Someone with a fixed mindset believes that things are static, or fixed. This person generally believes that their abilities are determined at birth and unlikely to change over time.
If you believe that things are fixed and that you can’t change anything, you may wonder why it’s even worth it to try anything at all. If you develop a growth mindset, however, you will be motivated to attempt different things and evaluate your efforts to see what shifts occur as a result. In other words, you’ll stay open and curious as you move through life.
When you have a growth mindset, you’re hungry to learn new things. If you try something and don’t succeed, you know that it’s not a personal failure, but just part of the process. Because of this, you’re more likely to put yourself in the path of new experiences and lessons to be learned.
We all face challenges in our lives, but with a growth mindset, you’re able to keep going in the face of obstacles. You know that everything along the journey teaches you a lesson. You do your best to learn along the way and iterate in the future, but the most important part is that you keep moving forward. Even if it’s hard not to think of less-than-ideal results as a “failure,” you’ll become more accustomed over time to applying a growth mindset and seeing yourself as a work in progress—as everyone is! You’ll become less afraid to “mess up” or “get it wrong” and feel more resilient overall.
While you can certainly grow and strengthen any of your skills, you also want to be true to yourself—as well as realistic. For instance, if you’ve never written anything before, it might be a leap to set a goal that you want to be an award-winning novelist by the end of the year! Yes, it’s true that anything can happen, but it’s wise to take your situation, priorities, and skill level into account.
Setting goals that are true to you also matters. If the goals line up with your values, you’ll be more motivated to work toward them and apply a growth mindset as you go. If you’re working toward goals because you feel like you “should” or because they’re important to someone else, you may lose motivation when you encounter challenges.
Spend some time contemplating who you want to be. How does that person act in various situations? How does that person feel? What matters to them? What do they spend their time doing and focusing on?
Then, reflect on actions you can take that will build a bridge between the current and future versions of yourself. If the person you want to be spends time volunteering in their community, could you start by researching some causes that matter to you and then reach out to those organizations?
Put yourself out there—a lot! Try things that are uncomfortable. Say yes to things you normally wouldn’t. The more you do this, the more you’ll realize that everything new feels scary at first and then usually becomes more comfortable over time. This is how you expand your comfort zone and continue to grow.
A simple piece of advice given to people who want to adopt growth mindset is to add the word “yet” to your vocabulary. If you aren’t good at something, how does it make you feel to think you’re just not good at it yet? Thinking this way can help cultivate patience with yourself and remind you that everyone was a beginner once.