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Sparking the Flame of the Growth Mindset

There's something that every human needs to believe with every fiber of their beings. And when they do, they will thrive. Period.

Your brain can grow stronger—measurably stronger—with time and effort.

A Growth Mindset fosters motivation, resilience, and persistence. A Fixed Mindset kills it.

Humans who believe that certain people are just born smarter are quicker to give up, believing that if they can't do something, it's because they aren't smart enough, creative enough, good enough, or whatever enough.

Humans who have a Growth Mindset are more likely to keep working hard towards a goal, believing that all that stands between them and success is the right amount of effort.Some humans are born believing this, but others are certain that they are as they are and that nothing will change that fact. They grow up believing this.

You’ve probably worked with people who don’t believe they can solve problems on their own—it’s frustrating and costly—especially since they don’t have to feel that way. Whether you’re a parent, a business owner, or both, encouraging someone who thinks they have limitations to exceed their own limits is one of the most rewarding experiences you’ll ever have.

There is a powerful way that we, as the authority figure in their lives, can nurture this belief and set them up to learn, grow, and flourish.

The Big Differences Between Fixed and Growth Mindsets

In Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, she explains that while a Fixed Mindset assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, a Growth Mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure, “not as evidence of unintelligence, but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities.”

The effects of mindset are amazing. Here are some of the big differences between a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset.

Giving Up vs. Persistence

If humans have a Fixed Mindset with underdeveloped instincts, then traditional learning styles are probably suppressing their love of learning, participation, and increasing their anxiety and pessimism around their education. This is true for kids in school or employees trying to succeed at work.

If humans have a Growth Mindset with well-developed instincts, then traditional education may not impact them negatively.

It’s all about knowing the person’s learning style.

When it comes to deciding if homeschooling is right for your child, you need to look at their current mindset and how standardized testing, grading systems, and classroom learning styles help or hinder them.

When it comes to deciding if you have the right employees in the right positions, you need to look at their learning style, upbringing, and how your company culture supports or works against them.

Lack of Confidence vs. Confidence

Humans with a Fixed Mindset are more likely to interpret difficulty as a clear sign they don’t have what it takes to be successful. If success means they are smart, then a lack of success means they’re dumb. Once humans believe this, their lack of confidence spills into other areas, eventually eroding their motivation and their love of learning.

Praising humans for effort, on the other hand, lets them feel better about trying again. They will interpret a lack of success as a sign to work a little harder or do things differently, rather than proof that they are deficient.

Avoid Challenge vs. Embrace Challenge

Do you know people who, when challenged to something, they’re all in or all out?

Humans with a Fixed Mindset are more likely to choose the easy task. Why? They believe their intelligence is fixed and won’t change, so they choose easy tasks to prove themselves. This leaves very little room for the vulnerability needed to learn and grow. Learning is all about starting at the edge of our capabilities and pushing beyond them.

Humans with a Growth Mindset will embrace challenge, seeing it as an opportunity to learn and grow. Do you see why encouraging a Growth Mindset is the first thing you should be focusing on, no matter what educational path they are on or the role they play in your company?

Failure: Personal Deficiency vs. Opportunity to Learn

Humans with a Fixed Mindset will be more likely to interpret failure as proof of their limited capability. Failure isn't so bad for humans with a Growth Mindset. They have a healthy attitude towards failure, seeing it as an opportunity to learn. Even when disappointed, their confidence stays up, and they find it easy to believe they'll succeed if they keep working at it.

Is this not something to strive to support in our employees and co-workers?

Hiding the Struggle vs. Seeking Help

Humans who believe results are directly related to how smart they are currently will be more likely to hide their struggles and lie about their mistakes. These are the humans that describe themselves as “smart” or “not smart.” They see mistakes as proof the world sees them as “stupid” or incapable. On the other hand, humans with a Growth Mindset are more likely to seek help when something gets in their way, believing the capability is in them, but they just need help getting it out.

Whether it is your child asking for help on homework or for a tutor, or an employee raising their hand and asking for support to get the job done, both are examples of a Growth Mindset. Where our kids and employees “fail” is in being too embarrassed or scared to try and fail, fail and ask for help, and try again until they master it.

As a parent, I don't have to tell you that you want to raise successful kids—we all do—but what I would remind the business owners and leaders of is that we need to create an environment around us that fosters a Growth Mindset. Often , this requires us to go inward and see what we need to change about ourselves to make it happen.

Growth Mindset at Work

I believe an organization that adopts a Growth Mindset can position itself to thrive. At Brandlync, we define a Growth Mindset as a set of attitudes and behaviors that reflect the belief that an individual’s talents are not set in stone. Talent can be developed. Intelligence can be fostered. Creativity and innovation can be strengthened. Leaders can emerge. People hold potential. My leadership team incorporates these principles into company meetings, compensation plans, promotion requirements, and internal communication, as well as how we encourage each other.

This means every employee within my organization has to have the ability to develop, grow, and learn. I believe if more companies worked to help each of their employees’ progress, advance in their roles, take on more leadership capabilities, and constantly evolve their skills and thinking, we as a global community would thrive as a whole.


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