Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset & How to Develop Your “Power of Yet”
The concept of a growth mindset vs fixed mindset is not new in the fields of Psychology or Education but it is seen as one of the most effective ways in which we can reach our potential.
Through her many years of research on theories of intelligence and motivation, American psychologist Carol Dweck highlights how our beliefs and the way we view ourselves can determine how we live our lives.
‘In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.’ – Carol Dweck
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
A growth mindset thrives on challenge and the belief that there always more in you than you think, irrespective of setbacks.
Conversely, a fixed mindset is characterized by more rigid thinking or a belief that what you know now is all you can or need to know. A fixed mindset can arise for many reasons, such as fear, self-doubt, control, or lack of understanding.
But the path to personal growth just needs some self-reflection and the motivation to move forward.
Growth Mindset Examples – Developing A Healthy Perspective
Believe In The Power Of Yet
There are some major differences when you look at growth mindset vs fixed mindset.
One of the most important distinctions is the idea of yet.
The essence of a growth mindset is knowing that there is always an opportunity to learn something which doesn’t have to be timebound.
One of the criticisms of exams and assessment is that students sometimes feel a failure if they haven’t reached a benchmark or grasped a sound understanding of a concept prior to an ‘important test’. It’s vital that educators help students to recognise the learning process as continuous. Given a few more months, students may yet learn these particular skills.
This approach is not exclusive to students, it can apply to anyone at any stage of their life. So, ditch the idea that you’re ‘not good at Mathematics’ and take steps towards small wins. You may not have figured out how to solve problems yet but if you allow time to learn at your own pace, you can nurture the right skill set within you.
By acknowledging the ‘yet’ rather than the ‘now’, you can begin the first steps on your way to success. Even if you experience difficulties along the way, see every setback as an opportunity for learning. Show your capacity for building resilience and don’t stop trying.
‘It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop.’ – Confucius
Get Rid of Labels
Be honest! How often do you create labels for yourself or others? How often have you convinced yourself you can’t do something? Perhaps, you’ve said, ‘I’m not very artistic.’ This may seem like harmless self-observation but sometimes if we say things often enough, we start to believe them.
The good news is that this psychology can also work in reverse. Say it out loud: ‘I’m an artist’, or to focus more on the process, ‘I’m becoming an artist.’ By letting go of your limiting beliefs, growth can begin.
‘Believe you can….and you’re halfway there!’ – Theodore Roosevelt
Develop Expertise and Mastery
The once popularised myth that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill or talent has been subject to much scrutiny. When you consider the variety and complexity of differing skills, such as learning a musical instrument versus learning to knit, it becomes clear that this benchmark may be optimistic or exaggerated in some cases. You may develop enough skills to be competent but not significantly enough to become a musical virtuoso.
In the book, ‘Peak: How All Of Us Can Achieve Extraordinary Things’, Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool highlight the concept of deliberate practice, a focused approach of intentional learning to master a particular skill. Having a growth mindset is essential for this to happen because, first of all, you need to believe you can actually achieve something.
The aim of deliberate practice is to focus on the quality of the learning time, not necessarily the amount of time devoted to it. This qualitative approach is a more focused and corrective approach to learning which may require a coach to guide you through specific areas of development. Knowing how to practice in the right way can enhance your skills more effectively.
‘If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.’ – Michelangelo
Face Your Fears And Just Do It!
It may be tempting to stay in your comfort zone to reduce anxiety or stay in control but this may be causing you to plateau. Having the courage to take a few risks may be the boost you need. Challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone, not too much that it may induce panic, but just enough for you to feel the anticipation of something new.
When you look at a growth mindset vs fixed mindset you should always do your best to lean towards the first one.
The best way to build your confidence at something is just by doing it. If you think about something too long, you may end up talking yourself out of doing it and the cycle of fear continues. Having the ability to step outside your comfort zone can lead you to unexpected new opportunities.
Try this exercise: Write down one of your fears and describe how it is inhibiting your growth. By naming the fear, you can begin to address it and move forward.
‘One can choose to go back toward safety or forward toward growth. Growth must be chosen again and again; fear must be overcome again and again.’ – Abraham Maslow
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset Open Your Mind
Make a concerted effort to understand different viewpoints and perspectives. We all have our own biases which have developed through our own life experiences. Having a growth mindset allows you to acknowledge your biases whilst being open-minded to new ideas. You can listen to others more effectively and begin to see things from other perspectives.
Harness Your Natural Curiosity And Passion
Seek novel experiences to feed your mind with something new. Being naturally curious can lead you to find your passion and discover more about yourself. Having a growth mindset allows you to focus on your passion for learning rather than a desire for approval from others.
Write a list of aspects of your personality and how they feed into your mindset. Once you recognise and understanding these factors, and how they determine the choices you make, you can decide which approach to take.
Surround yourself with a support network of people that will champion your growth. By sharing your aspirations with people you trust, you will feel more motivated to develop knowing you have others to back you all the way.
‘Nothing is impossible. The word itself says ‘I’m possible!’ – Audrey Hepburn
Once you begin to see every moment, conversation or meeting as an opportunity to learn and grow, you will start to see positive changes in the way you live your life. And remember, when it comes to a growth mindset vs fixed mindset, the choice is yours.