Carol Dweck’s bestselling book Mindset breaks down, among many other ideas, the two different mindsets that individuals may have regarding their talents and abilities. Individuals with a fixed mindset generally think that their talents and abilities are fixed. In sports, this is often illustrated by the supremely talented athlete who falters in big moments, doesn’t view hard work as essential, and shies away from challenges. On the other hand, individuals with a growth mindset think about their talents and abilities as dynamic traits with the potential to grow and improve. In sports, this is an athlete who regardless of their level of talent, works diligently to perfect her craft, interprets obstacles as opportunities to get better, and relies more on practice and preparation than natural ability. Fixed mindsets recognize talent and talent only, whereas growth mindsets take note of talent, but focus more on developing and refining that talent to become something else entirely.
The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to be born with a growth mindset. You can develop one, turn a more fixed approach into a growth mindset, and focus more on development rather than the static, uncontrollable reality of natural-born talent. Here are some quick tips on how to at least start that process.
- Focus on the things you can control
- Spend time on activities that you can learn and improve from
- Get rid of what slows you down
- Reflect on constructive feedback
- Reframe failure and obstacles as opportunities to grow