Do you ever feel stuck or like you’ve hit a roadblock in moving towards personal goals? It can feel incredibly frustrating and defeating, even seeming like you may never be able to reach what you’re pushing towards. What if I told you that changing something as small as your mindset could get you moving again?
Carol Dweck, a renowned psychologist, researcher, and professor at Stanford University, uses the term “mindset” to describe how people view their abilities and talents. She describes two mindsets that exist on a continuum: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is inflexible in that it assumes one already possesses the talent and knowledge to succeed. Thus, people who have fixed mindsets are not as open to learning new perspectives and skills. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that their abilities are innate and unchangeable. Those working from this mindset also tend to believe that failure is permanent and that any form of feedback is a personal attack. Those with fixed mindsets are likely to give up when faced with obstacles, choosing easier tasks that they know they can accomplish with ease. Working from this mindset limits our ability to reap all of the benefits that can be gained from the process of reaching a goal.
Those with a growth mindset truly believe that their skills and talents can be developed through hard work, dedication, practicing good strategies, and seeking feedback from others. Growth mindset emphasizes the process of working towards desired outcomes, notably by seeking help from others in a collaborative manner and capitalizing on setbacks to move forward effectively. Those working from a growth mindset believe that failure is a chance to learn; working from this mindset allows us to approach challenging tasks and situations with confidence, as we know that any setbacks will serve as chances to adapt. Those who embrace a growth mindset put more energy into the learning process in a way that is educational and empowering. To adopt a growth mindset is to commit to the journey of continual improvement and to find value in the process of doing so.
Adopting a growth mindset may help us find greater comfort with taking personal risks, may broaden the type of goals we reach for, may improve our motivation, improve work relationships, and may result in higher performance levels; research conducted by Dweck has backed these benefits. The following are a few ways you can move towards a growth mindset in your own life:
Working from a growth mindset starts with focusing on the learning process; seek out information to broaden your knowledge through books, academic publications, podcasts, and conferences. Find and follow role models who practice the growth mindset in their own lives for inspiration and example.
Acknowledge where your mindset is fixed; inquire with yourself about where you feel your talents and abilities are inflexible. Challenging fixed beliefs can remove roadblocks on the way to your goals, expanding your abilities in the process. This aligns us more with the growth mindset.
Reframe challenges as opportunities to learn.
When faced with challenges and “failures” on the way to your goals, do your best to view these points as opportunities for personal growth; a challenge may indicate that there is a different way to move forward or the need for support from others.
Be the truest form of yourself in a way that is open to new experiences, different perspectives, and embraces the humility of the human experience. It is impossible to be perfect, but you will be amazed with how much you can accomplish and be proud of when seeing the world through a growth mindset.
An African proverb that has always rang true to me is: “if you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” In moving towards our goals, support from others can take us far and make the experience more enjoyable! This may look like actually going to that study group for an upcoming exam, going to a support group for other moms, or scheduling a therapy appointment.
For help with this, more tips, and attentive support, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Love Heal Grow.
Hi, I’m Ashley Barnes, therapist for individuals and couples at Love Heal Grow Counseling.
I help individuals and couples who seek to improve and enhance their relationships, those who wish to heal from painful experiences and navigate big life changes, and those who aspire to improve their mental well being.
You can read more about me or schedule an appointment here: About Ashley