Toolkit to Shift to Growth Mindset

A common misconception about growth mindset is that being open minded and flexible qualify as being growth minded. These are important qualities to have, but they themselves do not make someone growth minded. 

It’s also not possible to apply a growth mindset all the time. During challenging circumstances or when dealing with a feeling of insecurity, we may get defensive and adopt a fixed mindset to deal with the conflict. 

We all have different triggers that can activate a fixed mindset. The critical thing is to recognise important situations which can set off a fixed mindset and learn to switch to a growth mindset. 

Shift from self doubt to potential for growth, from worrying about the outcomes to taking interest in the process, acting as a victim to adopting a role of a creator, from fear of failures to learning through them.

  1. Choose to tell yourself a different story: When we come across difficult problems or challenging situations, how we interpret, and react to them, is based on our own story. Our actions are nothing but a manifestation of our beliefs. There’s a lot of power in the story we tell ourselves. So, the first step to enable a growth mindset is to learn to catch yourself in the moment, make a choice and shift the language you use. 

    Instead of telling yourself, I am not good at it, Choose to say, I can do better. I can’t do it – I can do it. It’s better to stick to what I know –I want to explore new ideas. This is frustrating – It’s ok to fail.

  2. Set learning goals as opposed to performance goals: Commit to learning everyday as opposed to seeking goals that prove your worth. For example, instead of setting a goal to lose 20 kgs, commit to eating healthy everyday. Instead of trying to score A on a subject, commit to practicing that subject everyday. Instead of the goal to be a professional runner, commit to running everyday. Focusing on the process, as opposed to the outcome, helps us look for small continuous improvements that add up over a period of time.

  3. Capitalise on your failures: Failures teach us what success can’t. Instead of running away from failures and giving up when faced with a setback, you can take advantage of your failures by reviewing them, identifying what did not work and then devising a plan to correct your mistakes. Develop new strategies, seek help from others to review your decisions and commit to getting better with every defeat. 

  4. Choose Goldilocks’ tasks for continuous improvement: There’s a difference between seeking challenges and setting out to do what’s impractical. If you try to climb a mountain without building physical strength, there’s no way you can succeed. Goldilocks’ tasks are activities that are neither too easy nor too difficult, just a little over your current abilities. They provide a perfect opportunity to step outside your comfort zone without leading to anxiety. By investing in Goldilocks’ tasks, you can set up a path for continuous improvement by slowly building upon your current abilities. 

  5. Be consistent and flexible: You cannot shift from fixed mindset to a growth mindset in a day. Much like other things, it requires practice. 

    Be consistent in reflecting on your past behaviour by asking yourself some of these questions:

    • How did you act last time

    • Did you choose a fixed or a growth mindset

    • What made you choose one mindset over the other

    • Is there a pattern in events that makes you adopt a fixed mindset 

    • Why did you fail to recognise fixed mindset in the moment 

    By asking yourself these questions on a regular basis and being flexible to learn from them, you can identify your fixed mindset trigger points and develop new strategies to adopt a growth mindset.  Remember, all human beings are unique. What works for one, may not work for the other. Without being consistent and flexible in your own approach, you cannot develop a growth mindset. 

January 15, 2023

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