Adopt a Growth Mindset to Be, Do, and Have Everything You Want

April 16, 2024 Eric Hinkle

"Whether you think you Can or you think you Can’t,
either way you’re right."
 — Henry Ford

Your past is fixed. But your future doesn't have to be. Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck coined the term "Growth Mindset" while exploring this idea. A growth mindset is the belief that your abilities and intelligence can be developed through effort and learning. People with a fixed mindset however don't believe they can change. They mistakenly believe we're stuck with what we were born with.

  • Our minds are constantly monitoring and interpreting new information.
  • Our mindset, either growth or fixed, frames that whole process.

A fixed mindset judges that information. Something good gets a positive label. Something bad gets a negative label. Like, this means I’m a loser. This means I’m better than them. Or this means I’m bad.

A growth mindset, on the other hand, focuses on how to use that information to learn and take constructive action. For example, What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my partner do this better? A growth mindset will help you reach your potential, whatever that is.

But isn’t "growth" just another name for positivity or optimism?

No. That would be more a case of fixed positivity, which can cause "ostrich syndrome" where you avoid negative information that might help you adjust your course of action. Instead of dealing with the reality of the situation, we abdicate our personal responsibility and hope for the best. This is where many people will use affirmations to maintain an artificial, positive mindset.

The growth mindset is all about how to understand and overcome challenging situations. It might take a healthy dose of optimism to stick with your plan during tough times. But if you have a growth mindset and the facts tell you that you're off course, you will turn. 

What is your (current) mindset?

❌ I'm either good at it. Or not.
✔️ I can learn to do almost anything.

❌ It feels like a personal attack when I get feedback from others.
✔️ Feedback is information I can use to improve.

❌ Challenges and setbacks prove the limit of my abilities
✔️ Challenges and setbacks make me better

Why do we care?

A fixed mindset does NOT mean you’re a failure. Far from it. In fact, Carol Dweck herself had a fixed mindset before doing this research. Kobe Bryant famously said that hard work was futile when you were born with talent. Lee Iacocca turned around Chrysler but then failed to adapt when the market changed. Many famous people go far with their natural talents, but never develop them any further. Or tap into other talents.

According to Dweck’s 30 years of research, this can be the difference between being the person you want to be, doing the things you want to do, and having things you want to have. Or not.

You can change your mindset

Most experts agree that our mindsets don’t come from either genes or the environment. Instead, this is a case of both and. There’s a constant give-and-take between the two. Genes require input from the environment to work properly. In the 1960s, psychiatrist Aaron Beck realized his patients’ unconscious beliefs were causing their problems. So he taught them how to recognize and change those beliefs, which led to the field of Cognitive Therapy. Instead of thinking “I’m stupid” when you fail at something for example, cognitive therapy teaches you to examine the facts and ask, “What is the evidence for and against my conclusion?” You're going to find examples of when you’ve performed well in the past. And reasons why you didn't this time. But in almost every case, those are reasons you can change next time. Rinse and repeat. That's how you develop growth mindset.

👉 Inspired by Carol Dweck's book, Mindset



Share This: