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The Psychology of Success: What Does It Mean to Have a Growth Mindset?

According to research done by Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, people either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. 

These terms refer to how we grow and learn as people. When it comes to these different types of mindset, learning whether you have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset can help you to determine how to close any gaps in your learning style, so you can achieve more success. 

Someone who has a fixed mindset believes their underlying qualities—including intelligence—are fixed and cannot be changed. Those with fixed mindsets document what they already know. 

So, what is a growth mindset? And is it better for achieving success?

What Is a Growth Mindset?

As you might expect, someone with a growth mindset tends to think in terms of how they can grow and learn more—in direct opposition to a fixed mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset might say they simply can’t dance. Someone with a growth mindset might say they can learn to dance by practicing and getting better over time. 

What does that mean in terms of life success? 

It means constant growth, individually and communally. Almost everything someone with a fixed mind looks at is an opportunity to grow. That includes failure, challenges, and even negative or constructive feedback. 

Where someone with a fixed mindset considers failure to be the end of what they can do, someone with a growth mindset will accept it as something they can work harder to fix next time. 

What Are the Characteristics of Someone With a Growth Mindset? 

The most basic trait of someone with a growth mindset is just that—the desire and ability to constantly learn and grow. But, people with this type of mindset typically have other characteristics that go along with it. 

Someone with a growth mindset is often: 

  • Resilient
  • Ambitious
  • Collaborative
  • Determined
  • Creative
  • Optimistic

Now, consider how those characteristics might help a student in school, or how they might come across in a job interview. Consider how they might push you toward greater success. 

Those with a growth mindset are inspired by the success of others, and they also inspire those around them to keep going, to work harder, and to find more solutions. 

Can You Develop a Mindset?

A fixed mindset means more limitations. Obviously, that isn’t going to work as well when it comes to achieving success. 

Thankfully, you can shift your way of thinking and develop a growth mindset over time. Beliefs can be changed. You can start to believe more in yourself and your abilities. When you’re able to do that, you can change other ways of thinking, until you become more excited by challenges and failures than feeling limited by them. 

Start by viewing failure differently. Instead of considering that it might be the “end’ of what you can do, use it as a time of reflection. 

Failure isn’t who you are. It gives you the opportunity to try something different next time. You learn from it. Some of the most successful people in history, including Walt Disney and Steve Jobs, had monumental failures throughout their careers and, yet, remain household names today. 

When you start to see failure as an opportunity, you can change your way of thinking overall. Try to become more self-aware of your skills, talents, and who you really are. The more you recognize your own skills, the more likely you are to put them to use and try to grow them, rather than settling for something less. 

Fight back against challenges with your skills and they will continue to grow!

If you want to learn more about a growth mindset and what it can really do for you or your child, feel free to contact us for more information. It’s the perfect way to start the New Year!!

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