Mindset is a 2007 book by Carol Dweck, a respected Stanford psychologist. In the book, Dweck argues that mindset is largely responsible for the success or failure of an individual. Many people think that successful individuals rise to the top because of their natural talent or even their education, but Dweck argues that this may not be the case. By approaching life with the proper mindset, it may be possible to achieve great things.
There are two mindset categories offered up by Dweck in this book. Those are the growth mindset, and the fixed mindset. Below, we will take a closer look at each of these two options.
The Fixed Mindset
As the name would indicate, a person with a fixed mindset is someone who thinks that they are stuck with whatever they possess at the moment in terms of skills, talents, etc. This person thinks that those abilities they come by naturally are all they have to work with, and improvement is not going to take place.
Sadly, it is relatively common for adults to believe they can no longer improve in their chosen career field. No matter what it is you do – even as a business owner or manager – you can always find new ways to improve your own performance. Staying away from a fixed mindset just might be one of the best things you can do for your professional life.
The Growth Mindset
You won’t be surprised to learn that this is the ideal place to be. Those with a growth mindset are always optimistic about their own future, thinking they can learn the skills they need to advance in the business world. This kind of person isn’t worried about what he or she doesn’t know at the moment, because they simply assume they will be able to learn it when necessary.
Of course, growth doesn’t happen by accident. It is great to feel like you can develop as a professional, but it won’t happen without effort and a plan. You will need to gain experience in a variety of areas, seek out training, and simply work hard if you are going to see progress.
Moving in the Right Direction
It is plain to see that you want to find yourself in the growth category, rather than as someone who feels like his or her abilities are fixed permanently. But how do you get there? How do you wind up with a mindset that allows you to seek out persistent growth as the months and years go by? There are some tips you can use to help keep yourself in this frame of mind.
One of the first steps you can take is to listen carefully to the thoughts inside your head. Do you notice that you are regularly telling yourself that you can’t do something? For example, when a new challenge comes along, do you run in the other direction or do you meet it head on? If you are shying away from new things, you might be doubting your ability to learn. Simply by noticing that this thought pattern is taking place in your head, you can combat it and turn things around.
Another step on the road to a growth mindset is to realize that you have a choice in the matter. You aren’t predestined to have one mindset or the other – the choice is yours. It is how to respond to your challenges that will determine the way your mind works. Are you going to settle for the status quo, or will you choose to believe that you can do better? Seeing everything as an opportunity rather than an obstacle will help you make the kind of progress you need to make in order to advance your career and your life.
Be Willing to Fail
For some people, it is the fear of failure that leads to a fixed mindset. Afraid to try something and come up short, these people never even bother to try in the first place. There will be no failure when you don’t try new things, but there will be no progress or accomplishments, either.
It is important to understand that there is no shame in coming up short sometimes. In fact, there is no shame in falling way short of the mark, as long as you tried and learned something along the way. The only way to really learn anything is through effort and trial and error, so put yourself out there and experience new challenges. Yes, you are going to fail sometimes, but you are going to succeed sometimes as well.
When you look at some of the most successful individuals in the world of business throughout history, they have failed plenty on their way to prosperity. Inventors are famous for getting it wrong many times before they get it right. Plenty of well-known business owners and executives have had failing ventures on their way to a winning one. If you fail at something, you will be in good company with some of the best to ever work in any given field. There is no reason to fear failure, as there is always something to be learned from the mistakes made along the way.
If you are looking for ways to further your professional career – or if you are looking for tools which may help your employees be at their best – Dweck’s Mindsets is something to consider carefully. These two mindsets stand in opposition of one another, meaning one can lead to success while the other promotes stagnation. Learn how to put yourself into the category of a growth mindset and you should be able to look forward to positive steps in your professional life.
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