Mindset and the power of ‘Yet’

Mindset is the way we look at the world around us and the way we see ourselves. It influences our thinking and actions: it’s like that internal voice that keeps telling us “You can make it” or keeps reminding us “You can’t do that“. According to psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two kinds of mindset: fixed and growth mindset – which, in the long run, are a predictor of how we approach and how we live our lives.

People with a fixed mindset believe that abilities are innate and they can’t do anything to change them. They tend to fall into a negative circle: they focus on the lack of ability or talent and they don’t even try to make any change, confirming their inability to improve or learn.

People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, believe that they don’t have an ability… “yet”. They believe that they can change and start to practice it and learn it, until when they acquire what they previously lacked, and why not… master it!

I heard about a high school in Chicago where students had to pass a certain number of courses to graduate, and if they didn’t pass a course, they got the grade ‘Not Yet’. And I thought that was fantastic, because if you get a failing grade, you think, I’m nothing, I’m nowhere. But if you get the grade ‘Not Yet’ you understand that you’re on a learning curve. It gives you a path into the future.” 

TED Talk “The power of believing that you can improve

Having a growth mindset is a healthier way of living as it removes lots of limiting beliefs and keeps you open to new opportunities. It also helps to have greater resilience and stronger perseverance in front of the difficult moments of life.

While growth mindsets are learning and discovering new things, fixed mindsets are busy proving themselves and are looking for approval at school, at work or in their relationship.

The good news is that… 

…you can change your mindset! The bad news is that you will need to put in some effort and work. You will have to get out of your comfort zone and start practicing whatever you want to learn and confront yourself with the challenges that come your way. There is no learning without practicing and without going through those uncomfortable moments of making errors and mistakes. 

To move towards a growth mindset, start to recognize and also celebrate your improvements, not only your achievements. You can also start paying attention to the words you are using on a daily basis and replacing for example the word “failing” with “learning”, “weak point” with “room for improvement” and adding “not yet” at the end of your sentences. 

How can you help others at work? 

Create a positive culture of learning and an environment where it is safe to make mistakes. Don’t praise intelligence or talent, praise the work ethic. Focus on the process rather than just the outcome and celebrate the aha moments, not only success and results. Reward “Top Performers”, but also the “Top Learners”.  

Focus on the efforts, the work done, the perseverance, the dedication, and the improvements: this can lead to change, learn and develop a growth mindset!

ASK YOURSELF

  • What is the one thing I will try this week that will get me out of my comfort zone? 
  • What do I want to start learning, practicing a bit at a time but regularly? 
  • How can I implement at work, with my colleagues, a culture of learning?


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