Updated: Sep 17, 2021
What you can learn from your past mistakes and how they can lead you to success instead of failure.
The concept of growth mindset was developed by Carol Dweck who spent years researching personality and social psychology, examining the mindsets people use to guide their behaviour. Her goal was to explore the origins of these mindsets and how they can affect people's motivation and self-regulation, and how they impact performance and personal processes.
According to Carol, our mindset is influenced by the way we perceive ourselves and by our own worldview. As a result, Carol distinguishes between two main types of mindsets: fixed and growth mindsets. A fixed mindset refers to the type of character who avoids challenges, gives up easily, tends to ignore negative feedback, and does not try to fix their mistakes. This means that you believe your intelligence is fixed. So if you are not good at something, you think you will never be good at it. This kind of mindset leads to reactions that can't help you grow up. After all, if you perceive negative feedback as a flaw, you are likely to ignore it. The same thing can happen with mistakes. Fixed mindsets tend to hide or ignore mistakes: For example, I pick on my professor when I fail an exam.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, means that you believe your talents and intelligence can develop over time. This type of mindset looks for professionals or experts to give them advice because they know they will receive strong, but very valuable feedback. As for mistakes, the growth mindset sees mistakes as indicators of opportunity: if I made a mistake, it means I can do better.
It is important to be aware of this issue because nowadays, more and more companies and businesses, especially those involved in digital services, are looking for employees who exhibit a growth mindset. In digital businesses, it is important to be willing to take care of what customers want. People need to make mistakes in order to improve and learn how to do things. If you are a person who is willing to care about customers and learn from past mistakes, then you are suited to work in the digital market. Microsoft is just one example of such a company. The information technology company announced that it has changed its HR policies and the way it looks at its business by embracing the concept of growth mindset. Companies are looking for employees who are not intimidated by negative feedback, but see it as an opportunity to change and improve themselves. A growth mindset also comes with benefits, such as less burnout, fewer psychological problems like depression or anxiety, and fewer behavioural problems.
However, we do not need to confuse growth mindset with positive mindset. There are some phrases we often find on our social media that might resemble a philosophy of growth mindset, but the reality is different:
Social Media Reality "Every mistake that you make leads to improvement" → "Every mistake that you correct leads to improvement. "Failure is just another word for "grow" → Failure is an opportunity to see where and how you can grow "Every time you make a mistake, you take a step forward" → Every time you learn from a mistake, you take a step forward.
We may ask ourselves, "Can a person's mindset change?". Researchers have shown that a person's brain can continue to evolve through adulthood because it can form new connections. This means that a fixed mindset can develop into a growth mindset. There are several actions you can take to develop a growth mindset: 1. Recognise that you can improve. As we said earlier, our brains are there to grow and learn. So when you start challenging yourself with new experiences, you create neural connexions that help your brain grow, which in turn makes you smarter. 2. Get feedback. Recent studies have shown that students who receive feedback on what they did well and what they can improve on are motivated by it to keep going. 3. Accept failure as part of the process. Failure is something that can happen when you are at the beginning of the process. So it's okay to fail and make mistakes, as long as you see them as opportunities to learn and improve. In conclusion, these are some tips that anyone can follow to develop a growth mindset. Remember that if you feel more as a "fixed mindset", it does not mean you will stay fixed forever, there is always an opportunity to improve, you just need to be determined.
Want to learn more about this? Take the test: https://www.mindsethealth.com/self-tests/mindset-quiz
Written by: Valeria Unich