The idea of a growth mindset has totally transformed my way of thinking. I first came across it whilst browsing through the most viewed TED talks, and then again during my positive psychology coaching training. It led me to look at human potential in a completely new light, so allow me to introduce this super important and very fascinating concept to you here.
what's a growth mindset?
Mindset= a person’s way of thinking and their opinions.
What you believe shapes the way you act in the world. It significantly influences your achievements and success.
So let me ask you:
Do you think that your level of intelligence can ever change?
Do you think that your talents are fixed traits?
Do you think that your qualities as a person are more or less set in stone?
These types of questions are what the now well-known psychologist Carol Dweck spent a long time studying. She was particularly interested in her own students’ attitudes towards failure. Why was it that some generally bounced back easily whilst others appeared absolutely devastated by even just minor setbacks? Her insights eventually led her to coin the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset. They describe people’s underlying beliefs around intelligence and growth.
Her research has found that your success in life is not made by just your talent and abilities alone, but is also largely influenced by how you think about your aspirations and goals, and whether you approach it with a fixed or a growth mindset.
the consequences of living with a fixed mindset
Notice the areas of your life in which you believe that your abilities are fixed and cannot be changed. Depression in particular can make us believe that who we are is not going to fundamentally change. In fact, I would say that depression keeps us stuck in a fixed mindset around just about everything.
“I’m never going to be good at this.”
“I’m such a failure.”
“I was born like this.”
“Things will never get better.”
“I will always be depressed.”
These are fixed mindset beliefs. They can be conscious or subconscious, but it’s quite easy to see how living your life with such limiting beliefs affects your motivation, your willingness to try out new things and to take risks and your potential for growth.
So really, what you want and whether you succeed in getting it is strongly determined by your most basic beliefs about yourself.
And if you have a fixed mindset, failure is totally devastating and you take it very personally. You also end up trying to prove yourself over and over again:
develop a growth mindset and transform your outlook on life
Think of a time when you accomplished something because of your efforts and perseverance. Perhaps something in your career, an instrument you learned to play, a course you’ve completed or a skill you’ve learned.
Whilst we all have natural talents and abilities, you wouldn’t have succeeded without trying, without stretching yourself and without sticking with it despite setbacks. This is the growth mindset in action.
Believing that your qualities can be cultivated leads to an openness to growth. So whatever you want to achieve -and that includes recovering from depression- requires effort, perseverance, support, and a willingness to embrace mistakes.
Fixed or growth mindset: What would you rather live by?