« I did not fail. I just found 10,000 solutions that do not work. »
– Thomas Edison –
During a recent spring cleanup with my family, we ran into my sister’s primary report cards in a closet. If they were actually quite good, I was strongly challenged by the comments of his teachers – she salutes by the way! These emphasized only the lack, the failure, the gaps. The positive comments were constantly followed by a “but Margaux has the ability to do better”. Thus, only the intellectual abilities were valued, not the efforts made.
If I tell you this, it is because Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University, has on the contrary proved that it is by valuing the effort and not the amount of intelligence of a person, that this person will be able to develop the belief that he/she can always improve: that is to say adopt a growth mindset.
Carol Dweck : the power to believe you can improve
Carol Dweck has proven that our mindset plays a vital role in realizing our full potential. She researched over 400 children and divided them into two groups. The exercise given to the children was to make a very simple puzzle. The children of the first group were encouraged on their intelligence: “Well done, you must be really smart to have found the solution”. The children of the second group were encouraged about their efforts “Well done, you had to work hard to find the solution”.
Then she gave two options to each of the groups: make a puzzle much more difficult than the first one but with the aim of becoming better; or make a puzzle as simple as the first one. As a result, 92% of the children encouraged on their efforts chose to make the difficult puzzle against only 33% of the children encouraged on their intelligence.
Finally, she gave each group a much more difficult puzzle. The children complimented on their efforts went to the end, found the solution and even enjoyed it, while the children complimented on their intelligence were frustrated throughout the experience and gave up before finding the solution.
Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset
What this experience tells us is that adults as children, our ability to develop, to consider failure as an opportunity for development depends on the belief we have about our intelligence. If we think that our level of intelligence, our talents and abilities are fixed and engraved in marble, we have a priori a fixed mindset. Whereas if we consider that whatever our current level of intelligence can be, it can be developed through exercise and involvement, we have a priori a growth mindset.
Adopt growth mindset, individually as in business, it is:
rely on one’s strengths and talents;
value and give oneself the right to make mistakes;
learn from failure and criticism;
learn from the success of others;
take new challenge;
have an open mind to change;
People with growth mindset are more innovative, more creative, more resilient, more sociable, more engaged, more successful and happier.
How to develop your mindset towards a growth mindset?
Adopting a growth mindset is to see change as an opportunity, it is always looking for improvement, it is towards a failure say “I have not worked enough” rather than “I am bad”. Is to be convinced that you will do better next time rather than believe that you will never succeed, etc.
More than by tools, the growth mindset is acquired mainly by the awareness of the weight of our beliefs.
If you want to practice the growth mindset, ask yourself these questions every night and try to answer them in writing:
What did you learn from your performance today?
What steps have you taken to succeed today?
What are the different strategies you might have used?
How did you persevere when things turned out to be difficult?
As a trainer for the Springboard Method a personal and professional development program for women, which we have been teaching at Elveor I have observed that for both women and men our ability to move towards change depends on our mindset. Springboard’s whole approach is based on growth mindset.
By adopting a growth mindset, we will be inclined to challenge our limiting beliefs, to develop self-awareness, to build self-confidence, to set new goals, to meet new challenges, to revisit our vision of leadership, to develop our visibility, and finally to seize opportunities for change. This is how you can adopt a growth mindset, and the good news is that if it is not innate, it can be learned!
I deeply believe that growth mindset is at the basics of positive psychology because it is from it that, like the humming bird that does its part to extinguish the gigantic forest fire, we will be convinced that everything starts from oneself to have the power to shine next to others.
When speaking of success, it is easy to think that the highest IQ people will be the most accomplished. The brain is a powerful thing. So powerful that by its only belief system, it can prevent the change from occurring or allow new potentials to flourish. It’s up to you!
« I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. »
– Michael Jordan –