Have you ever wondered why some people seem to be stuck in a lifeless routine, while others move from one opportunity to another without ever giving up in the face of adversity? It’s all about the mindset!
We each have a set of beliefs about success (and failure), intelligence and talent, that will shape our every decision. Your career path, your attitude towards failure, even the reason why you’re reading this article right now have something to do with your mindset.
Let’s take a quick peek at the primary differences between a fixed and growth mindset.
As you can see, a growth mindset is a way to go for those of us who are hungry for success, thirsty for knowledge and eager to sharpen our skills.
The first to study the ins and outs of our mindset was Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, and author of Mindset: The new Psychology of Success. In her book she covers everything from leadership and skill mastery, to love and relationships.
A growth mindset is a universal tool that can turn average into good and good into great, regardless of the area of life you want to excel in.
Here are the three game-changing benefits of a growth mindset, accompanied by a set of keys that will unlock your potential.
#1 A growth mindset acts as a buffer against demotivation
One of the biggest killers of productivity is the lack of motivation that results from repeated setbacks. Maybe we’ve had a fair share of failures in the past, and we simply don’t feel like going through the same thing again.
Avoidance and idleness are indeed the easiest ways around the awful taste of failure, but regarding progress, it’s game over.
To see how a growth mindset can act as a buffer against demotivation, researchers assessed a group of 123 students enrolled in a tough course.
As it turns out, the use of a growth mindset “prompted the adoption of mastery goals and effort attribution, which buffered against demotivation.”
Quick note! Mastery goals are the kind of goals through which we learn new skills because we feel motivated by our passions. We also follow our own standards of performance and set our own deadlines. Pretty cool right!?
Now let’s get back to the study.
So not only that this study clearly explains how a growth mindset can keep us motivated, but it also gives us the first key to access this type of mindset.
Focus your efforts on mastery-oriented goals so that you can build a solid skill set. Only then you can look forward to setting some performance-oriented goals. For example, getting a good grade on your Math exam is a performance-oriented goal, while wanting to learn Math is a mastery-oriented goal.
The students who managed to stay motivated knew that sometimes, putting in the effort and failing is just as useful as aiming high and scoring lots of points.
#2 A growth mindset helps us develop talents
Perhaps one of the biggest pros of switching to a growth mindset is that it helps us build talents that we can later turn into real results.
For some reason, many of us believe talents are innate, and there’s nothing we can do about it. The growth mindset, however, tells a different story. As Carol Dweck puts it in one of her presentations:
“In a fixed mindset, the cardinal rule is: Look talented at all costs. In a growth mindset, the cardinal rule is: Learn, learn, learn!”
This is the first rule you need to follow when building your growth mindset. The other two rules are:
“Work with passion and dedication – effort is the key.”
“Embrace your mistakes and confront your deficiencies.”
So, the foundation of a growth mindset is made up of knowledge, work, and a positive attitude in the face of failure.
Each of us is born with a set of talents, but we can always cultivate new ones through learning and practice.
#3 It also prompts us to ask more from ourselves
“Those with a growth mindset know they have to work hard, and they enjoy it. They understand that effort is what ignites their ability and causes it to grow over time.”
– Carol Dweck
According to a study, some of the tools that can support a growth mindset are visualization and goal setting. It makes perfect sense considering that visualizing the achievement of a goal can drive us to put in the hard effort.
Since goal-setting is a topic we already tackled in the past, let’s see what visualization is all about.
As Robert Collier puts it:
“Visualize this thing that you want, see it, feel it, believe in it. Make your mental blue print, and begin to build.”
A simple, yet elegant, definition of visualization.
The easiest way to practice visualization is to close your eyes and build a mental picture of your journey (the goal is the destination). Take the time to visualize every milestone, every possible setback, and every resource available. Do this on a regular basis to “program” you mind for success.
To sum up:
- Get motivated by setting some mastery-oriented goals. The purpose is neither to win, nor to lose, but to learn.
- Build your talents through work, education, and a positive attitude toward failure.
- Ask more from yourself (and life) by visualizing your goals.