A growth mindset statement:
Instead of saying 'I am not a spreadsheet person' add 'yet' to the end of the sentences.
A fixed mindset statement:
'That's okay. maybe Microsoft excel isn't my strong suit.'
What is a growth mindset?
1. Growth mindset is about having a 'learning and growing' mentality (attitude).
This idea was popularized by psychology professor Carol Dweck in her book by the same name.
People with a growth mindset tend to resilient, don't get deterred by setbacks, take them as 'wake up call', learn from them and keep moving forward.
As Carol Dweck puts it, growth mindset is 'the power of believing that you can improve.'
2. People with a growth mindset think they can improve their skills and knowledge, if they work hard enough, use smart/proven strategies and taking help from others/experts when needed.
There is no 'ego' involved. Growth-minded people keep their minds busy with their 'continuously chipping away' attitude.
3. People with growth mindset consider the very act of trying to improve as a sign of personal success.
What is a fixed mindset?
4. People with a 'fixed mindset' are preoccupied with the surface-level/superficial stuff.
They think talent/skill is something people are born with. They think life is a race, and even if you don't have talent, you can use whatever means to 'get ahead', which to them means 'seen as better' by others.
People with a fixed mindset are 'fixated' on validation from others.
5. People with fixed mindset want to be seen as 'superior/significant'.
Maybe it is a self-esteem thing. Maybe it is not being 'self aware' at all. Or, maybe it is because of the environment they were brought up in/move around. Whatever it is, 'moving ahead' for fixed mindset people means becoming important, not learning and solving and forging on.
6. People with a fixed mindset dread setbacks.
They think they will be labeled as 'failures', that their peers and seniors will 'look down' upon them.
Think of 'fixed mindset' as 'Hollywood pedestal mindset'
You want to be 'seen as someone' - as a good person, as a good spouse, as a good employee, as a good student, and so on - not thinking that all this is a product of doing good things and keep improving because it is a process. One does not just stop doing good work, once someone gets 'employee of the month' award.
Things to remember about growth/fixed mindsets
7. 'Everyone is actually a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets, and that mixture continually evolves with experience.'
- Carol Dweck
Thus, there is a no such thing as a 'pure' growth mindset or a 'pure' fixed mindset. It is a misconception. It depends on how much you are willing to learn and progress, at any given moment in your life.
8. Growth mindset is about learning, and willingness to learn and improve.
Many people confuse it with being open-minded, flexible and/or positive thinking. These qualities no doubt help us learn better though.
9. Growth mindset doesn't mean you do the effort and that's that.
There must be some outcome, which will either satisfy or disappoint you. In either case, having a growth mindset means taking your learnings. Don't forget about the job once you have done the effort.
10. Growth mindset is not just some new fancy slogan.
You just can't say you are all for growth mindset. You have to back it up with being willing to take risks, to learn, to take charge, to innovate, and so on. All this requires being okay with failures too.
11. Fixed mindset is easy to get into, growth mindset not so easy.
Our competitive working environment, where comparisons and criticisms are common, we tend to get into defensive mode easily, becoming more concerned with what others perceive us that improving our quality of work.
Growth mindset is boosted along by a culture of collaboration, which is often the first casualty in a dog-eat-dog working environment.
12. To give growth mindset a chance, we have to accept the fixed mindset inside us.
Everyone has their unique set of experiences and fears, which get us into particular habits and behaviors. But, as we have repeatedly observed in this guide, 'acknowledgment is first step in dealing with a problem'.
Once we know our thought patterns, our self talk, we are getting in mood to change.
We have to acknowledge the fixed mindset example inside us, and know when they come to fore often, and then we can try to instill growth mindset qualities - 'stop being seen as good, and just start to do some good.'
If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve.
- Debbie Millman
Thank you for reading.
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