“Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” – Carol Dweck
The first time I attended a Dr Joe Dispenza workshop, he asked you to turn to the person sitting next to you and introduce yourself as a ‘Genius’. At first this seemed weird as I certainly didn’t feel like a ‘Genius’. I now understand that this is Dr Joe’s way of getting you to accept that everyone of us has the potential to cultivate the mindset of a ‘Genius’ depending on whether you have a ‘growth mindset’ or a ‘fixed mindset’.
The research findings of Carol Dweck, a renowned psychologist from Stanford University, explains in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, the difference between the two mindsets.
Growth Mindset: you believe that through hard work and effort you can develop your talents, skills and abilities. You are more likely to focus on the learning process and see failures as an opportunity to grow.
Fixed Mindset: you believe that you are born with a certain, personality, intelligence and character and these are set in stone. Which means that you cannot change who you are because you must ‘play the hand you’re dealt’.
3 Ways to Develop the Growth mindset?
1.0 Use the Power of ‘Yet’.
Carol Dweck in her Ted Talk speaks about a school in Chicago where students were given a grade of ‘not yet’ instead of a fail mark. The words ‘not yet’ put them on a learning curve which meant that with more effort they would eventually reach their desired grades.
Instead of saying I’m not a salesperson, say I’m not a salesperson yet or instead of saying I’m not a good networker, say I’m not a good networker yet. If you keep applying yourself, the learning process will eventually build new neural circuits and over time build competence and confidence in the skills you want to master
2.0 Focus on the learning process and not the result.
Albert Einstein, Leonardo De Vinci and the Wright Brothers were Genius’s in their own right, however it was their efforts, persistence and mistakes that yielded the results. Developing a growth mindset means you are not willing to give up when faced with failure by keeping the big picture in mind and being clear on your sense of purpose.
Set learning goals where you can focus on learning, experimenting and being creative. When you are pushed outside your comfort zone, new challenges will be an opportunity to stretch and grow rather than seen as obstacles.
3.0 Accept that repetition is key.
Nobody ever goes to the gym, works out for 1 hour and loses a stone in weight. Learning anything new takes time, consistency and practice. The concept of neuroplasticity means that you can ‘teach an old dog new tricks’ however pruning away old habits that have become hardwired in the brain’s neural circuitry will take time.
When you first start to create a new habit, it will at first feel uncomfortable and unfamiliar. Be realistic and don’t underestimate how long it might take to master a new skill. The brain is also a muscle which needs to be worked out just like the physical body.
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