I like to say that the number one thing we do at Just Keep Learning is model a growth mindset. But what does that even mean? Now we could talk about this for many hours, and over the course of years I’m sure we will, but for this episode we’ll make sure that you have a clear grasp of the term and why it might be the most important skill you can develop. We’ll also look at a couple of myths when it comes to building growth mindset.
The first time I heard the concept, it was listening to an educational talk from a professor named Carol Dweck. I’m a bit of a nerd when it comes to learning, so I literally listened to a few of her talks while driving up to a cottage, somewhere around 2010. Since then the concept has grown like wild fire being applied to personal development, business, and education.
When applied properly, it is so valuable because it leads to exponential success and vitality. It may not provide any guarantees, but it gives you the best chance to accomplish a goal and be happy along the way. That is if you’re using it properly. In some ways people actually understand what it means and in other ways maybe not so much.
Like any term that is really valuable, growth mindset has become a cliche. And like any great cliche, or buzzword, it catches on in terms of virality, but can often be misunderstood. Having a growth mindset is like having the best possible foundation for learning. A traditionally, fixed mindset might think that you are either capable of doing something, or not.
Whereas, a growth minded person appreciates that you can improve at something, greatly, with the right approach. You may not be good at public speaking (yet). You may be strong in the squat and deadlift, but not bench press (yet). You may not be great at regulating your emotions when bad luck strikes (yet).
A great example is a team, sports, business, families, any team, who will put ego aside, and collaborate through constant feedback to keep improving. It’s essentially the number one, in some ways the only value we focus on at JKL. How can you always take a learning stance? Teams, or individuals that take this approach can achieve incredible things, perhaps even surprise themselves. It’s impact on goalsetting, and achieving big dreams is why we love it so much!
Even the original researcher behind the concept, Carol Dweck has brought up a few concerns she has observed about the virality of the growth mindset and how we might be getting a few things wrong. As you try to build growth mindset for yourself, or within a team, keep these three things in mind.
- Saying you promote growth mindset and actually promoting it could be two completely different things. There must be actual evidence of people being supported to take appropriate risks, innovate, use feedback, and learn from mistakes. Saying that you support such a culture, or that you believe it yourself is useless, unless the actions are in place.
- You might have a “false growth mindset”. It is considered false if you think that you have it for everything and all the time. There is no such thing as a pure, entire growth mindset. You don’t just “have a growth mindset”. Because we use it as a single term this can confuse people. But, everyone is a mix of fixed and growth mindsets. That mixture continually evolves and changes.
- It is not only about rewarding effort. Sure, as parents, bosses, teachers, or coaches we want to reward “trying”. But, unproductive effort is a waste of time. We want to reward improvement, which requires rewarding the ability to ask for help, try new strategies, and learn from mistake. Just because we want to focus on the process, and what we can control, does not mean that we lose sight of the goal, and productivity.
There ya have it, three things that you should double check when it comes to the current culture of your team, or maybe just within your own mindset. This is a good list to review every so often because it can really creep up on us right when we think we are making the most progress possible. Make sure that you are consistently building your mind the right way, and amazing dreams will come true.
Speaking of dreams coming true, if you haven’t checked out the latest JKL interview twenty-nine with Marcia (Maya) Wieder, it is a must-listen to. She is an incredible dream coach, who has built wildly successful businesses based on her deep understanding of helping people get clarity and take action on their own big dreams. Until the next episode friends, all the best and remember, just keep learning.
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