Everyone has something they are good at without trying too hard. It might be athleticism, it might be math, it might be singing, or learning a new language. But many people make the mistaken assumption that those things are all they can be good at, that they will never be as good at anything else.
Let’s use the athletic example. Say you play soccer in college. How many years have you been playing soccer and other sports? Chances are it’s been anywhere from 10-15 years. And over this time, you’ve been honing your skills, learning to work well with teammates, building your stamina and better understanding the strategy and game plans required to be successful. Even if you’re a naturally talented athlete, the years of practice you’ve put in have helped you get better.
This same idea really does apply to anything else you put your mind to. Do you want to be a runner? If you decide to put in the time to run 1 mile twice a week, and then start adding one mile and then another, eventually you’ll build enough stamina and endurance to run a marathon. Many people make the mistake of saying, “I can’t run, I’m not good at it.” That’s a fixed mindset- the belief that this is the way it will always be.
Growth mindset is looking at that same example and giving yourself the opportunity to succeed. “I would love to run a marathon one day, so I will work on getting better at running.” Instead of shutting down the possibility because you don’t run, you instead change the language to give you the chance to start.
Adapting a growth mindset can help you in all areas of your life, both on the field and off of it. Imagine your boss asks you to give a big presentation to a new client, something you’ve never done before. Instead of using the fixed mindset approach and telling your boss that you can’t give the presentation because it’s not something you’re good at, let’s respond with a growth mindset. You can tell your boss “I’d love to give that presentation, I just need to get better at public speaking. Do you have any resources that could help?”
The next time you think “I can’t do that”, stop yourself and do the following. Ask yourself why you can’t. If the answer is “I’m not good at it,” or “I’ve never done it before,” remind yourself that those are fixed mindsets. Take those answers and flip them around. What do you need to do to start or get better at something? Then go forward from there. Instead of “I can’t do that”, change the language to “I’d love to do that so I should start doing XYZ to get better”.
Instead of seeing the unknown as limits, look at them as opportunities to learn. If you can embrace a growth mindset in your life, you will ultimately be successful at everything you invest the time in. We are sometimes the biggest obstacles in the way of our own success. Growth mindset enables us to build skills, consistently learn and keep the path clear of self-doubt, fear and limitations.