According to Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck in her book Mindset: The New Psychology, the way we think about our own talents and abilities has a big influence on our successes professionally, academically and personally. Dweck identifies two starkly different mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. Those with a fixed mindset believe that abilities like intelligence and creativity are fixed and cannot be changed in an significant way. Conversely, those with a growth mindset believe such abilities can be developed through hard work and practice, despite obstacles and potential failure. Adopting a growth mindset as an individual, but also as a group or team, can be pivotal to success.
It is the nature of a growth mindset to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, view effort as a path to mastery, learn from criticism and find inspiration in others’ success. For these reasons, the growth mindset elicits a sense of freedom, resilience and opportunity. The growth mindset is “about stretching yourself to learn something new,” says Dweck.
Someone with a growth mindset accepts that it is impossible to know what good things might come from effort, which makes achievement of goals, quality relationships and both internal and external exploration far more likely. Though often, mindsets are instilled at an early age, Dweck believes that individuals can be guided towards a growth mindset. A growth mindset, it seems, can change everything. “When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world,” Dweck says.