Chances are, you have a fixed mindset, but you clicked on this article, right? Time for change! What if I told you by simply achieving a growth mindset, you could significantly improve your mental health and your life? Pretty unbelievable.
This post contains:
1. What Does Growth Mindset Mean?
2. Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset
3. Examples of Growth Mindset
4. How Having a Growth Mindset Changes Your Life
5. How to Change Your Mindset
What Does Growth Mindset Mean?
Carol Dweck, Stanford Professor and my personal hero, established having a growth mindset as something to strive for.
Having a growth mindset is a belief that your intelligence is something flexible. This means that you can develop your skills over time.
You might have a growth mindset if you’re okay with being faced with challenges, you love to learn new things and failure is just a stepping stone to mastering new things.
This is the best mindset to have, especially in the classroom! By having this mindset that you can always change, little setbacks don’t hurt as much. Your confidence is also higher than people who don’t have this mindset (so pat yourself on the back for that!).
Growth Mindset Versus Fixed Mindset
People who don’t identify with the whole growth mindset philosophy are part of the fixed mindset group.
Having a fixed mindset means that you believe that your intelligence is something you’re born with and not something that can be changed.
If you’re part of this mindset, your grades mattered to you more than learning new things. You also had a hard time continuing with something if you’ve failed at it before.
Don’t be down on yourself if you have this mindset – I have it too! As a society, we value how well you perform way more than how much you learnt. You see this in schools! If you mess up one test, your grade will reflect that mistake, not how much you learned from your mistakes.
This entire blog post is me proving to you that your mental health and every other aspect of your life will be so much better as you learn to develop this growth mindset. Trust me!
Examples of Growth Mindset
I’m going to use the example of school, because that’s really when your mindset becomes fixed. Look at the nifty little table I created below, and tell me how you would have reacted in each situation.
Situation: You failed your first math midterm.
Fixed mindset: “Oh my god, a 49%? I’m so bad at math, I’m going to have to drop the class.”
Growth mindset: “Oh my god, a 49%? Looks like I have some work to do in algebra. I’m going to go see the teacher for help.”
Situation: You realize that the program you want to go into has high admission requirements.
Fixed mindset: “I can’t compete. Might as well give up now.”
Growth mindset: “It’s going to be hard, but I’ll keep working at it to get to where I want to be.”
Situation: You find the word-for-word answers to your homework online.
Fixed mindset: “I’ll just switch the words up a bit and my homework is all done!”
Growth mindset: “I’d rather think about the answers myself instead of copying them.”
See the difference between the two mindsets? It takes a lot of personal growth to switch mindsets, but I’ll show you the benefits of it!
How Switching Mindsets Can Change Your Life
Now, this is not an overnight process. It takes time and effort, but the rewards of switching mindsets are abundant! Below are just a few things to expect once you make the switch.
Failure is not a representation of who you are as a person
I remember beating myself up if I got a less-than-stellar grade in university. I would dwell on it for days, especially if I knew that it was worth a lot toward my final grade.
Did I ever stop and think about what I had learnt? Not until the very end of university, sadly. Your girl had a fixed mindset for two whole decades!
A person with a fixed mindset is not only bummed out about failure, but dwells on it. Because they think that intelligence is pre-determined, failing at something means that they are a failure. They can’t change, because their intelligence is fixed.
A person with a growth mindset will be bummed at the failure, yeah, but won’t take it personally. Since they believe that intelligence is an ever-growing thing, they’ll see failure as an inevitable thing to happen before success.
See how better it is for your mental health to have a growth mindset already? And I’m just getting started.
You Work Harder to Get the Things You Want
When you have a growth mindset, you never feel entitled to get things. You believe that hard work pays off and that anything is possible with that.
People with this mindset push themselves more because, like I said, obstacles are just a natural part of their path to greatness. Everything is attainable to them.
For people with kids, if you teach your kids working hard will bring great rewards, they won’t feel entitled to have certain things. Definitely a parenting win!
