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How a growth mindset can help you learn more as an adult

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

As adults, we settle into jobs or careers, have families, and in many cases, learning takes a back seat. Unless you're in academia or have a very fast-paced career where you need to learn things quickly all the time, truly valuable learning just doesn't occur.

I don't mean that you're not constantly learning something new because most of us are; it's just that we tend to get stuck in a fixed mindset and grow or develop at a slow pace.

The growth mindset was mostly geared toward understanding the workplace, work ethic, and how employers and employees think. But, these days, it's about much more than that and has a lot to do with personal development.

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When I think of the whole growth vs. fixed mindset, the first person that comes to mind is Carol Dweck. In her book Mindset, she talks about how changing the way you think can help you develop and change your life.

She is the researcher who really developed this mindset theory, and she brought to light many interesting points and ideas.

I'm sharing some of these with you today to motivate you to keep on learning throughout your adult life.

Carol Dweck's research has shown that "growth" and "fixed" mindsets are often misunderstood by individuals and organizations. The real problem is that people don't quite understand what a growth mindset is, and they also don't know how to cultivate it.

Before I continue, let's look at the difference between fixed vs. growth mindset.

What is a fixed mindset?

There are people who have a fixed mindset, and this means they believe that their talents are inherent gifts and not learned. Basically, a fixed mindset refers to the belief that certain qualities cannot be altered or changed. This is the idea that you have a certain amount of intelligence, talent, and skill that you cannot change.

For example, referring to someone in a particular talent as a natural or saying you can never be good at it could be indicative of a fixed mentality.

On the other hand, a person with a fixed mindset can be overly confident. It sounds a bit snobbish, but people with a fixed mindset believe they are born smart and that they can learn things easily and don't have to constantly strive to learn more. So, they aren't always finding new ways to think, and problem solve.

What is a growth mindset?

Now those with a growth mindset are the opposite. They are people who believe that their talents can develop through hard work and good strategies, as well as input from others.

These people believe that they can learn continually and develop. Having this mindset makes you feel empowered and always ready to tackle any challenge.

Here's a definition from Carol Dweck: "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”.

Characteristics of people with a growth mindset:

  • believes that you can learn new skills and improve on them constantly

  • believes that effort and hard work can make you better at tasks

  • likes challenges

  • always wants to improve

  • appreciates feedback from others

  • sees failure as a way to try again and learn something new

  • doesn't feel threatened or jealous by the success of other people

What is an example of a growth mindset?

A person with a growth mindset will always try to understand something even if it doesn't work at first.

For example, an employee with a growth mindset will research alternative ways to fix a problem and try multiple methods while a person with a fixed mindset will attempt the classic solution and avoid finding an alternate solution.

So, it's all about finding different or unusual solutions. Problem-solving is the kind of skill that you can develop and learn all the time.

What happens when you take on a growth mindset?

Everything is determined depending on how you view yourself. The only way to grow is by letting go of the fixed mindset. With this fixed mindset, you're inclined to believe your strengths are indestructible, and you always try to prove your point over and over again rather than learning from your mistakes.

It is possible to make a significant impact by changing our beliefs. A growth mindset can ignite a passion for learning.

A growth mindset can bring real benefits. This mindset helps people to reframe how they approach challenges and to stay motivated to learn new skills. Instead of saying "I can’t do this," they say "I don't know how to do it".

Adopting a growth mindset can change how you think about your abilities, skills, and positive traits.

There are times when we feel we can't do something better or that we're bound to fail at certain tasks.

People who think and learn differently are more likely to face setbacks than others. They are often aware of when they're doing poorly and can doubt their abilities to improve. They may feel judged or criticized, which can lead to insecurity and defensiveness that can hinder their growth.

A growth mindset can have a huge impact on how people view challenges and how they feel about themself.

Cultivating this mindset begins in the classroom at a young age, and there are some amazing workbooks to help students shift towards problem-solving and cooperation.

An important study has shown that those students who adopt this growth mindset have higher math and language grades as well as a higher GPA.

But, as an adult, you should learn this psychological trick too because it will completely change your approach to work and just life in general.

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