Mindsets are simply deeply held beliefs, and in the words of author and professor Dr. Carol Dweck “we can always change our minds”.
Dweck discovered that people generally hold one of two mindsets, a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. And these mindsets have a strong influence on how we approach challenge.
With a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them.
Dweck says that with a fixed mindset every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?
With a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities are things that can be cultivated through effort. With a growth mindset we evaluate our progress based on how we did today compared with our own past performance. Growth mindset encourages us to take on challenges and contributes to our resilience overall.
To develop your growth mindset try this:
- Notice: When do you find yourself comparing yourself to others?
- Think again: When you catch yourself making this comparison take a moment to pause, and think again.
From a growth mindset consider your own goals, priorities and standards and compare yourself to these. How are you measuring up? What action could you take to improve?
- Test: Start small. Identify an example of fixed mindset thinking and test out a growth mindset approach.
One lawyer I know, Susan, loved cooking but thought she was no good at baking and never would be. She decided to try out a growth mindset by taking on some baking. She started with a simple bread recipe and kept going from there. What she discovered was that her baking kept improving and she really enjoyed it. With fixed mindset she had decided she was a hopeless baker. With growth mindset she realised she was becoming a good baker. Now she is applying this mindset shift to other parts of her life.
Where can you make the shift from fixed to growth?