agree but not fully believe it. Others will be fully committed to the idea. Carol Dweck, an esteemed psychologist known for her work on mindset, introduced her popular notion of fixed and growth mindsets to explain how people can have a hand in their own success and outcomes.
What is a Fixed Mindset?
The belief that an individual’s abilities, skills, intelligence, and talents are fixed traits that can’t be altered or adapted. Such people believe that traits are assigned at birth and they are the result of something that was pre-determined.
A fixed-mindset individual may say,
‘I am naturally good at dancing.’
They view themselves as the finished product and as incapable of achieving any more with ‘what they have been given’. They take on a passive role as a passenger in their life story. Other statements they make may include;
- ‘My abilities are unchanging.’
- ‘I don’t like to be challenged.’
- ‘My potential is pre-determined.’
- ‘When I’m frustrated, I give up.’
- ‘Feedback and criticism are personal.’
- ‘I stick to what I know.’
What is a Growth Mindset?
The belief that these things can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point. Such people use what they’ve been “assigned” at birth purely as their starting point. They believe they are capable of improving their knowledge, skills, and intelligence through effort and the correct attitude. A growth mindset individual may say:
‘I went from having two left feet to being good at dancing because I took several dance lessons and practiced a lot’.
They take on a proactive role as the driver in the story of their life. Other statements they make may include;
- ‘I can learn to do anything I want.’
- ‘Challenges help me to grow.’
- ‘My effort and attitude determine my abilities.’
- ‘Feedback is constructive.’
- ‘I am inspired by the success of others.’
- ‘I like to try new things.’
Implications for Business
In a business context, Fixed Mindsets are detrimental. People don’t challenge themselves because they don’t want to move outside their comfort zone. They can also take feedback personally as they often suffer from a victim mentality. Meanwhile, Growth Mindsets embrace challenges and development and learn from feedback, viewing it as constructive criticism. They are also more resilient in facing setbacks.
Time for some self-reflection! Which mindset do you have? If it’s fixed, don’t worry; changing to a growth mindset is possible!
7 practical tips to transform from a Fixed to a Growth Mindset
- Realise that scientifically, you can improve
Your brain is designed to grow and develop. You can strengthen neural connections to ‘rewire’ your brain which, in turn, can make you smarter.
- Remove your fixed mindset and inner voice.
Try to flip your original default thought from negative to positive. Replace ‘I can’t do this’ with ‘I can do this if I keep practicing.’
- Reward the process.
Society traditionally rewards results when it should really reward the process too. Give yourself a pat on the back when you accomplish something! It’ll motivate you even more.
- Get feedback
Try to seek feedback for your efforts on what you are doing well and where you can improve. This can be a coach, friend or family member. It motivates you, is associated with a pleasurable dopamine response and enhances a growth mindset.
- Set goals that are challenging but not impossible to accomplish
You can tackle your tasks gradually and still feel accomplished during the process. If they seem overwhelming, breaking them into smaller bite-size chunks will help you stay in control.
- Keep track of your progress and celebrate when you reach a milestone
Seeing incremental progress helps drive you on. Celebrating your achievements as you go is another confidence booster!
- Accept failure
Failure and setbacks are all part of the learning process. Try to see them as learning opportunities and try to enjoy the discovery process along the way.
One of our founding principles here at Masters in Minds is ‘change your mind, change your outcome.’ You can find out how to do this by accessing our Growth Mindset course and other related courses, such as Victim vs Ownership and Comfort Zones, via our website www.mastersinminds.com.
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