Are you discouraged by failure, or do you see it as an opportunity for growth?

If you’re like most people, you fall into the former category – you feel discouraged by it. This is just one example of how people’s mindset differs. This difference grows from a simple belief about ourselves and even prevents us from fulfilling our potential. 

You can change your mindset 

On the one hand, there’s the mindset that sees what’s happening to us as a direct measure of our competence and worth. This is known as a fixed mindset. If at first you don’t succeed, then don’t try, try, try again. Putting yourself out there again is risky, and further effort might reveal how inadequate you are. 

And on the other hand, there’s a mindset that loves challenges, believes in effort, and finds success in the face of adversity. This is known as a growth mindset. If at first you don’t succeed, then try, try, try again. This mindset is concerned with improving, not judgement. Despite feelings of distress, there are no negative labels or feelings of shame. 

We all have a mindset or a way of thinking that is guiding us through life. At this point, you may even recognize the mindset that is guiding your life. More importantly, you can change it if you wish. 

How to cultivate your mindset for greater success 

Step one. Awareness. 

Do you believe that you play an active role in your life, meaning that your actions have an impact on your life? Do you believe that you can do things differently, change basic things about yourself, or develop your personality or intelligence? 

If you mostly agree with these questions, then you lean towards a growth mindset. 

Whether we are consciously aware of it or not, our thoughts become our actions. 

“Watch your thoughts, they become your words; watch your words, they become your actions; watch your actions, they become your habits; watch your habits, they become your character; watch your character, it becomes your destiny.”

― Lao Tzu

The good news is that awareness is the first and most important step in changing the way we think. Understanding how your mindset is guiding your life right now, and then choosing to change it, will take you down an entirely different path.

That’s powerful stuff. That’s probably why self awareness is touted for being so crucial to change. 

“…as you begin to understand the fixed and growth mindsets, you will see exactly how one thing leads to another—how a belief that your qualities are carved in stone leads to a host of thoughts and actions, and how a belief that your qualities can be cultivated leads to a host of different thoughts and actions, taking you down an entirely different road.”  

Carol Dweck. “Mindset – Updated Edition: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential

Step Two. Engagement.

The difference between the two mindsets is based on the belief that everyone can change and grow despite their inherent qualities or traits. You believe you can develop yourself, and in doing so, you can convert life’s setbacks into future successes. 

How do I become a person with a growth mindset?

The next important step after self awareness is purposeful engagement. This is about “being”, “doing” and “having” the things that a person with a growth mindset embodies. 

Don’t fake it until you make it. Be it until you are it

Jade Teta

To become the person you want to be, and accomplish the things you value, practice (yes, practice) engaging in the thoughts that align with a growth mindset. Thoughts become actions, so let’s get those thoughts aligned first. The actions will fall into place with time and consistent practice. 

Use visualization to picture a situation that stretches you beyond your comfort zone, in any capacity – business, relationships, health, intelligence. You’re someone who understands that important qualities and skills can be cultivated. Think about the ways in which you (this new version of you) confronts obstacles. What do you need (personally and from others) to handle this situation? Is it a new skill set, more information, a fresh perspective? Do you need support?

Overtime, you will notice a shift in how you evaluate these situations. Thoughts that limit your capacity for growth and change, such as “will I look smart or dumb?” will be replaced with constructive thoughts focused on solutions, rather than problems. It’s not a question of success vs failure or dumb vs smart. It’s a matter of personal growth and development; you’re learning, not failing. 

Failure, obstacles, and setbacks are gifts in that they challenge you to adapt in the face of adversity – to bounce back stronger and more capable than before. This very process is contingent on actively living in accordance with a growth mindset. 

Recap: Try, try, and try again 

Step one. Awareness. 

Despite your current mindset, you can choose to adopt a new way of thinking, and one that supports the way you want to lead your life. In a nutshell, a growth mindset rather than a fixed mindset. You can be a mixture sometimes, but you always have the choice to lean towards one or the other. If this is already your leaning, then you can build on this strength and apply it to other areas of your life. 

Step two. Purposeful engagement.

Become the person with a growth mindset. 

Most people don’t expect muscle growth from reading about exercise. To reap the rewards of larger biceps, we understand the need to practice bicep curls, and frequently. In a similar way, we can’t change our mindset simply from reading a post like this. Information is important. We need it to build a knowledge base that leads to informed choices, but real change and growth occurs through application and experience – lots of practice and repetitions. There’s an old saying that applies here: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Your brain is building new connections when you’re learning. The more times you practice cultivating a growth mindset, the stronger those connections become. 

Flex your growth mindset by getting those reps in.

Photo by Estée Janssens on Unsplash