Focus on growth, not achievement

Do you have a growth mindset? I was first introduced to the concept of growth mindset in an English class I took at Bellevue College, and I was fascinated by what this mindset does to your brain.

“A growth mindset is when students understand that their abilities can be developed,” said Carol Dweck, who is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton professor of psychology at Stanford University. Dweck is known for her work on the psychological traits of mindsets. My English professor has a growth mindset, and she asked my class to watch a Ted Talk Dweck gave on the topic. I had never heard of this mindset before, but I definitely think everyone should learn about the growth mindset because I found it very valuable.

People who have a growth mindset believe that their skills can be developed and improved through putting in effort and trying different strategies. Although people are born with varying intelligence, anyone can achieve their goals by working towards them.

On the opposite side, in a fixed mindset people believe their skills and abilities are fixed traits that so they cannot be developed or improved. These people spend their time defining their boundaries instead of developing and expanding them. A common fixed mindset belief is that talents are what make people successful, rather than effort.

I used to pay too much attention to being perfect. For example, in school, instead of trying to set my brain to gain new knowledge, I was more interested in getting good grades. Later on, I realized that good grades could make me happy, but the process of learning is absolutely more important, because I discovered that my abilities and skills can be improved.

When I look back on my past achievements, what actually made me happy was my progress, rather than my results. Over the years, I got to try many different things I had never experienced before, and I know that I can develop new skills by practicing more, coming up with new strategies, or getting help from others.

Everyone should have a growth mindset, and believe we can be boundless. Take reasonable steps and reflect on what we have accomplished and how far we have come to appreciate our growth. Think about how much has changed, and consider what else needs to be done to continue improving.

Let us all have a growth mindset, and focus on growth instead of perfection. We can make our future bigger than our past.