Feeling stagnant? You’re not alone. Even the most successful people feel stuck sometimes. However, what sets them apart from the rest is their ability to lean into a growth mindset.
What is a growth mindset, you ask? Exactly what it sounds like! It’s the idea that the skills you have (or don’t have) aren’t permanent, and your abilities can improve with determination. So, when Benjamin Franklin said, “You can do anything you set your mind to,” he wasn’t kidding!
The opposite of a growth mindset is what we call a fixed mindset, and (*spoiler alert*) nobody wants this. With a fixed mindset, you have the notion that your skills are what they currently and they’ll never change, no matter what. Even if you usually lean toward a growth mindset, it’s easy to fall into the trap of a fixed mindset when things get tough.
Let’s take some time to work on your mentality. It’s not something you’ll develop in a day, but with a few simple changes, you’ll be well on your way to a growth mindset in no time!
Failure is an opportunity.
So, you failed. Maybe you didn’t get a promotion, you totally bombed a presentation, or your project didn’t go according to plan. Right now, it feels like the world is ending and everything is awful. In this moment, you have two options:
- Option #1: Curl up into a ball of shame and vow to never try anything outside of your comfort zone ever again.
- Option #2: Take this as a lesson. Absorb what did and didn’t work so you can improve for the future. (Hint: This is the correct answer.)
Nobody succeeds at everything they set their mind to. But the beautiful thing is that when all is said and done, failure leaves you with more information than you had previously. Instead of saying, “Why is this happening to me?”, try reframing your mindset and asking, “What is this teaching me?” A growth mindset is all about taking the lesson from a situation and using it to do better next time.
You can do hard things.
Change is hard. Challenges are hard. It’s a whole lot easier to do what we’ve always done, which is why people stay in toxic friendships, jobs they hate, and so on. But do you think someone with a growth mindset would shy away from something new just because it’s difficult? Not a chance!
With a growth mindset, you challenge yourself to push your own boundaries. Because at the end of the day, if you can’t do that, how will you ever know how far you can go? Take this as your sign to have that difficult conversation you’ve been putting off, start that side business you keep thinking about, invite that coworker to lunch. Whatever it is that you’re on the fence about, do it. Exposing ourselves to new experiences is the only way we grow!
Emphasis on effort.
Would you rather be the most talented person in the room, or the hardest worker? If we’re going by the research, effort beats skill every time! In fact, one study involving students found that those who were praised for intelligence developed a fixed mindset. On the other hand, those who were praised for their effort developed a growth mindset. Those with a growth mindset were clearly linked with greater success … but come on, does that really surprise you?
We all have unique talents (and if you’re not sure what yours are, check out our post!). But what is talent worth if we’re not willing to pair it with hard work? Realize that there’s always room for improvement … and then, put in the effort to get better!
If you’re reading this post and realizing that you’ve been stuck in a fixed mindset, it’s not the end of the world. Our brains are incredible and, as such, it’s possible to shift from one mindset to another. It just takes some patience, focus, and yes, a little bit of effort. 😉