Growth Mindset: The Most Wanted Soft Skill of 21st Century

November 07, 2023

We often hear the term ‘Growth Mindset’ in relation to personality development and progress of an individual.
Growth mindset is one of the most wanted soft skills of the 21 st century. Today there is one employability skill to rule and that is the ‘Growth Mindset’. So it is extremely vital for students to develop a growth mindset for success.

Having a growth mindset means believing that a person’s abilities can be improved through effort, learning, and persistence. A growth mindset is all about the attitude with which a person faces challenges, how they process failures, and how they adapt and evolve as a result.

The future of workplaces is quite uncertain. According to a report, by 2030 more than 300 million people will have to learn new skills or change positions due to increased automation and mechanisation in the work place.

What is Growth Mindset?

Carol Dweck and her colleagues conducted a research on students’ attitude toward failure. The term “Growth Mindset” was coined by Dweck in the early 2000s to describe beliefs about intelligence and learning. During their study, they found that students cope with failure differently: some integrate the experience in their growth plan, while others simply get stuck. Although the theory stems from education, it quickly outgrew it and became integrated into all fields, including sports and workplace psychology.

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset

Individuals with a fixed mindset believe in innate talents and gifts and do not devote a lot of time and energy to learning. They tend to avoid challenges out of fear of failure. What is more, a fixed mindset correlates with negative thinking, which can be detrimental to one’s psychological well-being. People with a fixed mindset usually attribute a lot of meaning to success, but especially to failure. They view failure – regardless of how small it may be – as a personal affront. They believe that failing means they are not good enough. And since intellect and talent are thought to be innate, there is nothing to do about this. Some adopt a defensive mechanism and deflect responsibility and blame to others.

Here are some characteristic behaviors for people with a fixed mindset:
1. Avoid challenges
2. Hide mistakes
3. Disregard feedback
4. Respond to feedback in a defensive manner
5. View feedback as criticism

In comparison, people with a growth mindset believe that talent and intellect are malleable and can be developed throughout their life. Thus, they focus more on hard work and learning. These individuals also tend to be more open to feedback from others than those with a fixed mindset.
Setbacks are viewed as an integral part of evolution, as opportunities to learn and improve future actions. People with a growth mindset use failure as motivation to better themselves and their performance. Through overcoming obstacles, they build resilience and boost their creativity. Therefore, failure is not charged with negative implications, as is the case for people with a fixed mindset.

Key Elements:
Following are the key elements of a growth mindset:
1) Intelligence can be developed.
2) Embrace challenges.
3) Persist in the face of setbacks.
4) See effort as a path to mastery.
5) Learn from criticism. Find inspiration in the success of others.

Develop Growth Mindset
There are a few ways you can develop a growth mindset:
1. Identify areas you have a fixed mindset;
2. Seek feedback;
3. Embrace failure;
4. Pursue challenges;
5. Ask questions;
6. Take pride in the journey;
7. Praise effort, not abilities.
The Sky is the Limit
A person with a growth mindset will be driven by a constant desire to learn new skills and develop existing ones. The fearlessness and innovation displayed by these individuals can be an asset for any one and they will be the most desired as employees.
Dr Sangeeta Srivastava
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