Mindset matters. How you perceive the world – and yourself, shapes every aspect of our lives, from leadership to love.

Fixed vs growth mindset, how you think and what you believe will hugely impact how you approach day-to-day. Whether it be a conscious or unconscious decision, how you choose to interpret your experiences can set boundaries upon what you accomplish.

In today’s article, we’ll be taking you through the key steps you need to know to shift your focus and reshape your path, enabling you to attract success and overcome failures.

What do we mean by a fixed vs growth mindset?

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve” – Debbie Millman

Simply put, what you believe is what you achieve. Science once told us that the human brain stops developing after childhood, however, we now know that the brain is constantly evolving and changing! Many parts of the brain respond to experiences and our ‘software’ can be updated through learning.

After extensive research by Dweck, two main categories were identified describing how people think about intelligence and ability: fixed and growth. People with a fixed or static mindset typically believe that their level of intelligence and abilities are innate. They have no desire to ‘look dumb’ by tackling a new challenge or learning a new skill. In other words, they are limiting themselves from progressing. Whilst people with a growth mindset understand that not knowing or being ‘good’ at something can be a temporary state – they aren’t ashamed of being perceived as learning.

In essence, people with a growth mindset believe their intelligence and talents can be improved through effort and actions. They recognise that there may be setbacks but can bounce back from these, and acknowledge that ‘failures’ are necessary for growth.

Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?

Whilst this isn’t completely black and white, the majority of us will tend to lean a certain way. It’s fairly straightforward to figure out which mindset you have and by doing so, you can recognise new areas of improvement to move forward with.

It’s a matter of looking at some of your core guiding beliefs, especially when presented with challenges in life. So, let’s look at the fixed vs growth mindset concepts to help you identify which category you currently fall into…

People with a fixed mindset:

  • Runaway from challenges because they don’t believe they are good enough
  • Quit when the going gets tough
  • Seek reward for accomplishments
  • Take rejection personally and weave this into a story of failure and limitation
  • Consider themselves realists and think dreaming big is childish
  • Believe they are defined by factors outside their control (e.g. genes, family)

People with a growth mindset, however:

  • Rise up to meet challenges head-on and keep trying even when they feel pressured
  • Often try even harder when they face an issue
  • Don’t seek external validation
  • Don’t take rejection personality and cultivate a personal story of opportunity and growth
  • Consider themselves optimists and are always dreaming big
  • Believe their heart and spirit guides their future course and are not limited by external factors

Many of us will likely have periods in which we develop this growth mindset, but ultimately we end up falling back into limiting beliefs and habits. It’s constantly shifting! We often fall back into the fixed mindset to failures and hard situations are a reason to give up or go back to what we’re used to. But, there is a way to change that.

What are the benefits of a growth mindset?

There are stark differences between the fixed vs growth mindset concepts, as you can probably guess. But a growth mindset is more than just having a ‘positive outlook’ – in fact, sometimes it isn’t even about that, it’s more about work, purpose and drive. Adopting this mindset has a variety of benefits, from motivation to performance.

  • Enjoy life, even when you’re not good at it!
  • Improve your self-esteem and self-insight
  • Improve your relationships
  • Never feel ‘stupid’ when learning
  • Eliminate the stress of trying to be perfect
  • Lower your risk of depression and anxiety
  • See setbacks as useful opportunities for development
  • Enjoy putting in time and effort, rather than fearing them
  • Avoid feelings of superiority
  • Reduce the likelihood of burnout
  • Improve performance (e.g. higher grades)

It’s clear to see just how effective this mindset shift can be and it’s essential you adopt this when going forward, whether it be professionally or personally. Of course, this doesn’t guarantee success (remember it’s not magic!) but it will certainly open up further opportunities and allow you to live a much richer and fulfilled life.

fixed vs growth mindset

How can you curate a long-term growth mindset?

#1 Reflect

Take time to step back; recognise, reflect and embrace all of your failures. This is key to moving forward! Becoming aware of your weaknesses is the stepping stone to cultivating a growth mindset as it enables you to see where potential improvements lie. Sweeping your weaknesses under the rug will only inhibit your ability to thrive.

#2 Find your purpose

Many of us go through the daily notion of life, giving little thought to the tasks we complete. It can seem meaningless and as a result, unmotivating. You need to identify what your priorities are in life and find purpose through these.

Once you have hold of this purpose, let it lead your actions. Remember, you’ve got to put in the work to remain on track.

#3 Take on challenges

Part of developing a growth mindset is shattering the negative perception associated with a challenge. Embrace challenges and welcome them as fruitful learning experiences rather than something to run from. Remember: “The greatest mistake you can make in life is to be continually fearing you will make a mistake” – Elbert Hubbard.

#4 Incorporate ‘yet’

Yet – it’s a simple piece of vocab that has the ability to transform your outlook. It signals that any struggle you face, you’ll overcome. It’s just a matter of time and effort! This may not seem like a big change, but by incorporating ‘yet’ into your daily tasks will see your mindset shift from fixed to growth.

#5 Write down your goals

Those with a growth mindset are aware that once one goal is accomplished, they should have others lined up to pursue. Create clear, realistic goals aligned with your passions and purpose. And, be sure to give yourself enough time to conquer them thoroughly. Remember the SMART formula!

#6 Ask for constructive feedback

People with a growth mindset proactively ask for feedback from peers, friends and leadership. They want to find lessons, learn from mistakes and place effort into skills that will help them in the long run. It’s important to not take constructive feedback to heart, holding on only to the negative element.

#7 Practice mindfulness

You don’t need to spend hours meditating! But a short mediation session, walking, or even stretching allows you to focus on the present moment, reflect on your surroundings, and brings clarity to a cloudy mind – bring positivity into your life. Mental and physical activities are another element of the growth mindset often overlooked but of vital importance.

#8 Appreciate the journey

It’s about the journey, not the destination.

You need to see the value of the journey to adopt a growth mindset. When you are fixated on the outcome, you miss out on valuable learning opportunities that can improve your professional development overall. Appreciate where you are currently and each stage that sees you move towards your overall goal – be driven by the process, not the results.

We can clearly see from this fixed vs growth mindset exploration, that adopting this latter mindset it crucial to successful future development whether it be professionally or personally. You can use this attitude to transform any aspect of your life. It can be difficult, but it’s certainly worthwhile challenging yourself to break limiting habits that hold you back from reaching your goals, whatever they may.

Are you stuck in a fixed mindset and limiting yourself? Speak to one of our dedicated Azimuth experts today by contacting us at enquiries@azimuth.eu.com or call +44 (0)1483 24 33 81. We’ll be more than happy to discuss how we can help you and with over 20 years of experience across a range of industries, we have the innovative, proven tools that can help you unlock the true potential of yourself – and your business. What are you waiting for?

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