Growth Mindset: How do you build one?

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Humans, on an average are cursed with fixed mindset. Case in point: You did an engineering course and will always be expected to do something around that.

But, Growth mindset transcends everything – and very few manage to imbibe growth mindset.

Here are some curated wisdom which will ‘open your mind’ to new opportunities.

1. Encourage employees to fail..for the long-term success of the company

Cultivating growth mindset in employees requires a big cultural shift, where 'success' is prided above everything else.

When change is the only constant, taking safe bets which could ensure short-term success but not lead to new avenues and growth in future could mean delinquency for the firm in future.

True potential of both the individual and company could only be realised when the employees are encouraged to look far and beyond, seek challenges and allowed to fail and thus learn with them.

"If leaders openly share their struggles and past failures, and what they learned from them and encourage others to do the same, they will show the value of a growth mindset."

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2. Nature v/s Nurture

When we advocate about ‘fixed’, we are giving the nature precedence. It’s like believing that we are born with a hard wired program, which cannot be altered.

When we believe in ‘growth’, we give ourselves a chance to overcome the ‘short-circuits’ of the nature through self ‘nurture’. When we explore our limits, we give nurture a chance, against nature.

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3. 'Gameful approach' is the key to achieve growth mindset

Psychological traits of successful gamers can teach us how to achieve growth mindset. 

The gamers have all the qualities which is imperative of a growth mindset; will power, hard work and perseverance. 

Employing this 'gameful approach' with children would help them overcome challenges both at school and in life.

"Bringing the psychological strengths you naturally display when you play games — such as optimism, creativity, courage, and determination — to your real life. It means having the curiosity and openness to play with different strategies to discover what works best. It means building up resilience to tackle tougher and tougher challenges with greater and greater success."

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4. [Redeining ]Talent = Genes*(hard work + persistence)

Growth Mindset has been taken as an universal one, like a fact. In truth, it is not and  there are other nuances which need to be considered.  Like external factors, which are beyond an individual’s control which hinders an individual’s ability to break the shackles.

The fact there are some element of genetics involved in a person’s mindset, can also be not completely negated or discounted.

The impact of the ‘way’ and ‘where’ the kids are brought also is not accounted for in the theory and hence a healthy disagreement is needed.

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5. Focus on building an ability, rather than boasting on ‘having one’ #GrowthMentality

The first step towards building a growth mindset is to keep one’s focus on acquiring different abilities (like playing a musical instrument, or acquiring a skill like programming), rather than feeling pride on having an ability inherently (like, boasting on being a ‘natural born swimmer’).

The fact of matter is we take some activities like fish to water, while we struggle at some, because sub-consciously we believe that we have been born with those traits and those which we do not have, it is almost impossible to acquire them.

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6. Growth Mindset is as much ‘system’ oriented as it is ‘individual’ oriented

The Growth Mindset theory has been focused on the ‘individual’, while the traits which makes or keeps a person ‘fixed’ is system or society oriented. While, working on an individual’s mindset can help that particular individual, it does not help to eradicate the disease.

Working on individual basis is a herculean task, while if the inherent structures of the system and society are tackled with a goal to bring in paradigm shift, it would help individuals en mass, overcome their ‘fixtures’.

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7. Growth Mindset, the revised version from Carol Dweck

Carol Dweck, the originator of the ‘Growth Mindset’ theory, analyses her work after many years, specially the way it has been implemented across the world and comes after the revision.

Growth mindset is not just about being persistent, it is also about trying new things and seeking feedback and input.

We all are a mix of ‘fixed’ and ‘growth’ mindset, and we need to accept this fact. There are always some challenges for which we are going to face ‘fixed mindset’. We need to work on those ‘triggers’.

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