A growth mindset, ever heard of it before? Up until the last year or so, I can say I really hadn’t. In retrospect, I think a lot of people I am surrounded with would identify among the growth mindset perspective, but the term itself wasn’t one on my radar.
Carol Dweck first coined the term over 30 years ago while she was analyzing students and the ways they approached learning. She saw while some students approached failure as a huge setback and crutch, other students used those failures to learn, grow, and move forward with the lessons they learned. She ultimately realized through this study that when students (and this applies to so much outside of the classroom) understand that setbacks and failure offer new learning opportunities, they excel and allow those ebbs and flows to make them stronger.
Does this sound familiar or like someone you know? I can definitely answer yes to that. Once I learned what the growth mindset was, I immediately tried to adopt it in my life. Rather than allowing challenges to define my limits, I accept them as an opportunity to learn, grow my skills, and come out on the other side better than before.
So why should you adopt this learning style? Well, if it hasn’t already resonated, I have a list of positive ways the growth mindset can impact you- personally and professionally. But I challenge you to give this approach a month or two in your life before kicking it to the side. I believe you will approach these challenges in a whole new light.
Opportunities are abundant if you allow them to be.
New opportunities can arise from the strangest of places. If you allow yourself to grow from setbacks and learning opportunities, new possibilities will emerge. Whether it’s a client who refers you to someone else or an employee who is impressed by your new approach to hardships, people are constantly watching you and taking notes. Which means positive attitudes will spring in positive results.
New skills and knowledge are right at your fingertips.
If you allow yourself to learn from these opportunities you were once letting hinder you, new skills from within may emerge you didn’t even know that you had. Crisis communication, mediation, client relations, and critical problem solving are all areas that may develop new skills in these situations.
No books or classes teach you quite like real experiences.
This was my favorite outlook while taking classes in college. The classes were great, but if I could experience hands-on the tools and skills we were learning in the classroom in real life, I was all about it. You don’t know how you’ll react or handle a situation in the real world no matter how many times you practice it, read about it, or study up. These experiences are priceless and will teach you a lot about yourself.
Growth opens many doors.
Much like new skills and opportunities, new doors will open when you approach learning with open arms and a positive attitude. You may meet new mentors or peers, catapult yourself into a new career or client, or even learn things about yourself you didn’t previously realize. Maybe you actually love conflict and challenges when approached with this new outlook. You never know!
With all of that said, the growth mindset is one that I truly believe can work for anyone. If you’re naturally discouraged or get down on yourself in times of criticism, the growth mindset can be especially beneficial to you. Don’t take things too personally, allow yourself to grow and change with each experience, and consider every up and down an opportunity to add a new adventure under your belt. I think you’ll be pleased with the results.