What Everybody Should Know About Improving Their Life

What A Difference A Growth Mindset Makes

What if Helen Keller had never learned to communicate?

growth mindset learning

She was deaf and blind, and most people of her day didn’t believe anyone with those handicaps could amount to much in society.

When Anne Sullivan came into Helen’s life, she thought differently than most teachers of her day. She believed Helen could learn to communicate, and she
brought Helen’s greatness to life.

Helen grew up to become an author, political activist and lecturer.

A prolific author, Keller was well-traveled and outspoken in her convictions. A member of the Socialist Party of America and the Industrial Workers of the World, she campaigned for women’s suffrage, labor rights, socialism, antimilitarism, and other similar causes.

source: Wikipedia

You and I aren’t deaf or blind, but we may struggle with our own limited thinking about ourselves and our talents.

For example, I struggle when I think about building a business or being an entrepreneur.

But learning about growth mindset is changing my perception of my learning process from “struggle” to “opportunity.”

You and I can improve our quality of life by adopting a growth mindset.

Top 3 Tips To Improve Your Growth Mindset

Tip #1. Understand what a growth mindset is.

Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, contrasts the growth mindset with a fixed mindset.

In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting
their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.

In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.

source: Mindset Online

Tip #2. Start challenging your fixed mindset

We all grow up hearing lots of “voices” – from our parents, from our teachers, from our peers, from society.

What has society told you about being autistic or Aspergian?

I won’t argue that communication, relating, and socializing can be much more difficult for those on the spectrum.

But, having spoken with Daniel Wendler in episode 44, he convinced me of how much a growth mindset can expand your skill set.

Think about playing the piano.

You may say to yourself, “I’m just not musical.”

But if you decide to take some lessons, you can learn to play! You may not end up being a world class pianist, but you can become “good enough”.

We can always expand our capacity beyond where we are now.

Carol Dweck shares four steps to change from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Step 1. Learn to hear your fixed mindset “voice”

These are the thoughts that go through your mind when you approach a challenge.

Here are some voices you might recognize –

“Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.”

“You shouldn’t have tried that new challenge – if you really had talent, it might have worked, but now you’ve shown everyone how limited you are.”

Step 2. Recognize that you can choose your response to the fixed mindset “voice”.

You can choose how to interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism.

Either you can think from a fixed mindset.

(I’m not talented enough, I don’t have abilities).

Or you can adopt a growth mindset, seeing challenges, setbacks, and criticism as signs to ramp up your strategies and efforts, stretch yourself, and expand your abilities.

Step 3. Talk back to yourself with a growth mindset voice.

As you approach a challenge:

FIXED-MINDSET says “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.”

THE GROWTH-MINDSET answers, “I’m not sure I can do it now, but I think I can learn to with time and effort.”

FIXED MINDSET: “What if you fail—you’ll be a failure”

GROWTH MINDSET: “Most successful people had failures along the way.”

FIXED MINDSET: “If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”

GROWTH MINDSET: “If I don’t try, I automatically fail. Where’s the dignity in that?”

As you hit a setback:

FIXED MINDSET: “This would have been a snap if you really had talent.”

GROWTH MINDSET: “That is so wrong. Basketball wasn’t easy for Michael Jordan and science wasn’t easy for Thomas Edison. They had a passion and put in tons of effort.”

As you face criticism:

FIXED MINDSET: “It’s not my fault. It was something or someone else’s fault.”

GROWTH MINDSET: “If I don’t take responsibility, I can’t fix it. Let me listen—however painful it is– and learn whatever I can.”

Step 4. Take the growth mindset action.

Approach your next challenge wholeheartedly. Learn from your next setback and try again. Hear the criticism that comes your way and act on any part that is valid, while letting go of the bad.

Tip#3 Break Bigger Goals Into Micro-Goals

Grow your confidence by celebrating the smallest “wins” toward your goals.

One of the best things a wise counselor once told me was to make a list of my “victories” at the end of the day.

At that time in my life, I struggled with filtering out these victories and focusing only on my shortcomings.

In the same way, you learn to enjoy the process of learning and growth when you celebrate small “wins” along the way.

Challenge Your Fixed Mindset And Improve Your Life

Personal growth and learning bring satisfaction and significance in our lives.

You and I can grow when we start to challenge our fixed mindset that holds us back from pushing through challenges, setbacks, and criticism.

Save this article and refer to it often.  Start recognizing and talking back to your fixed mindset.  Then take small actions every day toward your goals.

I look forward to hearing about your growth!