The Growth Mindset Approach
(How it can help you cope up with daily struggles and challenges in life?)
What is the mindset?
Mindset can be described as a belief or set of beliefs to which a person ascribes, determining how one handles a problem/challenge/task/situation. It differs from person to person.
Doctor Carol S. Dweck (Ph.D.) is one of world’s leading researcher in the field of personality, social psychology and developmental psychology. She has coined the term Growth Mindset. Her research has contributed immensely to developmental psychology which in simpler sense indicates the approach to tackle problem/struggles/challenges in our lives.
Growth mindset vs Fixed mindset: She has proposed that people at best can be categorized into two growth mindset and a fixed mindset. Growth mindset individuals are those who believe that abilities can be developed and improved upon. Fixed mindset individuals see abilities and talent as fixed traits of oneself. She presents a contrasting image between the two.
Diagram by Nigel Holmes
Risk and Effort: Growth mindset individual relies both on risk as well as the effort to gain from such a mindset. A belief should be drawn on suggesting that one’s abilities can be improved with effort. One should allow themselves to take the risk to gain experience, should view it as a stepping stone/hurdle.
Alfred Binet, a Frenchman, inventor of IQ test, had created IQ test not to summarize children’s unchangeable intelligence but designed it to identify children who were not profiting from Paris public school. This test should have worked as an identification tool to establish who were benefiting from the current education system and that those who were lagging in it be identified and catered to by reforming education.
How this approach can help you in your daily struggles?
Growth mindset approach simply allows for an open mindset over problem areas/events/situations. Most essentially you should tell yourself that whatever problem has arisen, can be resolved through effort (can be physical/ mental). Your traits/talent/skills are not fixed but can be developed through the right amount of effort and time.
For eg. Supposedly, you are concerned to see that going to the gym regularly has not resulted in much loss in weight. Now you can apply Growth Mindset approach to telling yourself that this challenge/goal has not resulted into failure but that your effort is not producing effective results and more grinding or change in exercise regime is what is needed.
This allows you to see it not as the failure but merely as an event which is taking more time/effort. This will allow you to stretch and persevere for longer. Both these traits are seen in Growth Mindset individuals. You also don’t see it as the task but a process to gain from. Hence you are not failing but working on a project which is taking little longer.
Using Growth mindset to overcome the challenges of life:
To overcome challenges in life, one should not view them as success and failures. These labels usually signify positive and negative emotions in one’s mind. This makes one see themselves as persons who constantly seek to validate that they are good at somethings and bad at others. Think about it this way since you know you are good at something you will only choose those and avoid others. This makes your approach limited to the area or field of expertise. Most great leaders, champions, CEO’s who were of growth mindset saw the challenge as an opportunity, learn to grow and develop intellectual capacities and not as the window to validate themselves.
Michael Jordan embraced his failures. He was not selected in his high school basketball team. He saw this merely as a setback not as a failure.
Michael Jordan in two mindsets:
Three important pointers to view a challenge in growth mindset frame:
1. See a challenge as an opportunity to learn and grow.
2. There are only setbacks no failures. These setbacks are like a wake-up call.
3. Keep up with the pace. Do not pause. Michael Jordan maintained his best game throughout his career meaning he reoriented, reformed, improved and practiced more after winning championships.
Growth Mindset provides an opportunity to change our beliefs about ourselves. More importantly, it provides us with a positive outlook towards life and its challenges, giving an affirmative approach by giving a hopeful and a meaningful way of dealing with problem, task, challenges, and issues. It certainly improves the way we think about our problems and changes us for the better.