Growth as a Mindset

When you think of a successful, smart and talented person, who comes to mind? Maybe someone like Thomas Edison, an American inventor credited with inventing the light bulb. While Edison was obviously a very intelligent and talented person, he wasn’t born a success. It took a long slow process of dedication and hard work. 

In her book, Mindset, Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck says that it’s not intelligence, talent, or education that sets successful people apart. It’s their mindset, or the way that they approach life’s challenges. She says that people adhere to one of two mindsets – a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset operate under the belief that basic qualities like intelligence and talents are fixed traits. They hope that these traits will lead to success and don’t seek to develop themselves further. As a result, they view their failures as a potential threat to their identity and struggle with working through difficult situations. If a fixed mindset is left unchecked for too long, it can eventually lead people to believe that they simply can’t overcome challenges.

People with a growth mindset operate under the belief that they can improve their intelligence and talents with passion, training, and deliberate effort. Someone with a growth mindset welcomes challenges and views failures or missteps as opportunities to learn and grow. For example, if you have a growth mindset, you may believe that you’re gifted with a certain amount of intelligence, but that you can also constantly improve that level of intelligence and talent. This will lead you to study, learn, and put the work into expanding your mind to grow and develop.

At work, whether you’re an entry-level employee or CEO in charge of a lot of people, you can have the power to influence and encourage your company culture by demonstrating a growth mindset. You may have heard the term “grit” which has permeated the American Education System. To demonstrate grit, you have to operate under a growth mindset.

This concept also applies outside of work in your personal life. If you have a fixed mindset, you may believe that you can’t really learn anything new, like how to cook or make improvements in your home. Whereas a person with a growth mindset may seek to develop themselves in these areas and can probably make some real progress. 

It stands to reason that it is probably best to demonstrate a growth mindset and not to limit ourselves or remain stagnant. To move forward in a growth mindset, here are some things you can do:

  1. Pay attention to what you are telling yourself daily. Are the messages you are telling yourself growth-oriented or fixed?  
  2. Reframe your thoughts. For example, instead of focusing on the mistake you made, reframe it and try to think of it as a learning opportunity. 
  3. Look at challenges as opportunities to improve yourself. 
  4. Don’t view constructive feedback in a negative way. Leverage it to overcome limitations. 
  5. Observe and learn from your mistakes as well as the mistakes of others.
  6. Attempt a variety of approaches rather than taking the same approach in each situation. 
  7. Try not to be afraid to take calculated risks.

Muhammed Ali said,“The man who views the world at 50 the same as he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life”.



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