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Growth Mindset - I changed the way I think

Growth Mindset - I changed the way I think

Growing up, I'm not sure how I developed a Fixed mindset. A thought came into my mind saying I could not do this and developed a feeling of not being good enough. Felt like having a glass ceiling. Developed a strong belief that I cannot sell; Self talked that I am not good at studies. Numerous thoughts repeatedly rant in my head of something I am lacking. 

Only when I got the opportunity to get exposed to the growth mindset concept, I changed the way I think. That very moment realized that I had a far greater potential. Over a period, I gained so much experience, knowledge, capabilities, and skills just by making a subtle change in my mindset; for instance, I believed of having a feeble memory; however, after an altercation in my mindset that I can improve my memory, it became evident that it's not about having a poor memory either it's a trained memory or an untrained memory. Started training my memory and learnt techniques for memorizing and recalling topics. Took step by step action, and after each action, I progressed. Eventually, it was nothing to do with my belief or capability. 

The problem arises when we tend to be correct. We put a conscious effort into being right, which makes us risk averse or fear failure. This fear of failure is one of the significant constraints in growth because we tend not to take chances or risks, which create a limiting boundary; however, a growth mindset talks about learning from failures and learning from mistakes, focusing on the progress rather than on the outcome. A growth mindset is all about unearthing the true potential by making affirmations in your head that anything can be learned by anyone if we put in enough effort. 

A few years ago, I discussed with two of my staff members, realizing they had a fixed mindset. I started coaching both of them simultaneously. To imbibe a growth mindset, I first introduced the concept of growth mindset, what it really meant, and what changes we need to make in our daily routines to embrace it. One of the staff put up a high resistance and still believed in a fixed mindset that his time is terrible; anything he does have to face too much resistance or too much of problems and challenges. He must go through unnecessarily complex situations, and nothing comes so easily. This conversation continued for over 6 months.

On the other hand, my other staff started to embrace a growth mindset where she recognized specific strengths and some improvement areas. Once she recognized the areas of improvement, she put up a simple plan to overcome those shortcomings; she made an effort to learn and, most importantly, practice and apply those learnings. Initially, there were no visible results, and she was disappointed; then, I shared an analogy: imagine sitting in a room at minus fifteen degrees centigrade. Using a manual device, you're trying to melt the ice by raising the room's temperature. Your constant efforts raised the room temperature from minus fifteen to minus fourteen and then to minus three. Yet, the ice doesn't melt, you may feel highly disappointed, however, remember ice does not melt until it reaches one degree, that doesn't mean all that effort been put so far has gone in vain, with little more effort when it reaches the tipping point at one degree it starts to melt, In this analogy, we know a metric that at one degree the ice will start to melt. After a couple of months, she made visible progress of her shortcomings which led her to get promoted in the next performance cycle. In real life, we don't know that tipping point, and this is the place many people give away. A growth mindset helps you to stay on course. 

Growth Mindset: As conceived by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck and colleagues, it is believed that a person's capacities and talents can be improved over time. Start believing that you will attain the skills and capabilities and effectively put them to use. You are bound to face numerous challenges and adversities along the way. Your mindset will help build resilience and allow you to be perseverant. You will live a purposeful life by being open to everyday challenges through learning and development. You will put aside thoughts of what has to happen in life and opt for acceptance of what life brings. In addition, swapping out negative framing like perfection and obstacle for positive ones such as opportunity and average will also help.

The following steps could help develop a growth mindset. 

  1. Determine where you are now: How do you consider yourself in the growth mindset pool now? Do you possess a growth mindset, and are you looking to make sure you stay that way? Or would you describe yourself as having a fixed mindset? Knowing where you stand to begin is the first phase. If you can't tell where to go, you don't know where you are.
  2. Understand why you want to develop a growth mindset: Pen down reasons that motivate change. Understanding this will give you a purpose during difficult stages.
  3. Shift your paradigm about Failure: Look at your failure as your current inability; however, it is a part of a learning process. As you embark on your promotion journey, you will face several obstacles, challenges, and setbacks; having a growth mindset helps you stay on track and promotes emotional intelligence. 

View all the challenges as opportunities for you to develop and grow. Work on your mindset; start with a Growth mindset, which will help take all adversities and challenges head-on. In this process, you will have better emotional intelligence and better clarity of thinking and execution.

About the Author

Dr. Parthiban Vijay Raghavan is an expert in solving an organization's complex problems through accurate diagnosis, designing, innovation, agility, and execution excellence. He is also expertise in Decision Making Process, Leadership Communication, OD, Learning Strategies, and implementation, He is a Certified OB/OD Professional.