Whether it’s taking personal risks to reach more challenging goals to creating healthier relationships, research links the growth mindset to a myriad of benefits. Professionals are seeking these benefits now more than ever, according to the online learning platform Udemy, courses in the category of ‘growth mindset’ jumped by 231 percent between mid-March and mid-April. This seems especially important during the current crisis, as a growth mindset works to increase resilience and ability to adapt to change amid the global lockdown.
What is a Growth Mindset?
When your thoughts are driven by negative intentions, such as material items or the desire to prove someone wrong, they may often be self-sabotaging. Suffering and unnecessary sacrifices are choices you can decide to stop by being open to self-development. A fixed mindset creates the urgency to prove yourself over and over. Often with a fixed mindset, you may strive for success, but avoid taking initiative to avoid failure. This could lead to an early plateau or not reaching your full potential.
Mindsets manifest at a young age and are responsible for a great deal of our behavior, relationship with professional and personal outcomes. With a growth mindset, individuals develop the belief that basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. A crucial factor in developing a growth mindset is accepting mistakes as an opportunity to improve.
The concept of ‘growth mindset’ came from Stanford University psychologist and professor Carol Dwek, who defined it as “one where intelligence can be developed.” Someone with a growth mindset has the desire to learn, embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, accept criticism and is inspired by others.
How to Practice a Growth Mindset
Get Enough Sleep
Lack of sleep can lead to low heart rate variability (HRV). Research has shown a relationship between low HRV and worsening depression and anxiety. Low HRV is even associated with an increased risk of death and cardiovascular disease. Getting enough sleep may be the easiest way to improve both your mental and physical health.
Gratitude allows you to magnify positive emotions and counteract negative ones, such as regret or envy. According to the UCLA Mindfulness Awareness Research Center, regularly expressing gratitude changes the molecular structure of the brain and keeps the gray matter functioning making individuals healthier and happier. Each day, take time to write down three things you are grateful for and you’ll understand how you can use this gratitude to accept, learn and grow. Berkeley also has a guide to help practice finding the silver linings in your life daily.
Surround Yourself with Positive Influences
We’ve all heard the phrase “birds of a feather flock together.” If you are currently surrounded by negative people who have no hopes for their future and low standards or expectations for themselves, you’ll become like them. It’s important to plant yourself around those who are excited about life and creating a future, as you will see your behaviors and mindset mimic these intentions. Leadership conferences are great networking opportunities to expand your mind to new possibilities and ideas in an atmosphere of like-minded people.
Pay Attention to Your Words and Thoughts
When you feel a negative thought coming on, take time to address it and change it into a positive one. For example, replace judgment with acceptance and hate with compassion. By tuning in to your inner monologue and changing perspectives, you’ll be better equipped to stay positive and maintain a growth mindset.
When you are dealing with challenges, think of them as opportunities. How you perceive your circumstances greatly impacts how you embrace them. Use difficult situations as opportunities to grow abilities.
Set Goals and Track Your Growth
Creating milestones and deadlines to ensure you follow through with your goals allows you to reinvent yourself to become your best self. Start by writing a list of things you are grateful for each day or read a chapter of a book before bed each night. Not only will these practices help develop other skills, having a goal and staying on track will motivate you to continue. By recording your progress, you will be able to see your growth and be encouraged to make new, more challenging goals that you’ll have the confidence to achieve.
A growth mindset is not something that will be achieved overnight. Take the time to learn about how you can implement best practices. Reach out for advice and mentorship from professionals who have faced similar challenges. First-hand experience can provide insight and show you ways to overcome obstacles.
There are also a wide variety of online courses available. LinkedIn has several courses on cultivating and adopting a growth mindset. Coursera offers a free course on how a growth mindset can help you succeed and Udemy has 17 courses on the subject, only one is free.
Your emotions and beliefs have energetic influences on your body and influence your core belief system. Taking time to address how these emotions influence your mindset and prevent you from becoming the best version of yourself is the first step to becoming growth-oriented. Take charge of how you perceive your life to adopt a new open mind, embrace new challenges and create lasting success.
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