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The most powerful mindset for success

There is a psychological trait that all successful people appear to have in common.
It’s been cosigned by Bill Gates and NASA uses it as criteria for selecting potential
Systems Engineers.

This concept is called the growth mindset, a term originally coined by Carol Dweck.
People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence or skill, in any field, can be
Developed through effort.

Basically, they believe that anyone can nurture their abilities in anything.
The inverse of the growth mindset is the fixed mindset.

People with this mindset believe that intelligence and skill are innate: it’s something that
we’re born with. We’re either born gifted or not; there is no room for change. Basically, they believe intelligence is fixed from birth. In this essay, we’ll explore why the growth mindset is the better one and how we can develop it?

So, we talked a little about what the growth mindset is?

The belief that intelligence and skill, in any field, can be developed. But, let’s also talk about what it’s not? It’s not magic. It won’t help you get everything that you want out of life and it won’t make you the next Elon Musk or Steve Jobs. However, it is a very powerful lens with which to see the world and it can improve the probability of your success.

All of us are a mixture of both growth and fixed mindsets. In some areas of our lives, we operate with a growth mindset. In others, we operate with a fixed mindset. Because of this, I want you to think of both mindsets like a pair of glasses. Some people wear the growth glasses more often and others wear the fixed glasses more. However, we all wear both in different situations in our lives. Although, we should all strive to wear the growth ones much more than we wear the fixed ones.

But, why?

Well, a lot of research seems to suggest that people with a growth mindset are more successful than people with a fixed mindset.

For example, a study found that “Students who held a growth mindset were three times more likely to score in the top 20% on the test, while students with a fixed mindset were four times more likely to score in the bottom 20%.” Another study found that when 7th graders participated in a growth mindset program, they were able to avoid a drop in grades which usually occurs in middle school. People with the growth mindset are much more resilient which allows them to overcome challenging and difficult situations. Because they prioritize learning over failure, they are unafraid to take risks. They prioritize growth over stagnation.

On the other hand, people with a fixed mindset don’t want to challenge themselves because
they believe talent and intelligence are fixed. They look at failure as an assault on who they are as a person. To them, lack of knowledge is an indicator of stupidity and failure once means failure always.

A person with a growth mindset believes that they are always in a state of flux and
Transformation. So, they don’t attach their identity to their results. Instead, they focus on the process of growing and learning. Few people will deny that the growth mindset seems to map nicely onto reality. We know that the brain can continue to learn until the day we die, thanks to the field of neuroscience. It also seems quite intuitive that people must work hard and persevere, despite obstacles, to end up being successful. So, the growth mindset seems to be a much more accurate view of reality than the fixed mindset.

People with a growth mindset are living in greater accordance with reality than people
With a fixed mindset. They can make truer decisions where as a person with a fixed mindset lives in a greater state of delusion.

What do I mean by this?

Imagine two entrepreneurs : one has the growth mindset and one has the fixed mindset.
They are both in the early stages of their entrepreneurial journey.
Suddenly, they both encounter roadblocks and are forced to make a decision.
The one with the fixed mindset see’s the long and arduous journey ahead of her due
to the roadblock. The journey is in the way of what matters to her:

The result,

She believes that entrepreneurship should come easy to those who are destined for it.
She decides to quit. The one with the growth mindset see’s the long and arduous journey ahead of her and smiles.

The journey is the way for her, the journey is what matters. Taking the role of a student, she accepts the long and arduous path as her teacher. She will allow it to mold her into the person she needs to become, to achieve the results she desires. She decides to persist. When we look at both of these examples, most of us would agree that the entrepreneur with the growth mindset has a greater understanding of reality.

Her decision is truer.

We know that things take time, effort, and strategy to achieve but it’s often difficult to put that kind of thinking into practice. So, how can we develop the growth mindset?

The first key :

To develop a growth mindset is very simple: understanding that it exists and that it’s possible for the brain to change. Neuroscience has shown that our brains are not fixed, and in fact, they are very malleable.
We can always grow and learn new skills. For example, a study found that taxicab drivers developed more grey matter in their brains to help them navigate more effectively in large cities. They also found that the amount of grey matter in their brains was correlated with the number of years that they had been working as a taxi driver. This suggests that the act of driving a taxi led to changes in their brains which allowed them to be more effective at their job.

The second key :

It is to focus on process over results. Dweck has said that we should praise others for their efforts and their process, rather than praising them for their results.
For example, it’s better to say, “you studied very effectively for that test and your hard work really paid off,” rather than, “you’re so smart, you got an A!”

In the former example, we’re focusing in on and praising the student’s process which
is something that they can control. Hopefully, they’ll learn to associate themselves and their results with the process. However, in the latter example we praised the student for a result which is, ultimately, out of their control. Unfortunately, this student will likely begin to associate themselves with the result. I think it’s really important to emphasize that it’s not easy to pass a growth mindset on to others. It’s not as simple as telling someone that they’re a hard-worker and that they just need to put in the effort. They need to internalize that they can change their results by changing their process.

So, they need to know how to effectively create a process, alter it, and produce results from that process.

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