COACH columnist

Whether in the gym or facing life, there is always opportunity for growth. In fact, if you believe this, there is a name for it: the growth mindset. Coined by Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, the growth mindset is grounded in gratitude. On the other hand, the fixed mindset is grounded in limitations. Josh Bryant takes a dive into what it means to have a growth mindset and how you can start cultivating one today.

The Growth Mindset

The growth mindset dictates that no one is born a winner or a loser, but rather a chooser. This means that you can be a winner if you want to be; you don’t have to come into existence a certain way. In other words, it’s not a matter of smart versus dumb, but learner vs. non-learner. This mindset views challenges as tools to help someone grow rather than a bad omen.

“Hard work is not a sign of weakness.”

Additionally, the growth mindset finds feedback constructive rather than insulting. It also recognizes that effort is necessary. In short, the growth mindset is a “yet” mindset (“I have not achieved this” versus “I have not achieved this…yet”). For every cause there is an effect and each choice is based on free will; you are the master of your fate.

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The Fixed Mindset

Contrary to the flexible nature of the growth mindset, the fixed mindset is set in blacks and whites. It is only a matter of can versus can’t; there is no in-between. This limits growth potential, as it teaches someone that they aren’t winning simply because they weren’t born a winner and there is no room for argument.

“Even if someone is being mean-spirited, you can still learn from it. Use it and move on.”

The fixed mindset sticks only to what someone knows and nothing beyond that. This mindset is not one of learning, nor does it like change. For example, feedback is often considered a personal insult rather than a tool for self-improvement. The fixed mindset is mastered by fate and not the other way around.

How to Develop a Growth Mindset

Considering the potential that can be gained from having a growth mindset, it’s clear to see that it’s the best option for reaching your goals. If you’re not there yet, it’s simply a matter of teaching yourself to have a better growth mindset until you’re fully there. Here are Josh Bryant’s steps to achieving a growth mindset:

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1. Embrace Belief
Believe in yourself and your capabilities and you will open up your potential to achieve your goals.

2. Embrace Challenges
Use challenges as a means to get better.

3. Embrace Hard Work
Rather than something to be intimidated by, hard work is a necessary ingredient in pushing yourself to your full potential.

4. Learn from Criticism
Receiving criticism isn’t easy, but it is important. Find the value in it and use it to better yourself, no matter how harsh.

5. Be Inspired by Success
Rather than stewing in envy of others’ success, use it as inspiration for your own. Instead of looking at the negatives of a situation, look for the opportunity for your own success.

6. Have a White Belt Mentality
Recognize that you can learn from anyone, anywhere, at any time.

7. Cultivate a Sense of Purpose
Start with the “why.” The “how” will come later.

8. Believe in Heroes
Seek inspiration in those you look up to. Use this to motivate yourself to reach their level and beyond.

9. Develop Self-Awareness
Be able to reflect honestly on your progress. Know that you only have as much potential as you allow yourself to have.

Now that you’re equipped with the information you need to develop your own growth mindset, it’s worth looking at where you currently stand. Are you at 85 percent growth mindset/15 percent fixed mindset or vice versa? Either way, you can begin shifting your current mindset to one of total growth right this very second. What will you accomplish once you do?