Sometimes we are so fixated on the tangibles of success — the numbers, results, and how much we “get done” — that we completely forget about those invisible factors that truly make the difference. Like mindset.
Your attitude has direct implications on the progress you make. It affects your productivity, how you respond to obstacles, and even how well you work with others. Dr. Carol Dweck figured this out years ago in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
A growth mindset is having the belief that you can put forth effort in order to develop talents. It means you acknowledge the value and importance of learning and growth on everything in life. On the other end of the spectrum is the fixed mindset. This is the belief that our talents are inherent. In a growth mindset, you take ownership of your potential for success. In a fixed mindset, you give the responsibility away in a sort of “that’s just the way it is” mentality.
We don’t necessarily reside in one mindset versus the other. On the contrary, we move up and down the spectrum between the two mindsets constantly. The goal is to always work towards the growth side. How do we actively do that, though? Knowing the definition is one thing. Making changes in the way we function on a daily basis is another.
Here are 10 ways you can take action to build your growth mindset:
Love your flaws.
Your imperfections are opportunities. Human beings are multifaceted and ever-changing. If we all were amazing at everything, I think it would be more than just boring. I think it simply wouldn’t work. You have to develop an acceptance of your weaknesses so that you can either say, “I want to get better at that” or “I am choosing to focus my energy on other things.” Drop the self-judgment.
Grow your strengths.
Understanding your flaws means you know where you can improve. But understanding your strengths means you know where you can flourish. Even if you are living in a fixed mindset of “this is my natural gift,” you still must choose to let it waste or let it thrive. But letting it thrive means you take action to steer the skill to refinement. You educate yourself with practice and development.
Uncover your purpose.
Do you know what you’re meant to do in this world? Where and how do you want to make an impact, and what are your passions? Having a sense of meaning is a fabulous driver for growth. It is fuel for the journey, a roadmap that makes decisions easier, and a push when you hit resistance.
Embrace curiosity and wonder.
Babies and children are so great at this. In fact, since we were all kids at one point, it could be argued that we all had this figured out for ourselves back then, and somewhere along the way, we forgot it. The world and all its experiences are full of marvels. Approaching life with inquisitiveness and digging deeper into the “why” of a situation will naturally expand your mindset to one of growth.
Greet it with a hug and a kiss, even. This IS how learning happens. It is not something to avoid or be embarrassed about. Next time you make a mistake, don’t sweep it under the rug and run in the opposite direction. Look at it a little more closely and find the lesson. What will you do differently next time? Because when you hide it away, you are much more likely to keep repeating that same mistake over and over again.
This also has to do with how we respond to failures and setbacks. But it’s one step more. What do you do after you’ve derived a lesson from your mistake? You have to get back up and try again. And be willing to fail again! This is resilience. More than simply “going with the flow” or “rolling with the punches,” you have to be prepared to take a little control and steer the flow to where you want it to go.
Put in the effort.
The growth mindset isn’t just effort for effort’s sake. It is delegating your power and energy towards a purpose: the purpose of learning and making progress towards your goals. You simply have to be willing to do the work. It’s not about sitting back and letting life happen to you.
Seek out the challenges.
Look for the tough stuff. And then go do it. Don’t shy away from an obstacle. Just like failures are opportunities for learning, so is a challenge. This tip is right in alignment with the one above. Because you have to want to put in the effort. A challenge works your brain muscle in the best way.
Say yes to new experiences.
Routines can be lovely in some ways. They give us predictability and comfort. Unfortunately, too much comfort keeps us from growth. So no, you don’t have to run off and join the circus (unless it’s calling to you), but do try new things. Take a class on a skill or topic that’s a little outside of your norm. Go out to a social event you wouldn’t normally go to. If you always go for a walk at the same park, google a new one just for kicks. Stretch yourself.
Support others in their growth.
So far this has been all about me, me, me, but learning doesn’t have to be (and shouldn’t be) a solo experience. If you want to be accepted in spite of your mistakes, remember that when it comes to how you view other people. Are you supporting your peers, friends, family, and teams when they fail? Are you cheering them on? How can you include others in trying new experiences with you or taking a learning journey together? You get what you give. And it’s just more fun when you’re not alone.
Implement these 10 ideas into your life and you’ll be making your way towards the growth end of the spectrum in no time. You’ll be amazed at what you achieve.
“We all have possibilities we don’t know about. We can do things we don’t even dream we can do.” – Dale Carnegie