More and more sources tell us that a growth mindset is preferred over a fixed mindset. Most people I interact with are on board with that idea. However, as I was asked recently, “How do you shift to a growth mindset?”
That’s a great question and here’s my perspective.
In the graphic at the top of this article, you see several generic descriptors of how people with a fixed or growth mindset handle or react to different situations. (This is all based upon Carol Dweck’s foundational work in her book Mindset (2006).)
Just thinking about tackling this macro mindset shift can be overwhelming. That’s why I recommend breaking it down into smaller parts.
Breaking it Down
(1) The first question to ask yourself is which of those areas under “It’s Up to You” (running down the left-hand side of the graphic) do you think you’d most benefit from shifting to a growth mindset? (For example, “Criticism.”)
(2) Once you decide that, identify a relevant specific behavior you can start working on. (For example, maybe you avoid or resist/reject constructive criticism—that’s a behavior you could choose to focus on.)
(3) You can then apply whatever behavior change model you are most comfortable with. (Of course, I’m partial to my self-coaching approach which I encourage you to check out if you’ve not seen it before)
(4) Following the mantra that “small shifts lead to big changes,” you can start making a series of behavioral shifts that accumulate over time. As long as you’re headed in the direction of embodying a growth mindset, it will have more and more impact on your brain, your neural pathways and ultimately, your life!
In my experience, as you start making small shifts to some of these behaviors, there is a spill-over effect that positively impacts other, related behaviors. (For example, as you start to see the value in constructive criticism, you may start proactively seeking more feedback.)
In summary, instead of taking on the seemingly daunting task of “shifting to a growth mindset,” break it down into smaller manageable pieces and start making those small shifts. It’s worth the effort.