Growth Mindset: 6 Keys To Unlock Your Potential

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I learned something really amazing today.

A while back I interviewed Dr. Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation and the growth mindset (below I share a video interview from Dr. Carol Dweck on fixed mindset vs. growth mindset).

Dr. Dweck has spent decades researching achievement and success, and through her research, she's discovered something groundbreaking — the power of a positive mindset. She has learned that talent and skills aren't the only elements of success. A major factor is whether we have what she calls a “fixed” mindset or a “growth” mindset.

headshots of Dr. Carol Dweck growth mindset

Barrie Davenport interview with Dr. Carol Dweck

What Is A Fixed Mindset?

Those with a fixed mindset believe their intelligence, qualities, and abilities are set in stone, but they have an urgency to prove those qualities over and over. The main goal is to appear smart and capable and to avoid failure at all costs. When these people do fail, they view it as a direct measure of their competence and self-worth.

People with a fixed mindset are often overly sensitive to appearing wrong or being judged.

What Is A Growth Mindset?

People with a growth mindset have another approach to life entirely.

Says Dr. Carol Dweck in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, “In this mindset, the hand you're dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset definition by Dr. Dweck is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts and activities.

Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or personalities — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

With a growth mindset, you believe change is possible and even necessary. You don't view failures as the end of the world — you see them as opportunities for learning. You are comfortable with taking risks, and you even seek out calculated risk opportunities.

You want to challenge yourself to try something harder, stretch beyond your perceived limits, and go for things others might not think you're capable of achieving.

So where do you see yourself — as someone with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

Related: 50 Growth Mindset Quotes For Kids and Teachers

Dr. Dweck's research has shown having a growth mindset creates a love of learning and a resilience that's essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities. A  growth mindset provides motivation and productivity in business, education, personal habits, relationships, and sports.

If you have more of a fixed mindset and see the benefit of a growth mindset, Dr. Dweck has discovered you can learn the skills of a growth mindset and practice them until they become your more natural way of thinking and perceiving the world.

6 Ways to Build a Growth Mindset:

Pick one of these 6 growth mindset activities to add to your daily routine:

1. Begin with awareness for a growth mindset

Begin to catch yourself in a fixed mindset. Notice how you react to challenges, failures, or opportunities for taking risk. Watch how often you limit yourself, undermine your potential, or bristle when someone suggests you are wrong. Notice your self-talk when you make a mistake or fail at something.

Related: 20 Personality Development Tips That Make You More Attractive

Self-awareness is the beginning of change, so make note of the occasions and situations that trigger your fixed mindset reactions.

2. Push through challenges for a growth mindset

When you're attempting something new, and you come to the point when you're bored, tired, hungry, or mentally stretched, push yourself to work a bit harder or longer. Intentionally put yourself in a growth mindset, and see yourself accomplishing or completing the task. Rather than giving up as soon as things get tough, tell yourself that you can do it and keep going.

man focused at computer desk growth mindset

3. Seek constructive criticism for a growth mindset

No one likes to hear criticism, but quite often constructive criticism is just what we need to make a big leap in our knowledge or abilities. Find people whose opinion you trust and admire, and ask for constructive criticism about your work, a project, your abilities, etc. Listen openly to what they say without defensiveness, and apply their suggestions.

4. Review your failures and mistakes for a growth mindset

Most of us like to bury our past failures and mistakes because we don't like to feel bad about ourselves. It's embarrassing and causes shame or regret. But use the growth mindset to reevaluate your past mistakes. What can you learn from them? What can you use for your growth? How can you apply what you've learned to future goals?

Related: 11 Of The Best Ways to Cultivate Inner Strength

5. Examine your words for a growth mindset

Take a look at your internal self-talk, especially when you feel you've not performed well or made a mistake.

Do you say things like, “I'm a loser? I will never accomplish that? It's just too hard for me?”

Dr. Dweck has found in her research by simply using the words “yet” and “next time,” you can ignite the growth mindset and see more potential in yourself. Rather than thinking, “I can't do this,” instead say, “I can't do this yet,” or “I will accomplish it next time.” This puts a positive spin on your attitude and emotions and trains your brain to remain open to challenges.

6. Blast through the blues for a growth mindset

When you feel depressed, rather than using the feelings as an excuse to do nothing or indulge in your unhappiness, work even harder. Push yourself to do a useful activity. Think about effort as a positive, constructive force rather than something that further drags you down.

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Begin applying these strategies in your daily life, and you'll see how you transform from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

You can accomplish and achieve far more than you ever dreamed of as you begin to see how much potential you have for change and growth.

Here is the video interview I had with Dr. Carol Dweck:

If you want to learn more about Dr. Carol Dweck, you can connect with her on her site, Mindset.

Did you find any value from this list of growth mindset activities?

I hope you'll use these ways to develop your growth mindset.

Would you be willing to send out some love to your friends and family? Please share this post on growth mindset vs. fixed mindset on your preferred social media platform.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 7 comments
  • Ron Clendenin

    You made a great point about failure and mistakes. Being honest and open about mistakes is necessary part of growth. It also attracts others to you when we share vulnerably our failings.

    Reply
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