If you want to get ahead, get an open mind, or more specifically, a Growth-mindset. But what does that really mean? And even if we think we have one, how can we tell? And when our mind wants to close (it happens to us all at times), how can we learn to catch ourselves and prevent self-limiting thoughts and behaviours? The author of this article has delivered talks and lectures on this in all sorts of high performing teams and organisations, all around the world. It's been invaluable to them, now, its your turn to get a very valuable boost! C'mon, let's get started...
The concept of "growth mindset" versus "fixed mindset" was popularized by psychologist Carol Dweck in her book "Mindset: The New Psychology of Success."
According to Dweck, people can have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, which influences how they approach challenges, handle failure, and ultimately achieve success.
A fixed mindset is characterized by the belief that abilities and intelligence are fixed traits that cannot be changed. People with a fixed mindset tend to avoid challenges and view failure as a personal reflection of their abilities. They may also be defensive when receiving feedback or criticism and feel threatened by the success of others.
On the other hand, a growth mindset is characterized by the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through hard work, dedication, and learning from mistakes. People with a growth mindset embrace challenges and view failure as an opportunity for growth and learning. They are also open to feedback and see the success of others as an inspiration and source of learning.
Now let's look at some of the verbal cues and behaviours that are typically a signal with each mindset. Can you see yourself reflected in there somewhere? If so, that's an area for growth.
Verbal cues associated with a fixed mindset:
Behaviors associated with a growth mindset:
It's important to note that having a fixed mindset in certain areas of life doesn't mean you have a fixed mindset overall! The truth is, we all display both, and even someone well practiced in the art and science of being growth minded can become closed when challenged by something, or someone, we struggle with. For example, someone may have a growth mindset when it comes to sports but a fixed mindset when it comes to academics. The good news is that mindset is not set in stone and can be changed with a bit of effort and following the right path, open-mindedly ;)
Developing a Growth Mindset: A Guide
In training, study or when trying out something new, it's so important to have a growth mindset in order to help us succeed. It makes success easier, we go further faster, and we actually enjoy it more too. It takes all the pressure off us not being great at something, yet.
A growth mindset means believing that you can learn and develop new skills by putting in the work and also allowing ourselves to be not good at something, on the way to being great at it.
In this guide, we will answer some common questions about growth mindset and provide practical tips for developing one.
To develop a growth mindset, try practicing the following
Is one mindset more associated with the ability to ask for any get help to solve problems or progress easier?
Complaining without asking for help is often associated with a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset may believe that their abilities and intelligence are fixed and that asking for help or admitting a lack of knowledge or skill may be seen as a weakness or a reflection of their inherent abilities. They may also fear being judged or evaluated negatively based on their performance.
In contrast, people with a growth mindset are more likely to ask for help and seek out resources to improve their skills and knowledge. They see asking for help as an opportunity to learn and grow, and they understand that no one can be an expert at everything.
It's important to note that complaining without asking for help can also be influenced by other factors such as fear of rejection or a lack of confidence. However, in general, a fixed mindset is more likely to contribute to this behavior.
So would this make people with a fixed mindset more dangerous in a high risk situation, such as stunts or film work?
Yes, it really can! In a high-risk, or highly dynamic environment, people with a fixed mindset may actually be more dangerous to work with or pose more risk than those with a growth mindset. This is because people with a fixed mindset are less likely to adapt to changing circumstances or seek out new solutions to problems.
In a high-risk environment, situations can develop change rapidly and even the best and most through through plans can quickly go wrong. In these moments people need to be able to think on their feet and make quick decisions.
People with a growth mindset are more likely to view challenges as opportunities to learn, adapt, and they'll more easily reach out to others and involve them and their experience. They're also more likely to be open to new ideas and approaches and quicker to adopt these (Google 'the change cycle'). They are also more likely to be resilient in the face of setbacks and failures too.
In contrast, people with a fixed mindset may be more rigid in their thinking and less willing to try new approaches. They may also be more likely to blame external factors (such as other people) for their failures and less likely to take responsibility for their own responsibilities or actions. In a high-risk, dynamic environment, this can be dangerous, as it can lead to poor decision-making, failures to think or act, and a failure to respond effectively to changing circumstances. They move to the blame-game instead of being solution minded and just working the problem
Therefore, in high-risk dynamic environments, it is important to foster a growth mindset among individuals and the whole team.
This can be done through training and development programs that focus on building resilience, adaptability, and a willingness to learn from mistakes. By promoting a growth mindset, individuals and teams can be better prepared to navigate the challenges and uncertainties life and work can bring.
So, is constant negativity or criticism a signal of a closed mind?
Constant negativity or criticism can be a sign of a closed mind, particularly if the negativity or criticism is directed towards new ideas, approaches, or experiences. People with a closed mind may be resistant to change and may view anything that deviates from their existing beliefs or habits as a threat.
In contrast, people with an open mind are more likely to be receptive to new ideas and approaches, even if they are initially skeptical or critical. They may actively seek out new experiences and perspectives in order to broaden their understanding of the world.
It's important to note, however, that occasional negativity or criticism is not necessarily a sign of a closed mind. Everyone has bad days or experiences that they react to negatively, and constructive criticism can be valuable in helping people grow and improve.
The key difference between a closed mind and an open mind is how receptive an individual is to new ideas and experiences over the long term. If someone consistently responds negatively to new ideas or experiences and is resistant to change, they may have a closed mind. If someone is willing to consider new ideas and experiences and is open to changing their perspectives, they likely have an open mind.
So how would a growth minded person address issues and how would that bring a better outcome for the situation, and also people’s opinion of them?
A growth-minded person is more likely to address issues in a proactive and constructive way, which can lead to better outcomes for the situation and people's opinion of them. Here are some ways a growth-minded person might approach issues:
Does this mean that if someone is constantly closed, negative and criticising, there is also a mechanism which might cause a social group, who initially agreed with them, to actually see them as the issue and turn in on them?
Yes, it's possible for a social group to turn on someone who is constantly closed, negative, and criticizing, especially if the person's behavior begins to affect the group's dynamics or outcomes.
Here are some potential mechanisms by which this might happen:
So how can we all try to identify where we are being closed minded, and what practical things can we try out to try and be more growth minded in how we address or deal with situations that challenge us?
To identify where we may be closed-minded and how we can become more growth-minded, here are some practical steps we can take:
This blog os co-authored by The ISA Team