Challenger or Challenged? – 11 Ways to Adopt a Growth Mindset

Challenger or Challenged? – 11 Ways to Adopt a Growth Mindset

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

Some people are immensely successful and others are constantly stuck in a rut! What sets these two types of people apart? It’s probably their mindsets. Yes, a person’s circumstances can affect their life in the present moment, but while the beginnings of our stories are out of our control, the endings are not. Psychologist, Carol S. Dweck understood this when she coined the terms ‘Growth Mindset’ & ‘Fixed Mindset’.

What’s The Difference?

In her book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’, Carol S. Dwerk describes a fixed mindset like this, “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 — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look deficient in these most basic characteristics.”

On the other hand she says of a growth mindset that, “In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and exercise.”

Mindset in Sri Lanka

The great Henry Ford once said, ‘Whether you think you can or that you can’t, you are usually right.’ And that is exactly what is holding most of us back. We think that ‘we can’t’ or ‘may not be able to’ and so we never realize our dreams. Many of us still believe that success should be won without effort, that we’re either born with natural abilities and talents or not. We tend to place all emphasis on outcome and fear failure and put our children through hell, especially as far as school life and academics are concerned. Because the fixed mindset is so widely entrenched in Sri Lankan society, we are afraid to take risks and experience personal growth. But this is now changing.

More and more people in Sri Lanka are opening up to the idea of the growth mindset, particularly amongst young people. Their exposure to digital media and information is greatly contributing towards this. Having a growth mindset means that you understand that you have to work hard to succeed and you put process over outcome. Even if your endeavour is not successful at first, you can learn and try again, differently. People with a growth mindset are open to new things, taking risks and learning something new. They’re open to personal growth.

How Mindset Can Affect You

When you face challenges in life, your mindset will ensure your victory or defeat. Fixed mindset people will avoid challenges as they think they’re not talented or smart. They give up easily and in doing so, fail. To them, failure is the limit of their abilities. For the growth mindset individual, challenges excite them. Problems are opportunities and they know that challenges lead to personal growth through learning. The growth mindset mantra is ‘never stop learning’. Thus, a growth mindset will keep you going until you succeed.

Examples of the growth mindset are everywhere. Almost every successful person has this mindset and their success is a result of personal growth. All the great sportspeople and entrepreneurs share this trait, Michael Jordan, Richard Branson, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and yes, even Donald Trump!

11 Ways to Adopt a Growth Mindset

If you think that it may not be possible to adopt a growth mindset, you’re in a fixed mindset. The growth mindset is simply behaviours and ways of thinking that can be learned. Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  1. Be Realistic – You probably won’t get it right the first time. But you should keep learning and keep going. Think about how you learned to talk, walk, and ride a bike… You may fall off a few times, but if you get up and keep going, eventually you’ll be a pro.
  2. Set Goals – Small and numerous goals are better than a few big ones or worse, none at all. Break dreams into small goals, daily goals even if possible. Revise these often.
  3. Reward Yourself – Every time you accomplish something, reward yourself. Small, frequent rewards are proven to be better than big ones.
  4. Know Your Weaknesses – To become better at something, you have to first accept that you’re not so great at it.
  5. Failure Isn’t the End – It’s merely a stop en-route to success.
  6. Be Open To Doing Something Differently – If something doesn’t work one way, try another. What works for others may not work for you and vice versa.
  7. Learn From Other’s Mistakes – It’s the cheapest and most effective way to learn lessons.
  8. Change Perspective – Challenges and problems are opportunities, not the end of the road.
  9. Be Willing to Give it Time – It takes 18 years to grow into an adult, 7 years to become a doctor; Success takes time.
  10. Reflect – Take time to look at what is working and what isn’t and how you can make what isn’t working, work. For this, meditation is a great practice to take up.
  11. Get Excited About Personal Growth – If you’re excited about it, you’re more likely to take on the challenges necessary to grow as a person.

The most important thing however is that you start! Start to live your life and make your dreams come true. Remember that small incremental progress adds to massive gains over time. Take every opportunity to grow and become all that you can be. Take life one day at a time and be the best you can be, every day.

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