10 ways to change your mindset
Changing one’s mindset from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset may seem daunting, but by taking baby steps, anyone who wants to can. Here’s how:
1. See challenges as opportunities
Welcome challenges, knowing that if you mean to accomplish anything, you will face many of them on your journey. Prepare yourself for facing these challenges, and for failing sometimes. So, if you find yourself terrified at the thought of lockdown easing up, stop and reframe the situation in your mind. Consider this challenging change in circumstances as an opportunity: a chance to build a new life. Shifting your perspective in this way will make it easier to engage with the new normal.
2. Be mindful of your words and thoughts
Paying attention to the words you speak or the words in your mind is a prerequisite if you are looking to change your mindset. If your words are negative, the results may be also. But you can monitor yourself and really listen to what you are saying and thinking. You may be surprised by how a slight variation in the way you speak to yourself or others can lead to a more positive outcome in how you adapt to the new circumstances in which we all now find ourselves.
3. Disassociate improvement from failure
Try to adopt the attitude of a child, looking at the world around you with awe and wonderment; ask questions and truly listen to the answers. Replace the word “failing” with the word “learning” in your vocabulary. “Not yet” is OK. When struggling with a task, remind yourself that you just haven’t mastered it “yet.” If you stick with it, time and practice will lead to improvement. Disassociate improvement from failure: “room for improvement” does not mean “failure.”
4. Be realistic
Having a growth mindset doesn’t involve believing that anyone can become anything they want with enough effort. Not everyone can become Einstein or Picasso just because they try. Instead, the growth mindset is about living up to one’s own possible potential. And who knows how far a person can go if they really set their mind to it?
5. Find positives in criticism
The purpose of criticism should be to make things better. Someone else may be able to see what you are doing from a slightly different perspective and may have some valuable suggestions for you. But sometimes it is hard to see this criticism as constructive. If you are open to suggestions however, you can more easily find positives in what others say about you and this will help develop your growth mindset.
6. Trust your own judgement
It is important for us to learn to trust ourselves. Fixed mindsets tend to create a need for approval from others but relying on others in this way can prevent us from developing a growth mindset. Trusting one’s own judgement will develop over time with practice. Like any other muscle, the brain can be trained.
7. Cultivate a sense of purpose
It’s much easier to succeed when you care about and are passionate about what you are doing. Whether you cultivate a love for what you already do or focus on doing what you already love, developing passion is important. Persist and opportunities will come. Try to develop your self-resilience along the way. And remember: you are remoulding your mind and that’s not easy. But it will all be worth it in the end.
8. Acknowledge your uniqueness
We all have different strengths and weaknesses and as such we all deal with situations in different ways. This is what makes us individuals. Acknowledge and accept your individuality.
9. Value the process over the end result
Remember, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination. Speed is not important. It takes time, sometimes lots of time, to learn a new skill, like learning a new language or learning to play an instrument. When you have a growth mindset, the end results are less of a focus. Instead, you fully engage and put effort into the process, no matter how long it takes. Incidentally, focusing on the process often also improves results, because you will put a lot of effort in along the way.
10. Be willing to take risks and make mistakes
Taking risks and making mistakes in front of others is imperative, because if you’re growing, this is bound to happen. And making mistakes will usually get easier with practice. If you can also learn from the mistakes of others along the way, then you may be able to make fewer mistakes. This can sometimes calm the fear of trying new things, a key aspect of building a growth mindset.