Our mindset can be a key driver of our success and ultimately our happiness. In this article, we’ll start with a growth mindset definition & context around the mindset field of study. Then we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of having a growth mindset. Finally, we’ll look at how we can actually cultivate one.
What do we mean by mindset anyway? I like this fairly general definition of it being a “habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations”.
It infers that there are patterns within our individual responses and these are often built up over time as a result of our past experiences.
Carole Dweck, a world-renowned psychologist from Stamford university is known for her work in this field. She distinguishes between a fixed mindset, where people believe their basic qualities and abilities are fixed, versus a growth mindset, where one believes that these can be developed through dedication and hard work.
Those with a fixed mindset may fear failure because it challenges their basic abilities, while growth mindset individuals are less afraid because they realise performance can be improved and that learning comes from failure.
Although much of the research looks at intellect and learning, having a growth mindset can actually play an important role in many or all aspects of our lives. Those with a fixed mindset may be reluctant to try different things and adapt to new situations, versus those with a growth mindset maybe open to trying a host of possibilities and opportunities.
Alex Vermeer has done a great job of summarizing Dweck’s Mindset book within his article 15 Benefits of the Growth Mindset:
Quick reality check – having a growth mindset doesn’t necessarily make life easy or guarantee success, however, it can give you a much richer and more fulfilling life, while improving your abilities and chances of success. That sounds like it’s worth a punt, in my eyes.
Scientists have made big progress in their understanding of the human brain in recent years and can demonstrate that as we learn new things, our brains create new ‘neural pathways’ to embed that new learning. The great news is that age is not a factor in this process – so older people are as capable as younger people when it comes to learning new skills.
Here are some great ideas how to develop-a-growth-mindset including a few favourites of mine:
Coaching can also assist you to develop a positive mindset, helping to improve the ways in which we see and experience life.
Having a growth mindset can bring benefits to various aspects of our lives. Developing a growth mindset can be useful to us at any age and life stage.
How will you cultivate your own growth mindset?
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