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The Power of Cultivating a Growth Mindset

In the grand theatre of life and career, your mindset plays the starring role in shaping your journey, achievements, and fulfilment. As popularised by psychologist Carol S. Dweck in her groundbreaking work, the concept of a Growth Mindset reveals the transformative Power of our beliefs about learning and intelligence. Unlike a Fixed Mindset, where abilities are viewed as innate and immutable, a growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and stretching our existing abilities.


The Battle of Mindsets: Fixed vs. Growth

Imagine two individuals starting on similar paths. One, cloaked in a fixed mindset, views talent as a finite resource — either you have it or you don’t. Challenges intimidate them, the effort is a sign of inadequacy, and criticism is taken personally. The other, radiating a growth mindset, believes skills and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. They embrace challenges, persist through obstacles, learn from criticism, and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.

I know you wish to ask – what is the difference? The latter individual lives in a world of possibilities, where each day promises growth, learning, and resilience. The former, meanwhile, navigates a constricting universe where opportunities are missed because they’re viewed through the lens of limitation.

We have all been there and often tell ourselves we have a growth mindset. Can one be in this state every day of every month?

Learning from the Giants

The work of Dweck and others in this field doesn’t just enlighten; it empowers. It shows us that the path to unlocking our potential is within our grasp. This philosophy is echoed by luminaries across various fields. Consider Albert Einstein, whose failures in early life didn’t deter his curiosity and dedication, leading him to remark,

“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”

His persistence in the face of setbacks is a testament to a growth mindset.

Tips for Cultivating a Growth Mindset

Let me entice you with a few tips to ensure you adopt a Growth Mindset.

Start To Embrace Challenges: Do you view challenges as opportunities to extend your abilities rather than insurmountable obstacles? Consider saying yes instead of a quick no when you hear of something new to you or exceeds your skillset. Is this not what growth is all about? Trialling new things and considering whether they are for you.

Persist in the Face of Setbacks: When faced with difficulties, remember that most achievements require overcoming setbacks. Is this not what our famous inventors and scientists have done for years before they found success? If they gave up at the first hurdle, we would never have electricity, light bulbs or even the vacuum cleaner.

Value Effort: Take steps toward understanding that effort is necessary for mastery. It’s not about immediate perfection but about gradual improvement. Effort is required to produce action, and action creates results.

Learn from Criticism: Constructive criticism is a gift. It provides you with an outsider’s perspective and an opportunity to grow. This is feedback, and when it comes from someone you trust, it becomes monumental in reducing the size of your blind spot and allowing you to grow further. Johari’s window demonstrates this point well.

Celebrate Growth in Others: By celebrating the success and growth of others, you foster an environment of learning and inspiration, further nurturing your growth mindset. Have you noticed what it’s like when working in an environment where no one wishes to move forward but wants to complete the day’s work and leave? Now, consider working in an environment where you are given time to pursue your ideas and interests, and you start producing benefits for yourself and your organisation. This becomes an environment of growth, productivity escalates, and that feel-good factor is shared with all.

Use the Power of “Yet”: Adding “yet” to statements of inability transforms them into reminders of potential and progress. Not “I can’t do this,” but “I can’t do this, yet.”  This is one of my favourite tips! Try adopting it and see how this small step starts changing your mindset slowly but then with significant effect.

 Bringing It to Life

Cultivating a growth mindset is not just about embracing an abstract concept; it’s about making a conscious daily choice. It’s deciding to face challenges with courage, to continue pushing when things get tough, and to embrace the lifelong journey of learning and self-improvement. When you start incorporating these tips into your daily life and work, doors will open, opportunities will present themselves, and your potential will unfold in ways you never imagined. The journey from a fixed to a growth mindset is transformative, filled with the excitement of discovery and the joy of achieving what once seemed impossible.

As you embark on this journey, remember that the most significant limitations are those we place on ourselves. By choosing a growth mindset, you’re not just aiming for success in your personal and professional life; you’re setting the stage for a life lived to the fullest, rich with learning and growth.

Unleash your potential, embrace the growth mindset, and watch your world expand. The journey is not always easy, but it is infinitely rewarding. Let’s grow together!

Dr Tisha Patel

Executive Career and Productivity Coach, NHS GP and Wellness Practitioner

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