They say you can do anything if you set your mind to it. Of course, this statement fails to account for the constraints and limitations to which everyone is, to some extent, subjected but the basic idea behind it is a good one. Put simply, mindset matters. The way we think about ourselves, our abilities, our successes, and our failures has a significant influence over our achievements as well as how we learn.
People’s view of their own abilities lies on a spectrum. On one end of the spectrum is a fixed mindset and on the other end is a growth mindset. A fixed mindset refers to believing that your abilities and intelligence are inborn and unchangeable, whereas a growth mindset refers to believing that, with hard work and dedication, we have the capacity to expand our range of abilities and improve to be able to solve problems or complete tasks that we once found too challenging. People with fixed mindsets are more likely to give up when faced with failure or when they encounter a problem they find particularly challenging. This is because a fixed mindset includes the line of thinking that there is a distinct limit to one’s capabilities that cannot be changed. However, people with growth mindsets are more likely to view failures as learning experiences and a valuable step towards self-improvement.
A growth mindset is viewed as more adaptive than a fixed mindset because it emphasizes that we are not defined by our failures. The idea that our failures are a result of our innate characteristics and are a reflection of who we are can be extremely stressful and detrimental to our overall well-being. Viewing failures as learning experiences and taking pleasure in the process of learning is far more beneficial for our mental health. Additionally, a growth mindset encourages us to push boundaries and to persevere, even when things are challenging. It is more conducive to creativity and innovation and prompts us to set higher standards for ourselves.