Cultivate a Growth Mindset

What’s All This Talk About Growth Mindset? Growth is a process, not a destination. By Karen Keller, Ph.D.

Research has shown that people who have a growth mindset experience higher brain activity. And higher brain activity means they will engage deeply with a project or problem, process a mistake or error, and learn from their missteps.

One of the most important indicators of whether you have a future as a successful entrepreneur is whether you have a growth mindset. A great example of this is The Buffet Formula, which is a process of “going to bed smarter than when you woke up.” Warren Buffet and his business partner, Charlie Munger, had a unique yet simple way of doing work. They placed an intention of learning something new every single day and refused to let failure define them.

So, what does it mean to live with a growth mindset? It means that you believe you can get better. That you can acquire new skills, new capabilities, and that you can figure things out. As opposed to a fixed mindset – a mindset that tells you there is no hope for getting better – a growth mindset tells you you’re capable of developing new skills and adept at innovative learning.

However, in order to accomplish a growth mindset, you need to do a few things. First and foremost, you must commit to putting in the effort to develop YOUR growth mindset. The list opposite will give you a great start.

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5 Ways (and 5 Calls to Action) to Cultivate a Growth Mindset

Identify Your Own Mindset: Read, Read, Read. Understand the difference between YOUR growth mindset and a fixed mindset by considering your approach to the world. How you see or experience the world is a choice. My book recommendation for more on this is “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” by Carol Dweck, Ph.D.

Call To Action: Become a ‘Learn it All’ instead of a ‘Know it All’. You can adopt this way of thinking by shifting your perspective from “I hope this will be easy for me” to “I hope this will be interesting to me!”

Embrace Challenges: Always look for new challenges, and seek them everywhere – not just in the workplace. Embracing change can be the biggest challenge you face. If you consistently avoid obstacles or change, how will you ever grow? Call To Action: The next time you have a problem, see it as an opportunity by asking yourself, “What is it I need to learn from this?” Be honest with yourself. This is for your eyes only!

Look for Feedback: Seek feedback from people who are willing to tell you the truth (even if it hurts!). Avoid the person who is uncomfortable telling you what or where you can improve. Try to put yourself in situations where you’re going to get constructive and useful feedback. Call To Action: When you receive feedback, write it down in a journal, in bullet points, and put it away for two days. After two days, come back and read it. How do you see or experience the feedback differently now that you’ve had some time away from it?

Embrace Failure: Know that failure is an event. It is not an identity. Instead of embracing failure as part of who you are, think instead of failure as an occurrence that didn’t go as planned, but you learned something from the experience. Persist in the face of setbacks. Be on the lookout for your fixed mindset. The fixed mindset says, “No use in continuing, it’ll never happen.” Call To Action: The next time something doesn’t go the way you planned, add the word ‘yet’. For example, you might say to yourself, “My work on the marketing initiative wasn’t acknowledged … yet.” Adding the word ‘yet’ will position your brain to continue learning, looking for how you can move beyond mistakes.

Find Lessons and Inspiration in the Success of Others: Sometimes it’s tempting to develop ‘naval watching’ where we stare at our own successes or failures for too long. This can begin to stymie our movement and stop us from embracing and experiencing our own potential. Call To Action: Think about what you’ve seen someone else do when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. Think about the actions they took to overcome those odds and achieve their success. Start with listing your top ten heroes and then reflect on what it is that makes them your heroes.

Bonus: Growth is a process, not a destination

Beginning the journey to develop your growth mindset is an ongoing activity of being curious, courageous, and committed. Set clear goals that provide a motivating challenge. Living with a growth mindset creates a powerful passion for learning. Cultivating a growth mindset is something you’re going to do every day in your home life, professional life, and community. It never ends. If you surround yourself with other people who have a growth mindset, you will experience a lifetime of continuous learning.