Viewing traits as innate make coping with failure and success much harder. With a "growth mindset" you learn more, persist more, and overcome obstacles.
Encourage a growth mindset in kids
Children are just like mentees, only we’re supposed to coddle them and tell them they’re smart and wonderful and will grow up to be President. These days, that’s an extremely low bar.
With kids, love them for who they are, and praise them for what they’ve done. Don’t say, “You got good grades because you’re so smart!” Develop a growth mindset by saying, “Great job! Your grades really show that you studied well and could show how much you’ve learned."
If a child fails a math exam, don’t tell them they’re stupid or that “math genes just don’t run in our family.” Instead, ask them: “What could you do differently to do better next time?” Help them orient around studying more, getting tutoring from friends, and so on. Once they learn they can control their learning, they can move on to higher stakes later in life. Just think “performance review.”
Encourage employees’ growth mindset
When your minions aren’t reaching their full potential, change how they think. Ask them about how they relate to their work and notice when they’re using fixed-mindset excuses. “I’m just not a details person.” Then counter any fixed-mindset excuses with growth-mindset actions you’d like to see them take.
Fixed mindsets, believing that your traits are responsible for success, cripple you. Growth mindsets, believing that your actions are responsible for success, free you!
You can ask, “What could you do to keep track of details?” That orients them towards skills.
Just between you and me, I, Stever Robbins, the Get-it-Done Guy, am horrible with details and accountability and getting things done. That’s why I’ve developed so many explicit tools and tips! Because with a growth mindset, I’ve developed systems to make up for being born without those innate skills.
Develop your own growth mindset
You can also use this with yourself. Notice how you describe yourself to others and to yourself. When you think you aren’t good at something, ask yourself why. If you find yourself saying things like, “I’m just not the kind of person who…” that’s a sign you’re falling into a fixed mindset. Change! Shift back to activity and growth-oriented questions.
Destroy your enemies by giving them a fixed mindset
Finally, you can use this with your enemies, too. When you’re talking to your personal nemesis at work, and they say, “I worked so hard, I really deserved that promotion!” You can look at them and say, in all sincerity, “You’re so amazingly smart. It’s as if you were just born with all the capabilities for success! Plus, you’re the kind of person that has all the luck.” Pretty soon, they’ll lose their ability to cope with failure, they’ll stop developing new skills, and they’ll just sit at home all day eating bon bons and watching reality television.
Fixed mindsets, believing that your traits are responsible for success, cripple you. Growth mindsets, believing that your actions are responsible for success, free you! Praise actions to reinforce a growth mindset in your mentees, your employees, your kids, and yourself. The more you learn, the more you’ll master. And the more you master, the sooner you’ll be guest starring on...the Kardashians.
I’m Stever Robbins. Follow GetItDoneGuy on Twitter and Facebook. Want great keynote speeches on productivity, Living an Extraordinary Life, or entrepreneurship? Hire me! Find me at http://SteverRobbins.com.
Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!
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