Future me —Developing a growth mindset
By Synergy Health | 30 March 2020
By Synergy Health | 30 March 2020
This article is the first in our four-part ‘Future Me’ series which looks at four skills the modern employee needs to cope with the changing career landscape. Faster, innovative technology and global trends are driving organisations to respond and implement regular change to workplace structures, job roles, systems and culture. While some individuals thrive on change, some people find adapting and responding to constant change highly stressful.
The Future Me series will help you work on four key skills including developing a growth mindset, problem-solving, adapting to new technology and how to collaborate with a diverse workforce.
Our series starts with focusing on how to develop and utilise a ‘Growth Mindset’. A growth mindset is a belief that through effort, learning and persistence we can adapt our character, intelligence and skills over time. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for higher achievement.
Conversely, a fixed mindset is the belief our basic character, intelligence and talent are fixed traits. We are reluctant to learn anything new and rely on our existing talents for success without putting in any additional time or effort.
Previously, it was believed that our brain structure was fixed once it was fully developed and we were unable to grow new brain cells (neurogenesis). However, a growing body of research shows that through learning, effort and applying a growth mindset we can change our brain’s synaptic connections through a process called neuroplasticity.
A growth mindset is an essential skill for helping you thrive not only in the workplace but in all areas of life. If you embrace the idea you can improve yourself, you will not only be resilient to any challenges you face but you will also seek out new opportunities to grow and develop. Whether that’s breaking a bad habit, learning a new system or skill at work, a new language, movement, art etc. Having a growth mindset also improves your confidence and reduces your stress and anxiety levels as you back yourself to accomplish any goal.
Whether you have a growth or a fixed mindset is usually set in the formative early years of life and shaped by our upbringing, education and career. We are all born with a unique genome and brain structure, meaning we are naturally better than others at different things. If we relied on our natural talents to get us through school, university or even our first job roles without too much effort or challenge, we may not have learnt the valuable skills needed for learning or work ethic.
This sets us up to have a predominantly fixed mindset. These talents may also have been rewarded or recognised, strengthening our fixed mindset that no additional effort or time is required to achieve or improve. Everyone knows someone that appeared to cruise through school or university on their natural abilities without too much effort. These people may now struggle when faced with any challenges or new ways of working in a dynamic career landscape.
If you were praised and rewarded early on for learning and improving, you may have developed a growth mindset and a belief that with effort you can catch up and even surpass others natural talents.
Many of us operate with either a fixed and growth mindset at times but predominantly we do apply one over the other. To help you assess whether you have a growth or fixed mindset, ask yourself the following questions:
As you now know, you have the ability to change the structure of your brain and overcome a fixed mindset. Being aware of your existing mindset, strengths, weaknesses and existing biases holding you back from growth is the first step in helping you develop a dominant growth mindset.
Below are some further strategies to help you develop a growth mindset.
To make a start, you can learn more a growth mindset by watching this Ted talk from Carol Dweck, a lead researcher on ‘growth mindset’.
23 March 2020
Here are five common habits that I see people partaking in that are ultimately hindering their ability to be truly happy.
9 March 2020
Great design can be found all over the city of Copenhagen, and the creativity of its people has long been a source of national pride. Read more on the art city here.
2 October 2019
Contents insurance is a great safety net if your belongings are damaged, lost or stolen. But no one wants to have to use it. Here are three things you can do to protect your possessions and give you peace of mind.