We have written a few posts about mindset change and while we’ve covered off a few examples, we’ve not really given a lot of advice as how to go about changing your mindset from fixed to growth.
Let’s change that.
Carol Dweck, psychologist and author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success offers her own slant on this, and to me it is a good place to start. In order to make the shift to a growth mindset way of thinking you first of all have to identify the problem with a fixed mindset, or more specifically why a growth mindset is causing you problems.
Learn to hear your fixed mindset ‘voice’.
As you approach a challenge, that voice might say to you “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.” “What if you fail—you’ll be a failure” “People will laugh at you for thinking you had talent.”
A fixed mindset voice is a naysayer, a party pooper, if you will. It’s important to realise as well that your fixed mindset voice is not just what you say to yourself, but also how you perceive what others say to you. Feedback can be pretty brutal to hear sometimes, but the trick is to recognise the opportunity in constructive feedback.
So you’ve come across a setback – what do you do now?
Make a decision.
You have a choice to either take things to heart and accept failure, or appreciate that maybe your skills do need polishing up, and use this as a basis to point you in the right direction.
Dweck suggests at this point you weigh up fixed mindset and growth mindset attitudes, for example (fixed mindset in blue):
Words by: Carol Dweck, Mindset Online
You don’t need to be a psychology professor to realise that the latter of both examples are a lot more positive, and on paper it looks like the obvious choice to make when up against a challenge – it can be a bit trickier to see past the here and now and offer yourself constructive advice.
How do you see past yourself?
I’m no expert, but I think you have to understand the importance of what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. You have to really believe it, which will make that leap of faith more of a leap of good judgement. If you go in with realistic expectations, being aware of your abilities as well as your shortcomings, you’ll understand the journey you need to take to reach your goals. This could mean learning new skills, asking advice from colleagues, or changing your strategy.
While the core responsibility is on you to take action, there is still a lot to be said for solid leadership – if you know that you did what you were asked to do, you will feel reassured and more willing to stretch yourself in the future.