Research in positive psychology has revealed quite a few different ingredients to being successful. However, none may be more important in whether or not you succeed as having a growth mindset.
When I was in middle school, I enrolled in band and began learning to play the saxophone. At this point, all the other saxophone players had been playing for a full year. Needless to say, I was lacking in skills and had a lot of work ahead of me. Determined to be the best saxophone player I could be, I dove in and started practicing regularly.
Towards the end of the school year, we were scheduled to have a spring concert. A week before the concert, we had tryouts for who would sit in first chair, second chair and so forth at the concert. At the time, I was fourth chair out of five. Determined to move up the chair ladder, I practiced for hours every night.
Finally, the big day came. I can still remember it well. I was extremely nervous. In fact, I was so nervous that while I was playing, my friend made a comment about how much my fingers were trembling.
I really had no idea what chair I would receive, but I was ready to give it my all.
After everyone had played the song, to my surprise and I believe to everyone else’s, the instructor pronounced me first chair. I was stunned. Through my hard work, I had risen in one year from last chair, to first.
I don’t tell you this story to impress you, believe me, I really wasn’t that good. But rather to demonstrate the power of a growth mindset.
To understand a growth mindset, let’s first look at its counterpart, a fixed mindset.
Begin by asking yourself the following question.
- When you are learning something new, and it is a struggle to do so, which are you likely to tell yourself?
- I guess I’m not smart enough to learn this.
- This is challenging, but if I stick with it, I can figure out how to do it.
If you say something similar to the first reply, then you have a fixed mindset. If your answer is closer to the second statement, then you have what psychologists call a growth mindset.
Successful people in all endeavors have a growth mindset. They see problems as opportunities to learn and grow. Basically, this means that no matter what they are doing, they know if they work hard enough and long enough, they can discover how to get it done. They don’t believe that intelligence is fixed, nor do they believe any challenge is out of their abilities to solve.
Less successful people have a fixed mindset. People with this belief see struggle as a sign that they are not smart enough in that area. They tell themselves if it doesn’t happen for them immediately, then they must not be any good at it. As a result, they give up before they even give themselves a chance to succeed.
The reality is that success is a result of taking action, learning from your results and trying again. The more action you take, the more results you get and the faster you will master what you are attempting to learn.
Author Malcolm Gladwell points out in his book Blink, how those considered to be the best in their field have been practicing their craft for a minimum of 10,000 hours. At six hours a day every day of the year that is a little over four and a half years of practice. My point here is that anyone can learn to do just about anything, we all have the potential. The question is, do you have the desire and the tenacity to stick it out until you begin to master the skills needed to become who you wish to be?
To gain success in what you do, you will have to incorporate a growth mindset into the process. You will have to get into action and notice what works for you and what doesn’t. Then you will have to alter your approach, try something new and measure your results. It’s not whether you were born to succeed that matters, it how bad you want to make your dreams come true.
Question: Do you need to develop a growth mindset? You can leave a comment by clicking here.