Stop keeping score. Learn instead.
What if you focused on learning instead of achievement?
You step into the tough stuff.
Instead of keeping track of your score, you focus on what you learn and how to improve.
You embrace challenges, struggles, criticisms and setback as a source of inspiration, learning, and growth.
That’s what happens when you exchange a fixed mindset for a growth mindset.
In the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck explains how when you adopt a growth mindset, you focus on learning over achievement, and you set the stage to realize your potential.
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work.
Beware the Fixed Mindset
The fixed mindset locks you into an ideal self. This breeds perfectionism and other habits that can work against facing your vulnerabilities, imperfections and growth opportunities in a healthy, open, and honest way. A fixed mindset can be both limiting and fragile.
“The problem is that this new self — this all-competent, strong, good self that they now try to be — is likely to be a fixed-mindset self. Over time, the fixed traits may come to be the person’s sense of who they are, and validating these traits may come to be the main source of self-esteem.”
Embrace Challenge, Struggle, Criticism, Setbacks
Adopting a growth mindset frees you up. It makes you more resilient and free to explore your full potential. But it’s not easy to let go of a self-image you’ve held on to for years.
“Mindset change asks people to give this up. As you can imagine, it’s not easy to just let go of something that has felt like your ‘self’ for many years and that has given you your route to self-esteem. And it’s especially not easy to replace it with a mindset that tells you to embrace all the things that have felt threatening: challenge, struggle, criticism, setbacks.”
Give Up the Counters
Adopting a fixed mindset can be a painful process. This is especially true if you’re used to rooting your self-esteem and self-image in a fixed mindset way. Rather than keeping the score, you focus on learning and growth instead.
“When I was exchanging my fixed mindset for a growth one, I was acutely aware of how unsettled I felt. For example, I’ve told you how as a fixed mindsetter, I kept track each day of all my successes. At the end of a good day, I could look at the results (the high numbers on my intelligence ‘counter,’ my personality ‘counter,’ and so on) and feel good about myself. But as I adopted a growth mindset and stopped keeping track, some nights I would still check my mental counters and find them at zero. It made me insecure not to be able to tote up my victories.”
Growth Makes You More Yourself
When you give up your fixed mindset, and your self-image that goes with it, as painful as it may be, it frees you up to become more of who you are and who you are capable of being.
“Then there’s the concern that you won’t be yourself anymore. It may feel as though the fixed mindset gave you your ambition, your edge, your individuality. Maybe you fear you’ll become a bland cog in the wheel just like everyone else. Ordinary.
But opening yourself up to growth makes you more yourself, not less. The growth-oriented scientists, artists, athletes, and CEOs we’ve looked at were far from humanoids going through the motions. They were people in the full flower of their individuality and potency.”
Adopt a growth mindset and free yourself up to realize your potential and all that you’re capable of.
Your growth and greatness will come from what you learn, not the scores you achieve.
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Image by Charlie Cowins.