You’re More Adaptable to Changes
When you get a growth mindset, you become a chameleon. If you have a set plan to complete a goal and something comes up, you still have the confidence that you’ll achieve it.
When something comes up to mess up the plan of someone with a fixed mindset, their thought process usually goes like this:
1. Oh, my goodness, I didn’t see this coming!
2. Why would this happen?
3. Now everything is ruined!
Now, let’s talk about the thought process of someone with a growth mindset:
1. Oh, my goodness, I didn’t see this coming!
2. What’s the silver lining of this happening?
3. How can I modify my plan to still reach my goal?
You see how their thought process is more malleable? That’s a really good trait to have!
You take Constructive Criticism into Consideration
Have you ever been offered some constructive criticism by a friend and feel a little sting that they noticed something imperfect? If so, your mindset might be fixed!
Since people with a fixed mindset believe that their characteristics aren’t flexible, when someone criticizes something you did, it’s like they’re criticizing you! That’s why they either ignore it or get offended.
When you have a growth mindset, you know that you can grow with the criticism people provide. Since you’re not linking it with a personal attack, you can actually learn from their suggestions!
Your Motivation Skyrockets
Sky’s the limit! If you have a growth mindset, you’re not confined to what you think you’re able to do. Since you believe that you’ll achieve your goals if you just work hard enough, your motivation is high!
You can do anything since you can only grow from the person you were yesterday!
Jealousy is a Thing of the Past
People who have a growth mindset aren’t jealous of their so-called competitors, they’re inspired by them!
Here’s how fixed mindset people see it: people who are more successful than them are just naturally better than them. They’re either more intelligent, more motivated… what a terrible thought!
When you have a growth mindset, you realize that you’re can use those people as inspiration to grow! You can only get better with time.
You Don’t Feel the Need to Prove Yourself All the Time
You’d be lying if you said you’ve never encountered someone that always felt the need to one-up everything you said. “Oh yeah? Well I actually did something better…” and other similar sentences come out of their mouths. Why do they do that?
Well, number one, they’re insecure. Number two, they probably have a fixed mindset.
Their intelligence is a natural thing, so if they feel threatened, they’ll try to prove to other people that they have a lot of it.
Since you’re learning from a growth mindset perspective, you’ll notice other people’s intelligence and accomplishments, but you’ll be too busy growing yourself that you won’t feel the need to boast!
You Don’t Hit a Plateau
Since people who have a growth mindset believe that the sky is the limit, they don’t hit a plateau with their achievements. They keep going!
Fixed mindset people believe that since their intelligence is fixed, they can only achieve a certain number of things and the rest is out of reach. They also struggle with overcoming obstacles, and often hit a plateau there.
In reality, with enough effort, anything is possible!
Your Relationships Will Improve
Yup, it’s all in the mindset! Let me show you how the way you think can drastically improve your relationships.
Let’s say you have a communication problem in your romantic relationship. Your partner said something that upset you. It happens more than once on the same subject.
If you have a fixed mindset, you don’t believe in a relationship evolving that much. You’re more likely tempted to ignore the issue or end the relationship altogether. According to you, people don’t change that much, so not much effort should be put into fixing this issue.
You’re more likely to want to communicate with your partner if you have a growth mindset. Since you believe that we’re always evolving, you would tend to put more effort into the relationship to fix any issues.
NOTE: that doesn’t mean you don’t know when to give up if the relationship truly isn’t going anywhere, it means that you’re okay with trying to fix issues that can be resolved.
Your Confidence Will Skyrocket
Think about it: you work harder with a growth mindset, so when you get rewarded, you’ll gain so much confidence!
You believe that you can change, so you’ll actually try to grow and become a better version of yourself.
So How Do I Switch Mindsets?
It’s all trial and error. If you have a fixed mindset, challenge yourself! It will feel uncomfortable at first, but trying out new hobbies and pushing yourself to achieve your goals will train your brain to believe that your abilities are endless!
We’ve been brought up to value our performance and think that failure is a bad thing. Of course, it will take time to change our mindset! You have the rest of your life to prove to yourself that you can do it!