January 02, 2023 2 min read

Everything we do and how we perform in life is controlled and determined by our mindset. Our mindset is defined as an established set of attitudes held by someone or a person’s worldview and philosophy of life. Imagine if your mindset prevented you from exploring certain potentials or achieving certain goals. According to renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck, that might be the case.

In a study conducted by Carol and her colleagues over 30 years ago, they discovered that people either have a growth mindset or a fixed mindset.

Carol and her team evaluated students’ responses and attitudes to failure after conducting a test with a slightly higher difficulty than the students’ level. Some students reacted positively saying things like, “I love a challenge,” or, “You know, I was hoping this would be informative.” Other students were devastated and admitted they would rather cheat the next time to avoid failure. Hence, Carol aptly coined both mindsets the growth and fixed mindsets, respectively.

About the growth mindset

The growth mindset is what everyone needs to thrive during a challenge and live out their potentials. It involves values of learning and growth and accepting that while failure can be painful; it doesn’t have to define you.

It helps us to learn from our mistakes and think in the path of ‘not yet’ which empowers the fact that every one of us is on a continuous learning curve. It changes how you view success and the approach you take to achieve it. In Carol Dweck’s words,

“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

About the fixed mindset

The fixed mindset assumes that creativity, intelligence, and character are static and can’t be changed. It believes that success is the only affirmation of this fixed intelligence. Carol Dweck explains this as,

“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.”

At the U.S. Kuo Shu Academy and in Chinese martial arts, students learn to focus on the growth mindset. They learn to embrace challenges, see that their efforts count on a path to mastery, learn from criticism, learn to be resilient, and be inspired by the results or success of others. The growth mindset in martial arts promotes focus, humility, and the ability to reach higher levels of achievement.

You can learn to develop the growth mindset by;

  • Embracing imperfections
  • Trying different learning methods
  • Replace failing with learning
  • Emphasizing growth over speed
  • Placing effort before talent
  • Improving collaboration with others

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