Truth bomb: success was never and never will be an overnight process. We’re all familiar with the try and try until you succeed formula, and the fall seven times, stand up eight mantra. There are so many motivational snippets out there that can get you going. But when you get hit by the slightest dismay, the next thing “Well, this just isn’t for me. I don’t know how to do it. I’m not made for this.”
Limiting beliefs cripple the hunger for progress and success. No matter how much external encouragement one gets, when a fixed mindset on the inability to learn, cope, and adjust is entertained, then that’s it. But if we were to wire our brains for growth, imagine how many possibilities can we unlock!
Growth mindset is the mentality that you can grow your brain and that your intelligence grows with effort. According to Carol Dweck, an American psychologist, professor at Stanford University, and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, we see this as early as our starting years in school. “Kids who are praised for their intelligence don’t want a challenge afterwards. But when we praise their process, hard work, strategies, and ideas, the kids learn that these are the ingredients for success.” Having a growth mindset allows us to value the process of what we’re doing more than the outcome. This reminds us that we’re able to continuously improve with it.
Much like success, cultivating a growth mindset isn’t a task as easy as taking out the trash. But with a little bit of grit and gusto, and some tips we’ve listed down here, you too can leverage the power of a growth mindset.
Say you want to impress your boss with a great idea for a project. You prepare your slides and your speech to propose your concept. You imagined it in your head: you, so confidently going through your deck, and your boss smiling, nodding, applauding. Come presentation day, you’re not even halfway through your rehearsed pitch and you’re already getting all these questions and comments. Someone with a fixed mindset might think, “They didn’t like it. Might as well just drop the whole thing and go back to regular programming.” But someone with a growth mindset will look for and listen to feedback, take notes, work on the proposal, and come back for round two with improvements made based on the comments. Accepting feedback and learning from it is a surefire way to grow your capabilities and your understanding of what’s essential for your team or company’s business.
Process vs Prize
In school, did you ever think about where on earth you will use the algebraic formula in real life and thought that there’s no point in really learning it anyway? While the thought resonates with many of us, what we’ve missed is appreciating the process behind getting that final grade. Grade-conscious or not, it’s not the perfect or low score that sticks with us as we grow old, nor the badge that says “Best in Math.” It’s the attitude that stays: patience, self-encouragement, hard work, and so on. These are the real MVPs when it comes to success anyway, right?
The Power of Words
You have probably talked to yourself in the mirror on bad, good, and big days. Notice how your choice of words affect your thoughts for the rest of the day. Each small thought can snowball into how you feel about your day. That’s why it’s important to choose and control them wisely. Starting your day with “Ugh, today’s a gloomy day. I don’t feel like working” isn’t exactly the way you want to be pumped up. But if you start with “There’s so many things I’m focused to accomplish today”, you begin with an energized mood ready to conquer a to-do list.
When faced with a challenge and you say, “I don’t know how to do that”, you fail right then and there. But if you respond with, “I don’t know how to do that yet” and add, “and I’m willing to learn the ropes”, it fosters positive energy about learning, progress, and growth.
There are tons more ways to shift your mindset and direct it towards success in any scenario. You can check the course Cultivating a Growth Mindset to learn more about it and how you can apply it at work and in life. So, yes, overnight success is a myth. Because success, truth be told, is ever-evolving. It isn’t just an end goal. It’s a stepping stone to reach your full potential.