Ever since Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, has been published in 2007, “the growth mindset” has been a buzzword. I’ve already talked about its power in the past. How it can be the key to deeper learning, and growth in many areas of your life.
And there have plenty of studies that have continued to explore the growth mindset.((Education Week: Carol Dweck Revisits the ‘Growth Mindset’)) But one thing that I haven’t touched on yet is that while we can be fostering a growth mindset, Dweck makes an important note:
“The path to a growth mindset is a journey, not a proclamation.”
What this means is not only should we be creating an environment, but indulge in growth mindset activities. Activities that can help us develop ourselves further and enjoy the process.
What Is a Growth Mindset?
For the uninitiated, a growth mindset is a mindset coined by Carol Dweck, Dweck talks about two mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset.
Based on her research, Dweck came to realize that whether a child would succeed or fail boiled down to their mindset. She realized that those who were encouraged to learn more had a different attitude and behaviour about everything in life compared to others.
For example, one student would see challenges as opportunities to grow while others would give up after they failed the first time. She attributed these behaviors to the two mindsets I mentioned above.
But though Dweck’s research covered children, adults aren’t that different. We are after all a more mature version of our habits as children in some cases.
For example, look at our own goals in life. Are you someone who doesn’t set them or gives up after you failed? Chances are you have a fixed mindset which suggests that everything you do is based on your current skills. You also – in all likelihood – have stopped learning about your industry or growing your skills.
Unless you have a growth mindset.
7 Growth Mindset Activities To Try
So if you are looking to be growing yourself, it’s important to develop your mindset. One such way is through growth mindset activities. Even though it’s best to learn and use these at a younger age, we can still change our ways as we grow older. As the saying goes,
“The best time to grow a tree was ten years ago. The second best time to grow one is right now.”
With that in mind, here are some growth mindset activities you can try out.
1. Self Exploration
If it’s not clear already, our current mindset influences how we shape our future moving forward. If we have a fixed mindset, chances are likely that we’ll be stuck in the same position we are in right now.
So one thing that we can do to change that is doing some growth mindset activities that encourage us to change. One such activity is self-exploration. This means diving into your mindset and start making changes to that mindset.
To help with that, I suggest watching the video ‘Lost Generation’. It’s a two-minute video, but the idea is to get others to watch the video, and for you and the others to discuss what they found about this video.
The idea of the discussions is to touch on how the future changes based on the attitude we adopt today. You want to end this experiment with the question: What happens when we change our mindsets?
If you can’t do this in a group or with someone else, you can still gain some benefits by asking about how you felt about the video.
2. Identify Everday Mindset Examples
A fixed mindset and growth mindset don’t just show up in learning environments but everyday life too. Out of the several growth mindset activities out there, this one brings our attitudes to the forefront. How it does that is that we are looking at the behavior and presenting examples.
To do this activity, take several sheets of paper and an assortment of colored pens. If you’re doing this by yourself, then you could type these out.
After that, write down examples of how each mindset can be applied in everyday life. These can be phrases that each mindset uses, their opinions to subjects like challenges, failure, and roadblocks, how they handle adversity, and so on.
To do this activity properly, you will need to have a general description of both of these mindsets. It also pays to do this in a group as the idea is to write these out and then discuss why you think this way.
3. Take Action
One of the simplest growth mindset activities out there is to do it. Starting something new, whether it’s learning something or building a habit, is the toughest part. If you have a fixed mindset, there are good odds that you’re not eager to step out of that comfort zone.
If you want to develop a growth mindset, you’ll need to change your attitude and start doing more. This isn’t just focusing on stuff you’re passionate about. It’s also about exploring new passions. This means trying things you wouldn’t have thought of.
Similar to self-exploration, self-reflection is also important. Self-reflection is one of the growth mindset activities that looks at your external self rather than internal. It’ll focus on your skills that you’ve built and how you were able to develop them.
Regardless of the mindset you have right now, reflecting this way can piece together many things. For one, it helps us to realize that when we first started something, we weren’t good at it. And over time, we got used to it.
A great example is the work that you’re doing today. Think back to your first day at work. What was it like? Did you show up being able to move through a routine and have a solid workflow for the entire day? Or did you have to experiment and figure out what you were good at and what you needed some guidance with?
When you take up a new skill, make sure to reflect on your progress too. Keep a record of your changes.
5. Research Neuroplasticity
Neuroplasticity is the study of our brain and how it adapts to the environments, actions and experiences we go through life.((NCBI: Adult Neuroplasticity: More Than 40 Years of Research)) What this research uncovered was the fact that how we thought of brains before was all wrong.
For a long time, we though our brain was a “non-renewable” organ. We never thought our brain could form other neurons on its own, let alone be able to grow and be shaped however we like.
What decades of research have uncovered is that, regardless of our age, we can grow and learn new things. After all, our brain contains many circuits and pathways.
What this means in simple terms is that, these pathways allow our brain to push us through a sequence of steps. The more we go through those steps, the more our brain builds up that pathway. It eventually forms a circuit that allows us to perform that task with more skill and speed than before.
Being aware of neuroplasticity and how it can impact our lives is key to our growth.
6. Actively Look for Opportunities to Learn
Better yet, to look for learning opportunities that you think you don’t fit in for. This can be within your own industry or outside of it.
Whatever the case is, taking up something you are hesitant towards can build you up. The biggest reason for that is it teaches you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It also teaches you about how your attitude matters.
Again, someone with a fixed mindset would hesitate and give up when things get tough. Someone with a growth mindset will push forward in their own way.
By no means will learning a little about a subject or practicing a skill will make you a professional in that area. But it will bring you one step closer to being knowledgable and good in that area. That can be the confidence you need to do this more and apply it to your life.
7. Develop Grit
Grit is what defines your perseverance to meet the goals that you set. It’s the effort that you’ll put into your work and your willingness to overcome obstacles and keep moving.
Developing grit comes down to finding something that you are interested in or have a passion for and continue to improve it. Another way to see it is that through hard and necessary work, you can develop, improve, and succeed in that area over time.
To develop grit is to surround yourself with those who have grit as well. Find the people who stick to their goals and work closely with them. Being with those who show up every day will ensure you become like them in time.
Dr. Angela Duckworth’s book Grit is a good read to help you develop grit.
The list of growth mindset activities is abundant. Out of them all, there is no superior method to develop a growth mindset. The key is to find the methods that work best for you.
So adopt the attitude to experiment and see what you like. After all, trying these growth mindset activities will develop your mindset to begin with.
More to Train Your Brain
- 9 Mindset Shifts That Will Help You Live Your Dream Life
- 17 Ways To Develop a Growth Mindset
- 7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power