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Growth Mindset - How it can change your life!

I recently came across the term “growth mindset” from writing a reflective report. After some digging around and further reading, I can absolutely say that it has changed my life.

The idea of a growth mindset came from a Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck. Dweck and her team stumbled upon the phenomenon when observing students and their various responses to failure. Why was it, they wondered, that some students could bounce back from a setback like nothing happened, while others sulked and fumed when obstacles fell in their way? As we grow older, we become more and more stuck in our ways. We begin to accept that “that’s just how things are” and “this is the hand I was dealt; I can’t change it.” I say this as someone who has fallen into these traps before. We all get stuck sometimes, whether that’s getting a bad grade or being rejected for an internship, but we must learn to recognise how to channel those “failures” into personal growth.

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So how to adopt a growth mindset? Here are some simple steps to get started:

1. Acknowledge our setbacks or unfavourable circumstances. Don’t see them as failures though, instead, see them as learning opportunities.

2. Acknowledge any shame that might accompany those learning opportunities,

3. then laugh it off! It’s good to find others who are non-judgmental and supportive who you can laugh with. This can help normalise laughing at your setbacks and help give you perspective.

4. View your setback as an opportunity, the fact that you’ve got this far is amazing.

5. Reflect and ask for feedback. Don’t think of feedback as criticism, rather embrace it and learn from it.

6. The power of yet: just because you can’t do something today it doesn’t mean you never will – keep persevering!

I’m sure many of us suffer from perfectionist tendencies and a fixed mindset where we might shy away from a challenge because we don’t want to deal with the possibility of a negative outcome. This is certainly the easier path to take – but it’s hugely damaging in the long term. By avoiding failure, we miss out on experiences and situations that create personal growth. This can devolve into a mindset where we do not believe good things are possible for us - thus manifesting more negativity into your life and mentally pushing away the things you desire.

We have power over the way we think, and applying a growth mindset to small, everyday actions can make a big difference.

Photo by Prateek Katyal from Pexels

I would strongly recommend Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: How You Can Fulfil Your Potential, and check out her Ted talk “The Power of Yet” on YouTube.