It’s no surprise that work, discipline, and ambition will take you far. In fact, these might be the most critical characteristics behind the success of any venture.
However, there is still a missing piece of the puzzle… a growth mindset. It doesn’t matter how many productive hours you can put in. If you don’t believe in your ability to improve and grow with exposure to challenges, you’re capping your success.
A growth mindset is characterized by the psychologist Carol Dweck as the belief that the abilities you were born with are just a starting point. Thus, you can always get better, and you genuinely believe that. On the other hand, a fixed mindset is a belief that there is no way around the traits you were born with — if you struggle with concentration, you believe there’s nothing you can do about it.
You might not be conscious of it, but these beliefs — either behind a growth or fixed mindset — profoundly shape the way you learn, develop yourself, and reach your goals.
In the words of Carol Dweck, “Like those with the growth mindset, you believe you can develop yourself, then you’re open to accurate information about your current abilities, even if it’s unflattering. What’s more, if you’re oriented toward learning, you need accurate information about your current abilities in order to learn effectively.”
To be completely honest, I struggled to believe in my own abilities for a long time. And that was one of the key reasons I didn’t see progress. Rather than being confident in myself, I was confident I would not improve much, which literally undermined my ability to get where I wanted to.
It was only when I started cultivating a growth mindset that I became willing to experiment more, throw myself into new challenges, and learn the required skills to make progress.
How to Develop a Growth Mindset
In her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck goes through a couple of steps that will help you free yourself from a fixed mindset and transition into a growth one with time.
- Accept you have a fixed mindset: Unless you are able to recognize it, you won’t be able to change it.
- Find what makes your fixed mindset materialize: Perhaps it mostly appears when you take on a new challenge, you step outside your comfort zone, or when someone undermines your self-worth. It’s crucial to find out when your fixed mindset mostly appears.
- Name your fixed mindset: Having a name helps to recognize it. Come up with a funny or silly name for your fixed mindset persona, and don’t be afraid of identifying it when it’s visible.
- Confront your fixed mindset: Once you’re able to identify your fixed mindset, don’t let it rule you. Instead, have a conversation with it, and remind yourself of all the reasons why you will succeed, learn, and thrive.
With these four steps in mind, you can start taming your fixed mindset persona and embrace a growth mindset. This is not an overnight transformation, but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll see the results.
About the Author
Filipa Canelas is a productivity expert, course creator, and author of Around is Forward: The Productivity Cycle Behind Extraordinary Results. Filipa writes about productivity, skill acquisition, and performance on her website and reaches her email newsletter weekly at filipacanelas.com.
With her online courses, Filipa has taught more than 40,000 leaders, students, and entrepreneurs, from 140 countries to improve their performance while enjoying the process.
Filipa represented Portugal as the Ambassador of WAVE, a European NGO whose goal is to eliminate violence against women and children.