Lately, I have heard a lot of talk of having a growth mindset versus having a fixed mindset. However, for those of you who have not heard anything regarding the growth mindset, in an article I read on mindsethealth.com, Dr. Carol Dweck describes two main ways people think about intelligence. The article states that most people believe that their intelligence is fixed and static and therefore believe that we have a fixed mindset. In contrast, other people believe that human intelligence and talent can be improved through effort and learning, showing the validity of a growth mindset.
According to Dr. Dweck, having a growth mindset leads to embracing flaws and mistakes as opportunities for growth, accepting setbacks as part of the learning process, and feeling empowered to reach goals. While having a fixed mindset leads to hiding flaws and mistakes, feeling ashamed about failures, giving up quickly, and being unmotivated to strive or achieve goals.
Which mindset do you believe you have? Are you more likely to embrace change? Or are you more likely to avoid challenges that may lead to failure? What happens if you are a little of both? Another question is, what happens if you believe in one way and eventually realize you need to change your mindset? Will you be able to change?
These are just a few questions I had to ask myself during our recent zoom call. In my mind, it was an obvious choice. I wanted to have a “growth mindset.” After all, I believe in lifelong learning. I think that failure is just a temporary setback or an opportunity to learn something new. Yes, it sounds awesome. A growth mindset is what I have, and that seems to be the better of the two. Well, little did I know that when I started thinking deeply about it, I realized that I had been living with a fixed mindset.
A perfect example was when I bought my child a workbook on the “Growth Mindset” during the lockdowns brought on by the Pandemic. Was I in that growth mindset frame of thought? Well, not exactly. Handing my son a workbook and telling him to go ahead and work on this is not exactly how a person with a growth mindset operates. Yes, I took the initiative but did I follow through with the process and believe what I was telling him? Did I put myself in a position for me to grow? All I did was pass a good intention while still holding on to the fear of failure or setback. I knew it was vital for him to embrace the growth mindset philosophy, but why was I unwilling to do that myself? I feared failure.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s just not that you get to decide which one you are, and then you move on. You have to start thinking about how a growth mindset or a fixed mindset affects the decisions you make in your day-to-day life or daily activities.