Mindset: 5 Steps to Shift from A Fixed Mindset to A Growth Mindset19 Dec 2021
If you answered the question in the previous blog post and realised that you have a fixed mindset. Do Not Worry! Because according to Dweck’s research everyone has a fixed mindset at one time or another about one thing or another. And before your fixed mindset convinces you that this shift is difficult, note that her research also highlights that a growth mindset isn’t just about trying harder and harder. Instead, it’s also about working smarter.
This not only means that a fixed mindset is a common human experience, but it also implies that it can be changed. And so as promised, here are 5 ways to shift your fixed mindset to a growth one.
1. Cultivate Self Awareness
Self-awareness is key to a growth mindset. Providing regular opportunities to reflect and ask yourself questions about how effort, success and failure look like for you is pivotal. It is the first step towards identifying the situations that trigger a fixed mindset. Another important step is to acknowledge and embrace these triggers, as they arise, without blame.
One example is when you approach a new challenge and a voice within you starts saying things like “what if you fail?”, “Are you sure you have the talent to pull this off?”. When you hear that voice, listen and take notice.
2. Notice Negative, Fixed Mindset Self-Talk
This is your inner critic; the voice that undermines and judges you and your work. Once you realise that the terms your inner critic uses are fixed mindset terms e.g.: “fail”, “not good enough”…etc., you can anticipate and label it. This will minimise its effect on your decisions.
3. Recognize that You Have A Choice
Now how you interpret this voice is up to you. You can either look at it as a setback or an obstacle which suggests that your abilities are fixed or you can look at it as an opportunity to challenge yourself, tweak your strategy, step up your efforts and continue to grow.
Going back to the example, once you hear your inner critic instead of cowering under its questions, breathe, let the thoughts pass and then talk back. Use phrases like “Failure is merely finding out a way that doesn’t work. Challenges are opportunities in disguise. Effort is as valuable as talent.”
4. Talk Back with A Growth Oriented Voice
Building a growth mindset starts with replacing negative thoughts and words like “failing” with more action-oriented words like “learning.” Incorporate the word “yet” e.g.: instead of saying I can’t do this, add a “yet” at the end. “I can’t do this yet.” The more you train your brain to see things from the perspective of growth, the easier learning and applying becomes. Focus on the journey and value the process over the result e.g.: it doesn’t matter if you need to repeat something several times. Learning is more important than the speed of it.
So, when the fixed mindset says, “What if you fail?”, the growth mindset will respond “Most successful people had failures along the way.”
5. Take The Growth Mindset Action
Once you learn how to identify your fixed mindset voice and respond to it with your growth mindset one, you will then easily determine what needs to be done to continue to grow. Whether that means that you take on new challenges, step out of your comfort zone and/or ask for feedback to develop a better plan. It is also important that you remember to celebrate and praise effort and not traits.
In the above example, after the growth mindset voice refutes the fixed mindset one, the next step would be to take on the challenge and put in your best efforts.
Now that you know that a fixed mindset is not permanent and that the more you relinquish the fear and take on new skills, the weaker it becomes. What’s one thing you’ve always wanted to learn or change about yourself? Use the above steps and go make it happen.