by Laura Camacho, PhD
Did you know that your brain is constantly rewiring itself? That’s what neuroplasticity is all about. Use this knowledge to grow your brain! Psychologist and researcher Dr. Carol Dweck coined the “growth versus fixed mindset” framework more than 10 years ago. This concept allows you to train your brain to be a better problem solver by adapting more of a growth mindset.
A person with a growth mindset sees mistakes or setbacks as opportunities for learning. Growth mindset means to focus on the process of mastering something new, to enjoy being challenged, and to learn.
In contrast, a person with a fixed mindset views her abilities or skills as inborn, and avoids trying new or challenging activities or goals because of fear of failure. The fixed mindset sees outcomes through a binary lens of success or failure, rather than seeing opportunity for experimentation and growth.
The fixed mindset tends to focus obsessively on outcomes.
You grow your brain’s ability by shifting your focus to effort, instead of outcome.
With a growth mindset, the focus is on the process. Regardless of whether you achieve the goal, of whether the outcome is perfect, be sure to notice what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown. You become more comfortable with making blunders because you know those are just opportunities for learning and improving.
Growth mindset, when applied to your thoughts about yourself, takes your focus off past accomplishments. Instead, you want to consider what you’ve learned and how you’ve grown as a person and as a business owner. Maybe even as a parent or community leader.
GIVE IT A GO!
EXERCISE: Write down 10 ways you have grown personally or professionally in the last year or so. Think about specific skills you have improved (example, sales or giving feedback). Maybe you have become more patient or compassionate.
Read over your list and notice your internal state. Feeling proud, strong, or even relief from negative self-talk, that means your brain is getting more resilient! Read over the list frequently until you internalize these accomplishments. Your self-talk improves a bit with each reading.
And that shift in thinking, my friend, is sure to grow your brain.
Laura Camacho, MBA, PhD, PMP, is an executive coach, trainer and speaker who opened Mixonian Institute in 2009 to rid the world of boring business communication. She has created innovative training programs for local and international companies, related to leadership effectiveness, excellent feedback, growth mindset and emotional intelligence. Multilingual, Dr. Camacho’s career highlights include facilitating The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People (in Spanish,) being editor of the leading management newsletter in Venezuela. For 10 years she taught communication classes at ECU and College of Charleston. www.mixonian.com
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