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You DON’T HAVE a Growth Mindset

Saying you or others HAVE a growth mindset is antithetical to that which a growth mindset is meant to inform.

Carol Dweck’s famous and very influential mental model of a growth vs. a fixed mindset refers to one’s beliefs about theirs and others’ talent, knowledge and abilities

  • Fixed: Yours and others’ talent, knowledge, and abilities is limited
  • Growth: Yours and others’ talent, knowledge, and abilities can be developed

A mindset is NOT something you have. It is not a possession nor a permanent condition like your blood type. A mindset is a fluid process of thoughts and behaviors interacting with context.

Saying you HAVE a growth mindset is paradoxically like someone saying “I am working on my fixed mindset.”

Instead of claiming possession of your mindset, commit to practicing growth minded thoughts and behaviors when encountering challenges, setbacks, feedback, and having to produce a significant amount of effort in pursuit of a desired outcome.

Mindsets are cultivated and practiced.

  • You are a runner because you run, NOT because you HAVE running shoes.
  • You are a writer because you write, NOT because you HAVE a keyboard.
  • You are a reader because you read, NOT because you HAVE books.
  • You are a musician because you play music, NOT because you HAVE instruments.
  • You are a coach because you coach, NOT because you HAVE clients.
  • You are a friend because you pursue and facilitate connection and belonging, NOT because you HAVE people to hang out with.

We HAVE brains. We HAVE eyes. We CHOOSE mindsets, consciously and unconsciously. Mindsets are the lenses through which we see and make meaning out of our lives.

We can choose to see the world through that which we have and don’t have, but that isn’t very amenable to growth. The opportunity that cultivating and practicing a growth mindset affords us is to be open, curious, and in pursuit of wisdom gained from that which we don’t know we don’t know.

What we HAVE is possibility… The possibility to PRACTICE, PLAY, and PURSUE.

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