One of the most powerful mindset shifts you can make is to decide to embrace a growth mindset. For some, this is a radical change as they’ve become accustomed to a fixed mindset, or a limited view of their potential. But in order to reach your full potential, you have to make the switch and believe not only that growth is possible, but that you have the ability to direct it where you want to go.
Let’s break down the differences between a fixed mindset and growth mindset.
People with a fixed mindset believe that they are who they are, and there’s not much if anything they can do to change that. People with a fixed mindset believe they were born with certain talents or abilities, and while they may discover things over time, they really can’t change who they are. Since they can’t really change who they are, they get upset when confronted with failure because they view their failure as a judgment that they aren’t good enough as a person. They don’t realize that everyone fails sometimes, and they do whatever they can to avoid these situations, including making up excuses, projecting blame on other people, and lashing out emotionally at people and circumstances that challenge their idea of who they are and what they are good at.
People with a growth mindset have a completely different attitude towards failure. Because people with a growth mindset believe that they are always changing, they view failure as an opportunity to learn and improve. They view failure as a teacher, and try to glean as much wisdom and insight from the fact that they weren’t successful to do better next time. It’s a much healthier approach to learning.
But you can take the concept of a growth mindset even further by applying it in a specific direction. If you have a growth mindset and believe who you are is always changing, the next step is to channel that belief in the direction that you want to grow. You don’t need to simply accept whatever life throws in your lap and hope to do the best with it – you can choose the direction you want to grow and define who you want to become. There are obviously limits with this, but they aren’t as significant as you might think. There are even examples of people who have never played a sport before embracing a growth mindset to become a professional through a concept called *deliberate practice*. In his book, Peak, Dr. Anders Ericsson defines deliberate practice as “purposeful practice that knows where it is going and how to get there.” It’s pushing yourself to get better at something by practicing one small aspect of it in order to become excellent at it. Using this approach, coupled with the practice of goal setting, is powerful, because it means that you have the ability to not only visualize, but to actually create, your ideal future.