Craig is passionate about growth mindsets and why they’re so important for learning, so he’s shared a few of his thoughts with us.
I believe that having a growth mindset is all about seeking out opportunities to develop, having new experiences and ultimately growing as a person; whereas having a fixed mindset tends to be more limiting, focusing on what I currently have, what I can do now and accepting the way things are.
When something doesn’t go to plan, someone choosing a fixed mindset may think, ‘That’s just what happens’. A growth mindset will consider, ‘Ok, that’s interesting. What can I learn from the experience? What are the things that I should replicate because they worked well and what are the things I should do less of?’ Having a growth mindset is about curiosity, looking for opportunity and not accepting that, ‘This is it’, but instead asking, ‘What could it be like?’
Choosing a growth mindset and thinking about possibilities, opportunities, options, learning and reflection will help you grow as an individual.
To start with, you need to define what a growth mindset means to you as an individual. ‘What are my principles for a growth mindset? What does it mean for me?’ We might all have the same outcome; to develop and look at opportunities and how we overcome obstacles, but how we achieve that end outcome will most likely be different for each person.
To help develop a growth mindset, ask yourself some questions that help you think a little differently. For example:
• what opportunities am I going to create for myself today?
• what can I be curious about today?
• what am I thinking and feeling that helps me to seek growth opportunities?
Be challenging with yourself. Don’t accept that what you have and what you do, is always how it will be. Ask yourself what it could be and be curious about yourself and others. What can you learn from others if you ask them? It’s about thinking, ‘I can always be better if I want to. I can always learn if I want to’. You make the choice of what mindset you have.
When I design workshops or learning programmes for a client, I build the programmes around the principles of a growth mindset. The learning experience isn’t just in the room (virtual or face-to-face) it’s in encouraging and supporting the client in how they choose to seek their own learning experiences and opportunities after the activity. How do they apply what they’ve learnt; what conversations can they have with others about the experience; how can they learn even more; how can they understand others’ perceptions and learnings, and how does that shift their thinking?
As for me, I strive to live my life with a growth mindset. About two years ago, I noticed that my mindset on drumming was quite fixed, but I’d not realised it at the time until I stopped and reflected on it. I adjusted my mindset as a drummer and thought about what I could learn and what I might apply that I didn’t already know. I developed a desire to use electronics in my drumming; to use backing tracks; to think about how I might practise and rehearse differently, and even focused on the way I held my drumsticks.
I often question myself; using self-coaching. When I’m approaching something I haven’t done before I think, ‘What do I need to learn to enable me to do this? What experiences am I going to have?’ as opposed to, ‘I’ve never done this before, it’s going to be really challenging and really difficult’. I choose what my mindset is going to be every day. Weirdly the more I focus on my mindset to be a happier, positive growth mindset, the better my days feel.
To summarise; a growth mindset is about how I can develop myself, understand where I am now, where I want to be, what’s the gap and how I can fill it. I fundamentally believe we can all develop and choose a growth mindset if we want to. It’s how we challenge ourselves when we find ourselves in situations where we’ve not performed as well as we wanted to. How do we learn from that so that we can be better next time?
A growth mindset is the ability to think, learn, consider future possibilities and be curious to develop and stretch yourself. It’s living in your stretch zone, not your comfort zone. If you’re in your comfort zone you’re not learning. When you live in your stretch zone and seek new opportunities, you’re learning new stuff and living in your growth mindset zone.
I’d love to hear about your growth mindset experiences.