You’ve probably heard the terms “growth” and “fixed” mindset thrown around. But what exactly do they mean, what are the key differences between the two and how can your mindset have a big impact on your chosen career in tech?
Let’s take a look…
Fixed mindset vs growth mindset
The best way to gauge the difference between these two mindsets is to break them down into short, sharp examples.
People with a fixed mindset believe…
- You’re either good at something or you’re not
- Your abilities are pretty much set in stone
- There’s a limit to potential, a limit that you are born with
- Finding something challenging and frustrating is a sign that you should try something else
- Criticism is always a bad thing
- People should stick to what they know
People with a growth mindset believe…
- Talent is a mixture of ability and hard work that is ever-evolving
- Skills and attributes aren’t fixed – we can always learn something new
- Failure gives you an opportunity to learn and evolve
- You’re never too old to learn something new
- Criticism can help you grow and improve
- You can use the success of others as an inspiration
- There’s always a lesson to be learnt if you’re paying attention
- The willingness to learn is as important as the ability to learn
The benefits of a growth mindset
With just a quick glance at the points above, it should come as no surprise that having a growth mindset gives you a huge advantage. Not only from a career point of view – in terms of widening your skillset, advancing into senior roles and increasing your salary – but in terms of being able to develop critical personal skills that help you deal with stress, anxiety and all the challenges that we face over the course of our lives.
Can you change your mindset?
Studies have shown that a person can be trained to have a growth mindset. You can make a conscious choice to think differently and, over a period of time, your brain functions and thinking patterns will naturally shift. Just like developing a muscle or your intellect, the more time you put in, the greater the change.
Even as adults, our brains are still malleable and can be trained into new patterns.
Still, many of us might find that we exhibit many thought patterns that can be associated with a fixed mindset. Even if we want to have a free-flowing growth mindset, we can’t help but feel stuck in our long-held, fixed state of mind.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry. There are plenty of ways to ‘un-fix’ your mindset.
How to shift towards a growth mindset
Trust the science
First off, arming yourself with the facts is the best grounding to changing your mindset. Once you realise the brain’s capacity for building new neural networks, you’ll be open to literally ‘rewiring’ your brain and learning new skills through new experiences.
Replace that negative inner voice with a positive one
We’ve all got a devil and an angel on each shoulder. The thing is, even though it doesn’t always seem like it, we have control over which one we listen to. Repetitive training is the key – reinforcing the positive messages that we tell ourselves can have a huge impact.
Thrive on negative feedback
This is a hard one. Criticism can be crushing, for confidence and motivation. But understanding how to use negative comments to improve – either by motivating you to prove people wrong or by working on weaknesses you weren’t aware of – is a big part of becoming successful professionally and happy within yourself.
Get out of your comfort zone
It’s almost a cliche nowadays, but there’s so much truth in it that it’s hard to ignore. Learning is hard, that’s why so many people fall back on being content to stay where they are and to not push themselves further. Being able to throw yourself into new experiences – even if they’re uncomfortable at first – is a surefire way to cultivate a growth mindset.
Accept failure as part of the process
A key part of evolving, both personally and professionally, is to develop the ability to use failure as a learning experience. Similar to putting a positive spin on criticism, if you can analyse failure and use it to discover how to do things better, you’re most definitely on the right track to a growth mindset.
Our mindset has a huge impact on our careers and our lives. Learning how to think in an open, positive way is crucial when it comes to evolving. It all starts with focusing on how we react in certain situations. From there, if you have the will to develop a growth mindset, you’ll be far more open to richly rewarding experiences.