6 Techniques for a Growth Mindset
By: Ben S. Fogel
There has been so much talk lately about the “growth mindset.” A lot of this has been due to a landmark book on the subject “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. The author does an amazing job describing the growth mindset, the fixed mindset, and how you can re-train your brain out of one mindset and into another. But before we start talking all about the “growth mindset” I feel it is important to define both the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.
In the fixed mindset, you believe that your traits are “fixed.” Therefore, no matter how hard you work at something or how much effort you give, your traits (intelligence, athleticism, fill in the blank) will not change.
The growth mindset is believing that you can grow your abilities – that’s really the best way to put it, and the way Carol Dweck, Author of “Mindset” defines the growth mindset. You can grow your abilities and change, adapt and get better. Your intelligence is not fixed, and neither is your ability to learn and improve in any part of your life.
John Wooden, long time UCLA basketball coach was known to have very much a growth mindset. He actually came up with the idea of the “holy grail” of the growth mindset being the culmination of these 2 things:
Full preparation and full effort
As John Wooden once famously said:
”You have to apply yourself each day to becoming a little better. By applying yourself to the task of being a little better each and every day over a period of time, you will become a lot better.”
With this idea in mind of getting just “a little bit better” each and every day, if you take this into action and get 1% better each day on anything in your life, by the end of the year you will become 37 times better! There are 6 techniques to cultivating a growth mindset I want to share below that I truly feel will help you get 1% better every day!
1. Stop Failing and Start Learning – You didn’t “fail”, you merely figured out a path that did not work this time around. Instead of looking at failure as a dead end, look at it as a clue that will lead you to a different path on how to do something.
As an inventor, Thomas Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.” When you start to look at failure as another step into the right direction, you will start to make some positive progress.
2. You don’t need others’ approval, you need their criticism – Don’t put praise ahead of the ability for you to learn from criticism. One of the best ways to do this is to actually ask for feedback. This is a skill we never learned in school, but that is so valuable in the workplace, or in your relationship. An example I will give as a business owner is after a meeting, I will often ask my employees, “what could I have done better in this meeting?” If you are not asking for feedback, it is really hard to cultivate an environment of learning and growth.
3. Track your progress with a journal – Vividly describing your goals on paper is one of the best ways to really know if you are making any progress at all. A Harvard Business Study found that the 3% of graduates from their MBA who had their goals written down, ended up earning ten times as much as the other 97% put together, just ten years after graduation.
In fact, you’re 42% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down on a regular basis. It has to do with how our brains work. When you write things down, you’re activating both parts of your brain, the imaginative right hemisphere, and the logic-based left hemisphere. When is the last time you wrote your goals down? If the evidence says you are almost 50% more likely to achieve your goals by merely writing them down, I would start there!
4. Focus Inwardly and not on your image – The last thing you need is other peoples validation to achieve your goals. Don’t wait for others to validate your success, just start taking one step at a time on all the things you can control. Albert Einstein himself insisted that, “he had not been born with any special gift.” All children are “gifted” for nothing in particular; they are gifted for “everything.” Children who believe that talent and intelligence are made, not born, get better results in every part of life, and this starts at a young age realizing that your traits are not “fixed.”
5. Learn from the mistakes of others – There is an old saying that “success leaves clues” – it is also true that mistakes leave clues as well! These mistakes are what kept the successful to continue to learn and grow. Learning from the mistakes that other people make before you will fast track your success by not making the same mistakes. Oftentimes though, we sometimes only look at the success of people, and not the mistakes or failures. Remember, mistakes leave clues, too!
6. Practice Gratitude – I know this may be one of the most cliche terms over the past few years, but practicing gratitude daily can give you some of the most rewarding, positive energy for a very small investment of your time and energy. By merely writing down one thing you are grateful for each day, you are delivering a positive thought into your mind and starting your day with positivity, not negativity. Negativity leads to the fixed mindset, while positivity leads to the growth mindset. Here is a little something I started to write every day:
Today can be better than yesterday. I have the power to make it so. From positivity and attitude grows perseverance. Perseverance by definition makes me unstoppable!
Start with just one of these 6 techniques that will help you cultivate a growth mindset. Want to join us for the next 3 weeks to cultivate a growth mindset in all the things you can control with your health, wellness and happiness? Check out our next round of our Epic 21 Day Experience here:
Learn More about the Epic 21 Day Challenge!