In management theory and many other disciplines, a growth mindset is simply a group of ideas, practices, or concepts held by a single person or group of individuals. In many cases, this type of mindset is called “growth consciousness.” In other instances, this mindset is called “mindset awareness.” Still, others refer to it as a “growth mindset.”
Growth mindsets are not the same as fixed mindset or ritualistic management styles. In fact, there is a huge difference between the two. A fixed mindset is one that is strongly held to a particular time-frame, which often comes from a family tradition or corporate code. The individual holds to these rules regardless of their knowledge, experience, or behavior. In this respect, growth mindsets are very different. Here are some characteristics shared by the two.
Growth people think differently. When confronted with a challenge, they adapt a growth mindset, changing the way they think about the problem at hand. Instead of viewing problems as opportunities for learning, growth people view them as challenges that must be overcome. For example, instead of viewing a computer keyboard as a challenge to be overcome, a person with growth mindset would instead view it as an opportunity for improvement. Similarly, instead of viewing an online quiz as a “failure,” a growth-minded individual will view it as a process that needs to be taken step by step. The key, again, is that instead of viewing challenges or problems as obstacles, the growth mindset person views them as opportunities for improvement.
Growth mindsets encourage cooperation, not competition. Growth mindsets are not motivated by fear or greed, which means that they do not tend to try to take over the lives of others as managers do. They are not fixated on just one area of the world and do not have an all-encompassing “gene pool” that they belong to, nor do they possess a belief that they are superior to everyone else in the world. Rather than having fixed traits, growth mindset allows you to evolve with the world, while having the freedom to adjust your mindset to fit any given situation.
The ability to thrive despite adversities is one of the many characteristics of the growth mindset. People with this mindset enjoy the challenges and hard work that are necessary to become successful. They view adversity not as a devastating blow to their ego, but as something that test and develop them further. It is not a threat; rather, it is something to be accepted, used, and turned into something that brings you greater rewards.
When operating in an environment that is cluttered and full of noise, your mind can become easily distracted. With growth mindset, however, your mind is trained to only pay attention to details and quality. You are able to focus on things such as effort, and quality in order to create more productive results. Because your mindsets operate with clarity, your achievements will amaze you.
A common characteristic shared by those who possess growth mindset is the ability to accept uncertainty. Although you may not always know what tomorrow holds, you can be confident that tomorrow will present itself and you can address problems and concerns accordingly. Those with a fixed mindset believe that if a problem does not get resolved in a certain amount of time, it is better that nothing will ever be done because of the amount of money, time, and energy wasted.
Another characteristic shared by those with growth mindset is the ability to recognize something new. In fact, growth mindsets are famous for recognizing something new even when it is not immediately apparent to the person doing the recognizing. Recognizing something new also helps students learn faster because they do not feel as if they are simply “known” to be doing something, which helps them learn at a higher rate than those who do not recognize something new. Growth mindset also helps students make connections between seemingly unrelated things. This helps students progress faster in their studies because they are able to connect new information with their prior learning.