Productivity and GTD

Why You Need a Growth Mindset and How You Can Get It

AUTHOR: Francisco Sáez
“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve.” ~ Debbie Millman
Growth mindset

It is said that you have a growth mindset if you are one of those people who believe that—by investing enough time, effort and study—you will be able to acquire any ability. If you believe abilities are innate and that, simply, there is no way of doing that for what you were not born, then you have a fixed mindset.

Those with a fixed mindset are very afraid of failure because they see it as a sign of weakness or lack of ability in a given field. People with a growth mindset don’t care much about failure because they know that they can learn from it and therefore improve their performance.

Carol Dweck, Ph.D. in Psychology and professor at Standford University, has studied how these types of mindsets influence peoples’ lives. She has concluded that people with growth mentality are more successful in every aspect of their lives and live with lower stress levels (you can read the outcome of her research in her book of 2006, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success).

Someone with a fixed mindset sees effort as something unnecessary. They will tend to avoid challenges, surrender when obstacles appear, ignore criticisms and feel threaten with someone else’s success. As a consequence, they will become stagnant and will never reach their potential.

Someone with a growth mindset perceives effort as the necessary path to mastery. They will accept challenges despite the risk, fight against adversities, learn from criticisms and find inspiration in someone else’s success.

Good news is that it’s possible to work on a fixed mindset and transform it into a growth one. The best way to achieve this is through deliberate practice. You have to take active part, and take some steps which are against your beliefs. It’s your daily actions the ones that change the perception of yourself.

For example, if you have given up doing sports because you think it’s not your thing, try to run only one kilometer at a pace you feel comfortable with. Do it again another day, and another… and another. In a few days you will be easily running two kilometers and in some weeks, five. As months go by you will see that you can even increase your speed little by little and achieve decent times. Contrary to what you believe, your identity could end up including the word “athlete”.

If you think that “being organized” is not for you and that you are a natural procrastinator, then you are limiting very much your personal development and you’ll waste a good part of your life just by not trying to improve. Start by practicing the steps that will make you more productive. Concentrate on the process, not on the final outcome (it will come later), and the transformation will happen.

growth mindset infographic

2 comments

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7
Commented over 2 years ago Cyrus

Great article. I like how the blog is covering a wide spectrum of topics ranging from processes to self-reflection. Keep it up.

As for me, I believe I was a fixed mindset when I was younger. Especially in high school, where I was mostly concerned about fitting in. Which is to say, I didn't want to be the smartest kid or the dumbest kid in class. This kept me from trying out for various sports teams, asking out that pretty girl everyone said was out of my league, and attempting new things. Very damaging, to be honest. I was so concerned about failure that I didn't try. I stuck with what I was good at and nothing more. I lived a life a mediocrity.

Now, in my 40's, I see the world and my career very differently. I am very much a growth mindset kind of guy. I see challenges as opportunities, failure as a type of success, and value everything based on how much I can learn, grow, and change from it. I do what I can to challenge my own children to find their boundaries and push past them, to take risk after calculating what there is to truly lose, and never accept failure as a finality.

What is comes down to, in my opinion, is emotional maturity and emotional intelligence. If we feel frightened and insecure, we do small things and never see the big picture. If we let go and realize that mistakes will happen and there is not a darn thing wrong with that, then the world is your oyster. Some of this has to do with the environment you live and work in. A troubled household and demoralized workplace will most certainly foster a fixed mindset mentality. An open and creative environment that encourages and makes room for everyone to explore will plant the succeeds of success and allow the individual to grow beyond measure.

8bb2c9a97155fbcffcc91ca918d103c7 Cyrus

Great article. I like how the blog is covering a wide spectrum of topics ranging from processes to self-reflection. Keep it up.

As for me, I believe I was a fixed mindset when I was younger. Especially in high school, where I was mostly concerned about fitting in. Which is to say, I didn't want to be the smartest kid or the dumbest kid in class. This kept me from trying out for various sports teams, asking out that pretty girl everyone said was out of my league, and attempting new things. Very damaging, to be honest. I was so concerned about failure that I didn't try. I stuck with what I was good at and nothing more. I lived a life a mediocrity.

Now, in my 40's, I see the world and my career very differently. I am very much a growth mindset kind of guy. I see challenges as opportunities, failure as a type of success, and value everything based on how much I can learn, grow, and change from it. I do what I can to challenge my own children to find their boundaries and push past them, to take risk after calculating what there is to truly lose, and never accept failure as a finality.

What is comes down to, in my opinion, is emotional maturity and emotional intelligence. If we feel frightened and insecure, we do small things and never see the big picture. If we let go and realize that mistakes will happen and there is not a darn thing wrong with that, then the world is your oyster. Some of this has to do with the environment you live and work in. A troubled household and demoralized workplace will most certainly foster a fixed mindset mentality. An open and creative environment that encourages and makes room for everyone to explore will plant the succeeds of success and allow the individual to grow beyond measure.

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb
Commented over 2 years ago Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus,

My experience is similar to yours. Over the years I have evolved from a more fixed mindset to a more growth mindset.

Is it age or maturity a relevant factor to this issue? Perhaps, I do not know ;)

Always a pleasure!

Fcb879f1bc70aa0f661b842011f280fb Francisco Sáez

Hi Cyrus,

My experience is similar to yours. Over the years I have evolved from a more fixed mindset to a more growth mindset.

Is it age or maturity a relevant factor to this issue? Perhaps, I do not know ;)

Always a pleasure!

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