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What is a Growth Mindset?

Updated: Feb 12, 2022

Is it possible to change how intelligent, successful, inspiring, strong you are?

You may not be aware of it, but there is a wealth of scientific research suggesting that it IS possible to make these changes - and the starting point is learning to operate from a Growth Mindset. Perhaps you have heard the term Growth Mindset used by people in many different areas of life - athletes, business people, teachers, healers. But what does it actually mean?

The term Growth Mindset was first coined by Carol Dweck, who carried out many years of research into how people learn. She discovered something amazing. The way we think about learning can change the way we do it. Some people believe that skills or intelligence are something that you are born with, and that you can’t really change them. I must admit, I used to be one of those people!

The idea that you can’t do something (‘I’m just not cut out to be a leader’) or maybe don’t need to do something (‘I’m a natural at this, I don’t need to work at it’) is typical of what is known as a ‘Fixed Mindset’. This mindset leads to self-limiting beliefs about what we can and can’t do, and leads us to presuppose that there are things we will never be able to do. We all operate from this mindset sometimes. But there is another way our brains can operate: from a Growth Mindset.

When we operate from a Growth Mindset, we believe that we can build our skills, and it can change our ability to learn and grow. Why? Well, it’s quite straightforward really.

BELIEF leads to ACTION, which leads to GROWTH.

If I believe I am able to do something, I am more likely to actually take action and try to do it, and it is only by trying and practicing a new skill that I will learn and grow.

When we have a Fixed Mindset we just don’t believe we can do things (‘I’m no good at maths’, ‘I’m rubbish at art’, ‘I can’t stop smoking’, ‘I’m no good at making new friends’). And when we think we can’t do something, we probably don’t even try.

When we have a Growth Mindset, we believe things are possible. So we are more likely to try. More likely to put in the work and the practice. Less likely to be put off by failures or difficulties. And therefore, more likely to get better at something over time. Putting it in a nutshell, a Growth Mindset sets us up for success.

A Growth Mindset isn’t a magic pill - we still have to work at things to get good at them - but it opens up a world of possibilities and stops us allowing our thoughts to limit us and stop us living our best lives.

So the next question is: how do we build a Growth Mindset? More about that next time…….

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