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Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
A growth mindset means that you are focused on learning and growth throughout your life. As opposed to a fixed mindset, where you think more about proving your innate capabilities to others. These terms come from Carol Dweck and her colleagues at Stanford, and elsewhere. In her research she has found that those who have a growth mindset are ultimately more successful. This is, in large part, because they are most resilient to setbacks.
Growth Mindsets Are Resilient to Setbacks
For example, take this video. If my goal here is to prove to you what a great speaker I an, I am, perfect. Because I was going to say, if I make a little mistake, an instead of am, if I have a fixed mindset I’m trying to prove how great I am as a speaker. I go, “Oh great I blew it, now this video is not going to be any good, let’s just cut it and start over.”
But if I have a growth mindset, I think I want to learn as much as I can about making videos that can help people thrive at work. Then any setback is a learning opportunity for me. If I stumble on my words maybe I can learn a new vocal warm-up that’ll help me be more eloquent and mangle my words a little less in the next video.
If my hair is a little funny, which it probably is knowing me, today, then when I watch this video later, instead of being like, “Oh, it’s terrible, my hair looks awful!” I can maybe spend a little more time on my hair before the next video. Growth mindsets set us up to deal positively with the inevitable setbacks in life.
Nurture Growth Mindsets
If you’re a parent out there, like I am, I happen to have two girls, four and eight right now. You have been told as a parent, likely, you’ve read something or been told, praise effort not accomplishment. That’s to nurture a growth mindset in our children, we want them to value the hard work not the innate talent they have.
You can do the same thing with yourself and others at work by emphasizing what you can learn, how you can grow through the work you are doing and the experiences you have. With a growth mindset you are more resilient to setbacks and you end up more successful in the long term.