If Carol Dweck’s theories about mindset stopped at the point where she discovered that there are essentially two mindsets and that that is where the research would stop, I think that would leave a lot left to be desired. But Carol Dweck took her idea of mindset and sought out how to take someone from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Her research clearly demonstrates that someone with a growth mindset is going to have a lot more opportunities in their life. Therefore, if you can present a way to take someone from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, you have the opportunity to make a huge impact on their life.

So a key factor we need to understand is that mindsets can be changed. This is something that Carol has shown over and over again in her research by working with people. You think in terms of “What is your mindset?” I think that is going to help you, moving forward, and taking a serious look at your inner dialogue. A lot of what Carol’s theories is based on is the voice that’s in your head and telling you how you’re supposed to interpret things that are being presented to you, whether it’s a challenge, a failure, an opportunity, or feedback.

A big part of how you’re reacting to that is based on the inner dialogue that you have going on. So we take a moment to look at the fixed mindset and the growth mindset again. There’s going to be a lot of benefit to move to the growth mindset. You’re going to deal with setbacks better, you can learn from criticism faster, you’re going to be inspired by other people. We’re thinking in terms of that voice – that inner voice that’s telling you how you’re supposed to react.

We can look at a webpage from Carol’s blog and look at some of the key factors that she suggests on how you can move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

Step one is to learn to listen to that voice. A lot of how you are reacting to different things and interpreting their meaning is based on the inner dialogue that you’re telling yourself about what that means. I believe it was William Shakespeare that said, “Nothing either good or bad. Only thinking makes it so.” This is an excellent example. If you think something is bad, then you will view it as bad. If you think it is an opportunity, you will be able see it as an opportunity. So if you start paying attention to that inner voice, that is going to help you understand how you’re actually reacting. Once you realize that you can perhaps ignore that inner dialogue, you actually have a choice on how you can view something and see it as an opportunity or a challenge that’s going to be a setback.

Once you realize that you have this inner dialogue running is you can talk back to it. This is one of the recommendations that you have to do. You have to challenge this idea that is consistent with the way that you have lived your life up until this point. By talking back to it, you are challenging those ideas. “I am a failure. (NO, I am not a failure.) I just did not do this the way that I expected to do it” or” I just feel like doing this properly. I can learn from this the next time I do it. I can take that knowledge and I can do it right.”

Failure is not the final result of your attempt at learning something new. It’s only a step in the process. Action is going to be a key factor in helping you address your fixed mindset and moving towards a growth mindset. If you are going to be presented with a challenge and you are going to hold yourself back because you are thinking about all of the negative things that are going to happen and you resist taking that challenge on, it is going to limit yourself. However, if you are willing to take action on that challenge faster, that is going to reduce the opportunity that your brain has to come up with all of that inner dialogue of all the reasons why this should be avoided or why this failure is a reflection on you as a person rather than just one more step in the process. The faster that you can move through the entire process by taking action and moving on to the next step, the easier the entire process becomes. Seeing criticism as a way for you to improve on the next action and seeing it as something that can be corrected. You can correct it the next time or you still might have the opportunity to get feedback and correct it now. So these are things that you can pass on to someone else and help them understand that having a growth mindset is going to help them in so many different ways when they’re learning something or changing their behavior. It will make it far easier for you to present some new information or help them do something in a new way.

I just want to take a few minutes to chat about my own personal experience. I was enlightened by reading Carol Dweck’s book and I have realized that there are many cases where I had a tendency to have more of a fixed mindset and it is still something that I feel that I need to address on a regular basis so that I can have more of a growth mindset and that I am going to embrace challenges better. I’m going to persist more in the face of setbacks and the whole process of learning is an ongoing process. So I just want to take a few minutes and highlight from my personal experience.

