A mindset for change

The concept of a growth mindset was first coined by Dr Carol S. Dweck in her 2006 classic book Mindset. It’s since been updated yet the message remains the same,

the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you live your life.’

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone - the fixed mindset - creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you only have a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character - then you’d better prove you have a health dose of them.

A growth mindset, in contrast, assumes an innate ability to evolve. That our brains and most tellingly, our potential, are not permanently defined.

This might not command your attention, like a random anecdote one might share at a dinner party when conversation has stalled, but it absolutely should.

Modern life is nothing if not fast paced. Even if you’ve incorporated mindfulness and slow principles into your day, work for most of us is demanding with varied challenges, steeped in ambiguity and complexity. Some of today’s most coveted skills like creativity, flexibility, resourcefulness, resilience and proactivity are particularly tough for those with a fixed mindset as these skills require open mindedness and an ease with adaptation.

We could say a growth mindset is the foundation for thriving in modern life.

So how do you know if you have more of a fixed mindset?

  • You’re likely to champion your intelligence and talent as the only factors that contribute to your success

  • You might find receiving feedback and the idea of failure particularly challenging tempting you to give up

  • You may use phrases like ‘I can’t…., I’m not good at…., I’ll never be…’

Before you do give up, the great news is that you and your mind are designed for growth even if you don’t believe it.

It’s about loosening those absolutes a little first and gradually you’ll shift.

A few reminders such as those below can get you started:

  • view challenges as opportunities

  • remember your brain can and does change throughout your life

  • prioritise learning over seeking approval

  • focus on the process rather than the end result

  • cultivate a sense of purpose

  • choose learning well over learning fast

  • reward effort and actions rather than traits

  • learn to give and receive constructive feedback

  • remember that learning takes time

My absolute favourite though is the power of yet. Adding a ‘yet’ to the end of much of your inner dialogue will create the space for learning and growth in your mind.

I can’t deal with disappointment, YET.

I don’t know how to use Excel, YET.

I’m not good at giving feedback, YET.

Try it out for yourself, experiment with a few of the absolutes you hear yourself using and test out a YET and see how it feels.

Let me know how you go…

Happy trails,

R x

Rebecca Mutch