Have you ever noticed that some people always seem happy, no matter what happens in their lives? Or that some people seem to walk around under a cloud of doom and ongoing catastrophe? Henry Ford famously said, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t–you’re right.” And this pretty much sums up how mindset works. Those that believe they will succeed are more likely to, while those that think they will fail are destined to fulfil that prophecy.
What Does “Growth Mindset” Really Mean?
According to learning theorists and psychologists, our beliefs about our intelligence, traits, and abilities play a crucial role in whether we have a more positive or negative outlook. Our mindset about learning tends to lean more toward one of two ideas. Those that believe abilities are innate, that we are born with all the talent, traits, and intelligence we will ever have, have what is known as a fixed mindset. Their capabilities are fixed at birth, so their lives are devoted to demonstrating their worth to others.
The opposite end of the spectrum is what is known as a growth mindset. Those with this view of learning believe that we can develop and grow our abilities, traits, and intelligence throughout our lives. A growth mindset is a belief that you control your development and that learning is not something you do just when you are young but should be a part of your whole lifespan.
The characteristics of a growth mindset include valuing demanding work, being willing to learn from your mistakes, appreciating opportunities for development (even when they come from negative experiences), and working toward your best self to achieve self-actualisation. A growth mindset is not the only component necessary for growth, as it must be combined with hard work, practical strategies, and input from others.
The Benefits of Growth-Oriented Thinking
Those with a growth mindset often exhibit characteristics or traits that benefit them in their growth efforts. These skills and attributes are optimism, creativity, determination, collaboration ability, open-mindedness, resilience, and persistence. These traits help you remain open to the world and its possibilities, enable you to overcome adversity, and teach you to see the world with the right attitude for continual growth.
According to the originator of the concept of growth mindset, Carol Dweck, we are all on our learning curve in life, and our ability to realise goals in the future is determined only by what we have yet to learn or understand. “Yet” is an essential word when it comes to growth-oriented thinking. Instead of worrying about what you cannot do, you consider it merely something you have yet to learn.
While having a positive outlook and working hard is part of a growth mindset, these are not the only things you need to achieve your goals. In other words, effort does not equal growth in all instances, especially where the goal has been set too far away. Outcomes still matter, regardless of your mindset.
Learning to value challenges, learning from failures and mistakes, and being willing to take risks are all part of being growth-oriented. Adjusting your outlook to see things that most consider harmful but you can learn from is crucial.
Adopting a growth mindset can help you realise your full potential, accomplish your goals, and be as successful as you want in life. When you change your attitude about learning, you know that the world has much to teach you from its many experiences, people, and opportunities.