It’s a common misconception that our intelligence and skills are fixed. In fact, we can grow both with effort and practice. The key is embracing a growth mindset—a belief that your intelligence and talents can be developed through dedication and hard work.
A growth mindset has many benefits: It helps us learn from mistakes instead of giving up when we struggle; it boosts our confidence so we’re more likely to try new things; it helps us avoid procrastination because we don’t put off tasks until later because they’re too difficult; and it helps us enjoy learning more by seeing each new thing as an opportunity to stretch ourselves rather than something that might prove beyond our abilities.
A growth mindset is a belief that you can get better at something with effort. It’s different from a fixed mindset, which is the belief that your intelligence or abilities are set in stone and cannot be changed. A person with a growth mindset believes that her skills can improve over time through effort, practice and feedback.
A growth mindset doesn’t mean you’re perfect–it means that you’re willing to learn from mistakes, take risks and push yourself outside of your comfort zone when necessary. The most successful people have been those who’ve embraced challenges head-on instead of avoiding them out of fear or self-doubt (or both).
A growth mindset is a powerful way to think about learning. It’s important for personal development, workplace performance and business development. The same goes for teams and personal growth.
A growth mindset helps us to:
If you’re in the habit of thinking “but,” try thinking “yet” instead. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this,” say, “I can’t do this yet.” Instead of saying, “I’m not good at this,” say, “I’m not good at this yet.” It’s a simple change in wording that makes all the difference! The conversations you have with yourself are powerful.
If you’re trying to cultivate a growth mindset, it’s important to find role models who have that mindset and emulate them. You can use your role models as sources of inspiration and motivation when you are struggling with something new or difficult.
People to emulate include:
One of the most difficult things about learning to be more self-compassionate is that it involves being kind to yourself, which can feel unnatural and uncomfortable at first. But as you learn to treat yourself with the same kindness, care, and concern that you would show a good friend in similar circumstances, it will become easier over time (and actually feel good!).
One of the most important things to learn from setbacks is that you can’t control everything. You can only control your actions and how hard you work, so keep that in mind when things don’t go your way.
Another thing to keep in mind is not to be too hard on yourself when things don’t work out as planned. Try not to think about what could have been or who else might have done better–instead focus on what went wrong and how you can improve next time. If someone has criticized your efforts or performance, take it with a grain of salt and try not to let it get under your skin too much! Remember: there will always be people who think less of our abilities than we do ourselves; their opinions shouldn’t affect our self-confidence unless we allow them too much power over our thoughts (which would be counter-productive).
To identify the triggers that lead to a fixed mindset, you can ask yourself the following questions:
For example, if you tend to feel like your intelligence is fixed when someone praises your work or tells you how smart they think you are, then this may be one of your triggers. You could avoid this trigger by not accepting praise from others unless it’s clear that it was intended as constructive feedback rather than flattery (e.g., “I really appreciate how much effort and time went into creating this report!”).
You can’t argue with your thoughts, but you can argue against them. When you notice a negative thought, question its evidence. Ask yourself: “Is this really true?” If the answer is no and it’s just an opinion or a feeling–if there’s no actual proof behind it–then don’t let the thought continue to run wild in your head.
When questioning evidence for negative thoughts, ask yourself:
If you want to cultivate a growth mindset in your students or children, here are some ways to do so:
A growth mindset is not a quick fix, but with time and practice, it can become second nature. The key is to keep your mind open to change and new ideas, even if they feel uncomfortable at first. When faced with setbacks or failures, focus on how they can improve your next attempt rather than dwelling on the past failure itself. Finally, try out some of these tips in the next few days–they may seem like small steps towards cultivating a growth mindset at first glance but over time they add up!
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