If you’re unfamiliar, growth mindset is a learning theory developed by Stanford University professor Carol Dweck. Dweck spent years researching success and failure, and came to the conclusion that how we tackle learning comes from one of two “mindsets”: fixed or growth.
Someone with a “fixed mindset” believes our basic abilities (intelligence, talents) are static. That is, we live with what we’re born with; we don’t have the capacity to learn and grow and change.
Someone with a “growth mindset”, however, knows that the brain changes and grows when we use it. Learning is everything; our intelligence and talents can be developed and improved. When we encounter failure, we understand it’s an opportunity to learn.
For children, a fixed mindset sounds like this: “I’m not good at reading”, “I can’t draw” or “I’m bad at math”. They have a hard time recovering from a setback, and they’re hesitant to challenge themselves.
As adults, many of us do this too: “I’m too old for this”, “I’m not good with new technology”, or “I already know what works for me”. Sound familiar?
The good news? It’s not too late to develop a growth mindset – it just takes a little practice.
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Fixed vs. Growth Mindsets
According to Carol Dweck’s Mindset Theory, we all fall somewhere along a spectrum when it comes to our implicit beliefs. At one end, it’s possible to have a fixed mindset or an entity theory:
“A fixed mindset is when people believe their basic qualities, their intelligence, their talents, their abilities, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount, and that’s that.”
If your implicit beliefs fall at the other end of the spectrum, you have a growth mindset – incremental theory:
“(You) believe that even basic talents and abilities can be developed over time through experience, mentorship, and so on…and these are the people who go for it. (Dweck, 2012)”
A fixed mindset can often be associated with negative feelings when individuals encounter a setback. If we fail to meet goals (say an A+ in a test or a promotion at work), we may feel inadequate – that’s all we’re supposedly capable of after all, innately.
Having a growth mindset, on the other hand, means we view our failures as “development points” and can work on them to succeed.
Perhaps for readily apparent reasons, Mindset Theory often gets applied in learning contexts, both in academia for students and in workplace coaching, leadership, or professional development.
Why is a Growth Mindset Important?
Choosing to have a growth mindset vs fixed mindset can help you pursue long-term personal and professional growth. Where a fixed mindset can make you feel like you are in a “talent race” with those around you, a growth mindset can motivate you to collaborate in order to achieve success.
A growth mindset can also lead to more open-mindedness, which fosters the ability to learn new things.
Like Carol Dweck explained, people with a growth mindset tend to take on challenges and stretch themselves to accommodate them, often committing to lifelong learning that supports their success.
Develop a growth mindset
Did you know that learning – at any age – has a profound impact on the brain?
That’s what the growth mindset advocates: challenge yourself with something new, and your brain will form newer, stronger connections.
As Dweck herself will tell you, adopting a growth mindset is all about embracing the power of “yet”.
You don’t know something……yet.
You can’t do it……yet.
Even as an adult, you’re on a learning curve and your effort, focus and perseverance are what will help you continue to grow.
That thing you’ve been wanting to learn? Do it! That course you’ve wanted to take? Start it!
It’s never too late!
Growth Mindset Activities
Cultivating a growth mindset starts with you. While you can binge growth mindset TED Talks or read inspirational growth mindset quotes, we’re here to show you another approach. An approach that will help you create some epic experiences.
Activity #1: Introspection
Introspection is a great method when you’re engaging in growth mindset activities. Take the time to reflect on your triumphs and challenges.
One growth mindset activity to take part in is the rose, thorn, and bud technique.
🌹 Rose: This part highlights a positive event. It can consist of celebrating the small victories, successes, and appreciating the moments that went well.
💥 Thorn: This is a setback or anything negative that may have occurred. Thorns focus on challenges and roadblocks that may have hindered any work.
🌱 Bud: This area refers to something you’re looking forward to in the future. This is an opportunity to explore possible outcomes and apply new learnings.
This growth mindset activity gives you the opportunity to debrief and flush out any lingering thoughts that may be brewing in your mind.
Part of developing a growth mindset is reflecting and believing that your outcome isn’t end-all. This exercise can help you shift from a fixed to a growth mindset.
Growth mindset activities are about pushing the boundaries. With a growth mindset you start to understand you have control over your own destiny.
Activity #2: Find the positives
Another way to start implementing a growth mindset is by putting a positive spin onto any situation. Merely changing the language can shift your mentality. Repeating positive affirmations and thoughts will brighten your overall attitude.
Try repeating these phrases to yourself:
- I strive for progress, not perfection.
- When I don’t succeed, I try again.
- There is a way around this.
- I wonder what this experience is trying to teach me?
- I can learn from my mistakes.
- I haven’t figured it out yet.
- It’s OK to make mistakes.
- This is not a dead-end.
A growth mindset operates on the idea of reframing thoughts from negative to positive. It takes ownership of your results and decisions, so you can achieve your goals.
We challenge you to practice restructuring your thought process to help you seek out growth opportunities.
Growth mindset activities not only include mental power but physical power too. Look into mediating as you transition into a growth mindset.
Activity #3: Mindfulness
A growth mindset isn’t just mental, it also requires a bit of a physical shift. The mind and body go hand-in-hand when evolving into a growth mindset.
While there are many ways to develop a growth mindset, try engaging in mindfulness activities. This practice weeds out any interpretation or judgment and allows you to focus on the present moment.
Try mindfulness activities like these:
- Breathing exercises
- Laying down
As simple as these tasks are, they can have a profound effect on the mind. While you’re walking, listening to your breath, or clearing your mind, take the time to focus on the task at hand.
Bring awareness to your thoughts and surroundings. Pursuing mindfulness activities can bring you new experiences and perspectives to familiar situations.
Growth Mindset Activities – Final thought
The list of growth mindset activities is abundant. Out of them all, there is no superior method to develop a growth mindset. The key is to find the methods that work best for you.
So, adopt the attitude to experiment and see what you like. After all, trying these growth mindset activities will develop your mindset to begin with.
I would love to hear your thoughts on what you are doing to change your life in the coming days and years!
If you have any questions please reach out to me via email@example.com. I would love to hear from you!
I really hope you found inspiration in this article.
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