Having a growth mindset is a leading indicator for success in life.
With the belief that you are capable of growing, learning, and overcoming obstacles you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. We are all born with a growth mindset. As children our childlike curiosities seek out new things to learn. We poke and prod, stumble and fall, reach and miss until one day the world says “That’s enough of that, it’s time for you to fit in”.
We as human beings are always capable of learning more, growing stronger, and making an impact. The growth mindset is a natural state we all once had, but some of us must cultivate it in our adult years. We don’t have to be children in order to imagine a fantastic future for ourselves. You can become who you wish to be and learn the skills you’ve always wanted to have. And it all starts with the growth mindset.
We at Mobius can attribute the growth mindset to many aspects of our own lives.
It is the growth mindset that lead us to the founding of our company. More importantly, it is the growth mindset that allows us to continually learn what we need to in order to grow our company. We believe in what we are creating, we believe we can help others with our work, and we believe that we are capable of finding out how to make it all happen
If you’re looking for a book to read, this one is definitely worth your time.
Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is a great primer on the concept of the growth mindset. Many of the concepts we speak about in this blog post, and that David Taylor mentions in his podcast, are expanded upon in Carol’s superb book.
The fixed mindset vs. the growth mindset
The fixed mindset is the belief that all talents are set from birth. You have it or you don’t. This is the mindset that many schools mistakenly force upon their students. A student receives the letter grade of C and begins to believe that he is a “C student”. A student good at athletics is discouraged to try their hand at music because she is a “naturally talented” athlete. Why waste talent somewhere else?
At its core the growth mindset is the belief that you can master anything.
You may have been born with an affinity for certain skills, you must put effort into growing those skills. You are capable of mastering any skill, even those you may not have an affinity for. Passion and perseverance make up for innate talent in any field.
“Whether you believe you can or can’t, you’re right”
Belief is powerful.
Many people don’t believe they are capable of growth. A childhood filled with pass/fail tests and concrete grading systems has taught many of us that life is pass or fail. As such, we rarely associate failure with the opportunity to grow. We instead see failure as a reason to stop trying.
Recently educational programs have leaned towards a methodology of “not yet” when a student is struggling with a topic. This teaching style fosters a growth mindset by encouraging students to try again until they succeed. Believing you can achieve something is the first step towards achieving it.
When we believe we are good at something, we are encouraged to continue doing that thing, until we assume we are the best. When we assume we are the best at something, we see no reason to practice. Why practice if we are already the best? Instead we begin generating excuses when others are better than us. We are forced to make excuses and put other people down in order to raise ourselves up.
A fixed mindset is self-limiting.
We place limits upon ourselves in order to justify our station in life. These limits create a comfort zone that is fragile. When others attempt to push us past our comfort zone we lash out in defense of the limits we have placed upon ourselves. We will tend to judge others who are better than us, generating excuses as to why they are better such as luck, good genes, inborn talent, or our own misfortune.
With a growth mindset we celebrate the victories and talents of others.
We are impressed and inspired by their hard work and determination. Even if they have a talent similar to ours or vastly different, we respect the effort they are putting in. We know the effort that we are putting towards ourselves and therefore we empathize with others.
The growth mindset says we can master anything with hard work, determination, and time.
A willingness to rise to the challenges of life means we constantly seek out ways to grow.
In the beginning of acquiring a new skill, there are no high stakes. We can easily gauge where we are at while seeing rapid progress. Once the rapid progress slows, we may no longer be able to gauge our current abilities. It is at this time that we can become discouraged, succumbing to the belief of the fixed mindset. If instead we begin seeking out challenges we continue to grow.
Mentors are another way we learn and grow.
Mentors are people you wish to emulate and become like. They aid us by being an example of how to accomplish something, and by providing feedback for our journey so far. By seeing someone who has done something before, we are more likely to believe it is possible for us to accomplish something similar. Especially when that someone believes in us.
Think about a time when you faced a challenge.
Did you conquer it or not? What was going through your mind at this time? Were you blaming your surroundings and other people, or were you experiencing a challenge to grow your skills and abilities?
Asking yourself questions like these will aid you in discovering whether you have a fixed or growth mindset. Having a certain mindset does not determine every decision you make. You may have a growth mindset in some aspects of your life while having a fixed mindset in others. At work you may be quickly climbing the ladder, but at home you may struggle to understand your significant other.
We can foster a growth mindset in any and all aspects of our lives.
This does not mean we must seek to master every skill. Sometimes it is a better use of our time to accept that we don’t wish to master certain skills.
By having a growth mindset we can accept the skills we do not foster, and spend our efforts building the skills we do. Next time you find yourself up against an obstacle, remember that it may be just the perfect challenge you need to improve your skills.
You can do anything you put your mind to.
“Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.”