I came across this concept of a “Growth Mind Set” a few weeks ago and thought it was a fascinating topic that I do not hear many people talk about in this fashion. And because I always aim to share what I deem interesting, I wanted to share this one with you and talk about building a growth mind set and how we can use it to our advantage.
What is a Growth Mind Set?
As always, let’s start with the basics. What is a growth a mind set? You may know, but I certainly did not when I started out on this journey. The concept of a growth mind set was set by psychologist Carol Dweck. According to Dweck, a growth mind set allows you to believe that you can gain knowledge and skills on any situation that you need in order to succeed. Every challenge is seen as a learning and growing opportunity. The view of a growth mind set creates a vessel for learning, development, and intelligence, and also builds resilience at the same time.
What is the Opposite to a Growth Mind Set?
The opposite end of a growth mind set (and I am including this here so that you have heard it before), is a fixed mind set. In a fixed mindset, people believe that they are already “bad” or not good at something, rather than developing or inherently having the driving force to learn. For a fixed mind set person, building resilience is nearly impossible or can be catastrophic, because they see no way of improvement for themselves.
How Can We Use a Growth Mind Set To Our Advantage?
So, why is a growth mindest beneficial to us?
Neuroplasticity is your brain’s ability to adapt and reorganise itself in relation to new experiences, information, and developments. Neuroplasticity is strongest in small children, who’s brain develops and learns almost every day something new. Their ability to adapt and try until they know something is a natural part of their life. Persistence and resilience are super important here.
As adults, we do not tend use our ability with regards to neuroplasticity as much any more. Because we already know how to walk and talk. We tend to have fewer situations where we are allowed to learn something new. But by putting yourself into new situations and learning, you are increasing your neuroplasticity.
Learning new skills, when applying a growth mindset, allows you to improve and progress without feeling restrained, held back, or stuck. If relevant, you are willing to learn even if certain things are uncomfortable simply because you see the final outlook. The more you practice this mindset, the more it can lead to motivation. This will naturally produce great outcomes.
Studies have shown that people with a growth mindset tend to have better self-esteem than those with a fixed mindset. This is mainly due because they experience setbacks as learning and growing opportunities, rather than “failure”. Usually, this approach also means that you feel more confident in general, which is also a nice little side-benefit.
Stress is, naturally, a part of our life. Obviously, no one wants to be chronically stressed. We discuss a lot and often on the blog how challenging that can be for our bodies. But certain types of stressors can be used to our advantage, if we approach them with a growth mind set. If we view stress as an opportunity that our adrenaline and nervous system is heightened, which also can bring clarity and focus if channeled correctly, it can allow us to meet a challenge that we are currently facing. Stress can be seen as productive in order to complete actions. It can also mean that you are building resilience, because you know you are getting through a stress surge. This is as opposed to completely feeling like you are drowning in it.
With a growth mindset, according to a study you are more likely to actively seek constructive feedback, accept it, and implement it because it allows you to… wait for it… grow. This trait will likely allow you to learn better, faster, and in the long run also perform better.
Building a Growth Mindset
Now that we have learned why it is so advantageous to have a growth mindest, let’s explore some avenues as to how we can go about building a growth mindset:
- Learning a new hobby – how about a musical instrument or learning a new language?
- Saying “yes” to new opportunities, even if they feel uncomfortable or may look particularly challenging
- Ask for feedback and see whether there are learning lessons you can grow from
- Do not limit your mind by telling yourself I cannot do this or I know I will never be able to X
I hope you found this topic as interesting and fun as I did and learned something new about building a growth mindset. This topic can propel you forward in more than one way and all of them are fascinating! Let me know a thing that you. Beautiful cover photo by Ales Maze on Unsplash.