What is a growth mindset?

A growth mindset means that you thrive on challenges and you view failure as a means for growth and learning. When you have a growth mindset you believe in your ability to get better through hard work and help from others. A growth mindset is contrasted with a fixed mindset.

Carol Dweck, a professor of psychology at Stanford University is the author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success (Ballantine Books). Her research found that how a person perceives their abilities – their mindset – had an impact on their motivation and achievement. For example, students who believe their intelligence can be developed (growth mindset) outperformed students who believed their intelligence was fixed (fixed mindset).

What are important characteristics of a growth mindset?

The two most important characteristics of a growth mindset are a willingness to learn and ambition to improve. A growth mindset is not equated to effort. We all have a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. For example, a person with keen strategic ability to identify trends in the market and opportunities in the business might also have a fixed mindset that they are not well suited for operational roles. They have a growth mindset for one business activity (strategy) and a fixed mindset about another (operations). A growth mindset is fostering a belief that you can tackle complications and address obstacles. You don’t give up.

How can you foster a growth mindset?

To build a growth ambition, first, pay attention to your self-talk – if you are preoccupied with concerns about failure and convincing yourself not to take a risk, that is an indication of a fixed mindset. Next, reframe your thinking to focus on the potential benefits of trying something new, such as learning. Find people who will encourage you to try. Follow through with action and discover what happens.