Some of the key factors that I think that have helped me as an individual move from more of a tendency for a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. One of the key factors is learning is a continuous process. It is not the end result that you are working towards. It is a series of steps and each step provides you with the opportunity to celebrate and improve on the process and grow as a person. Therefore, if you’re looking at it more as a process as opposed to an end result, there are a lot more opportunities for you to correct. If you get off course, you can make a small course adjustment, you can get back on track. If you’re looking at it from a fixed mindset perspective, getting off course becomes very challenging because you feel like you might not be able to get back on track and that you’re going to be totally unable to succeed. Learning is a continuous process and it never really ends. You’re never going to reach that point where you have a perfect set of knowledge or that you’re going to be able produce the perfect result. The sooner you come to terms with that, the more you’re going to be comfortable with the fact that whatever you’re going to produce is not going to be 100% perfect. You need to get comfortable dealing with feedback and the best way for you to get comfortable dealing with feedback is to seek out more feedback. The more times you can get feedback and dealing with the fact that it might be hard for you to hear it and it might be something that’s going to be challenging for you and perhaps on some level, it’s going to hurt. You might feel like you poured your heart and soul into something but it didn’t work out exactly the way you want it.

Feedback is an opportunity for you to correct and move forward. The sooner you get that feedback and make those adjustments, the better you’re going to feel. Now, you’ve moved from a place where you have to deal with the failure to now you’re going to have information that you can use to take action and to correct the behavior in the future. It moves you from someone who is feeling like you’re having a negative experience to someone who is empowered and can take action and fix whatever you’re dealing with. You need to know that mistakes will happen. Prepare yourself to deal with it. You will not do everything 100%. If you are not making any mistakes, you are not learning anything. So therefore, if you’re going to learn something new or you’re going to start changing behavior, mistakes will happen. You need to understand that you have a process in place for dealing with that. When you’re teaching someone a new behavior and it is focusing on farm safety, you need to provide a safe environment to allow them to practice doing the behavior in a safe environment so that that is where you allow them to make mistakes and that you can correct that and help them deal with it in a more proactive manner.

We talked about this a little earlier. Perfection does not exist. So if you have a fixed mindset and you are working towards the perfect result, you will continually be disappointed because perfection does not exist anywhere in the world. The sooner you come to terms with that, the easier it’s going to be for you to adopt a growth mindset because what you can do is you can produce something that is not perfect. You give yourself permission not to produce something perfect and then you put it out there and you get feedback. A good example of this is the whole movement behind the minimum viable product with the idea of you not spending years and years to try to come up with the perfect product because it doesn’t exist. So what you do is you come up with something that is a representation of what you want to achieve and let other people tell you what they think about it and give you feedback. If you’re going to want to improve on what you’re doing, look to what other people have done successfully. Why would you want to invent all of the different steps by yourself when there are tons of people out there that you can learn from who have done it successfully before you? If they can do it, you can do it. It’s simply a process that you can follow and if you understand what the steps are, you can duplicate their results. Develop an inquisitive mind and always think in terms of asking questions. In order for you to ask a question, you have to present the assumption that you don’t know and you are admitting that you don’t have all the answers. This places you in a position where you are receptive to the information that other people are providing for you. It’s the same thing on the terms of feedback. When you are asking questions, you’re asking for feedback or suggestions. If you are going to view that information in a positive manner, you are going to apply that to your current situation. It is going to make a huge difference. PLUS, the more questions that you ask along the entire process, perhaps the more mistakes that you can avoid. You get feedback sooner throughout the entire process and instead of going off by yourself and working on something and then presenting it and then asking for feedback, if you are continuously asking questions throughout the entire process, you can make smaller course adjustments and when you present something and you need feedback on it, it’s not going to be as far off the mark as it could be if you were working on it by yourself in an isolated environment.

At the end of the day, failure doesn’t feel good. So you need to get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. This is something that I feel like I am still struggling with and it’s not that easy. It’s easy to say “get comfortable feeling uncomfortable.” Sure. But it’s hard to put yourself in that position all the time. The reality is, if you’re going to learn something, you’re going to make mistakes. Making mistakes are going to feel uncomfortable. You’re going to be getting feedback. Some of the feedback, you may feel like it is a negative reflection on yourself and that it might be a bitter pill to swallow. However, that is going to help you learn and do the proper behavior in the future. Asking questions – if you’re going to be asking questions, you have to put out there that you don’t know all the answers. If you’re someone who likes to give off the impression that you know everything and have all the answers, putting yourself out there to ask questions becomes feeling uncomfortable.

So I hope you found this useful, moving from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset as much as possible. It’s going to have a huge impact on all aspects of your life. The more that you can move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset, the more opportunities you are going to have and the more successes you’re going to have, the more success you can have with someone else when you’re trying to help them change their behavior and do something new or in a different process.