Fixed mindset versus growing mindset
Here is a brief summary of why successful people have a Growth Mindset instead of a Fixed Mindset. While fixed mindset people assume that abilities are a part of our personality and therefore give up more quickly when faced with difficulties, growth-oriented people believe that abilities can be acquired and developed through effort, learning and practice. They are more likely to respond positively to challenges, try different approaches, become discouraged and see mistakes as opportunities for improvement. The beauty of this is that a growth mentality and the willingness to continuously develop can be acquired. This is possible if we observe and change our thoughts.
Replace A with B
You know how powerful our thoughts and words are and how they shape our reality. Let’s take a simple example: Imagine you are taking part in an experiment where you have to sit in a room with nine other participants and solve math problems. If you solve all the tasks correctly, you will receive $1000 dollars. So you make an effort, but the tasks are really difficult and go far beyond your possibilities. But you can see that the other participants are already busy scribbling. How do you react?
People with a fixed mentality like to think or say things like: “I have never been good at mathematics”, “it is too difficult”, “he/she is probably much smarter than I am” or “I give up – it doesn’t work”.
Have you ever reacted like this in a stressful situation or when you are overloaded in any way? I think we all have at some point. But unfortunately, these thoughts or sentences do not help you. This attitude will neither bring you closer to the solution and thus the $1000 dollars, nor will it help you to learn and to master the challenge next time.
How would people with a growth mentality react? Since they like challenges, they would simply start solving tasks and keep trying until they achieve a result. Or they would turn to participants who seem to have more insight, to get advice and learn from them.
A (Old Sentences)
- I’m no good at this
- It’s really hard.
- He’s much smarter than I am.
- I give up. This isn’t working
B (Best Sentences)
- Take advice from other people who are already good at it, so I keep getting better and better
- If I can’t do it alone, I look for help
- Seeing how he does it so I can learn something from him
- I have to change my strategy and try to solve the problem another way
The power Of Not Yet
Another way to develop a growth mentality is to add a word to your sentences: the word “yet”. Suddenly the math problem is no longer too difficult for you, it is still too difficult. Can you see the difference? When you say something is “too difficult”, you automatically slide into the “Fixed Mindset”. The task is too difficult, you cannot solve it, so you have no choice but to give up. But if something is still too difficult, it means that you can’t solve the task now – maybe because you don’t have the necessary knowledge or haven’t tried hard enough. But you have the opportunity to work on it and solve it later! So instead of saying “I can’t do this math problem”; you now say “I can’t do this math problem yet”. Isn’t that much more positive?
As you can see, there are simple ways to develop a growth mentality. In the future, pay attention to your language and your thoughts: Try to replace expressions that come from a fixed mentality with the above mentioned Growing Mind expressions and use the power of the word “yet”.