A growth mindset is the belief that you can learn, change and improve with time and effort.
People who have a growth mindset build up the strength to overcome challenges instead of giving up because they think they just don’t have what it takes to succeed. They aren’t scared of failure because they know failure helps them get one step closer to where they want to be.
Now, the opposite of a growth mindset is something called a fixed mindset. People who have a fixed mindset believe that success (or failure) is a result of permanent qualities, circumstances and character traits that they don’t have the power to change. It’s possible that Eeyore is their spirit animal.
Whether they realize it or not, they believe they were born with certain characteristics—like intelligence, shyness, talent or a hot temper—with no way to improve or adjust. They live their life making decisions based on those beliefs, which can really hold them back in the long run. With a fixed mindset, pessimism always wins.
Here are some examples of a growth mindset vs. a fixed mindset:
- Fixed: “I’ll never learn how to do this. I’m not smart.”
- Growth: “I might not know how to do this now, but I’m going to read up on it and figure it out.”
- Fixed: “I don’t have to prep for this job interview. I’m good at marketing, so they’ll give me the job.”
- Growth: “I’m going to spend time preparing and give it my all, so even if I don’t get hired, I’ll know I did my best.”
See the difference? This mindset thing is something we all have to work on. No one’s going to get it right all the time. But now that we know what it means, let’s break down some practical steps you can take to start developing a growth mindset.
How To Develop A Growth Mindset
Readdress Harmful Thoughts
If you notice yourself getting stuck in a fixed mindset about something, pause and take a second to reword that thought or statement. The word yet can really help with this. You could say, “I’m not married yet,” or “I’m not debt-free yet.”
There are a lot of brainy, science-y facts that go along with this, like how taking control of your thoughts changes the cells in your brain and stuff like that. Ain’t nobody got time to go into all that, but the studies are out there if you want to read them. Basically, the most important thing to know is that you really can train your brain to think differently if you put in the effort, and it’ll get easier and easier as time goes on.
Failing Is Okay
Yeah, I know. It sounds weird. Why the heck would you want to fail more?
For this simple reason: If you fail 10 times, you’ll get 10 times better. That’s the game. Because the ones who quit after they’ve failed aren’t around anymore to compete! Seth Godin sums it up perfectly: “The person who fails the most wins.”
It takes a whole lot of suck to get good at playing the guitar, designing, writing, cooking. And over time, you suck less and less and less . . . until one day you’re an overnight success. Try. Fail. Repeat.