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Introspection - Your Growth Mindset Companion

5 simple ways to trigger introspection and improve the growth mindset

There is no such thing as thinking for thinking’s sake. No one ever thinks without an objective. This objective can be positive, like how to become better; or it can be negative, like how to rob a bank without getting caught. Both require the same skills, the same process, the same amount of energy and maybe the same amount of time. It may start with an “Aha” moment, or with an event that presents a brand new perspective. No matter how it starts, the end result will always be the same – to derive a course of action. There is one particular branch of thinking that almost always brings about personal change, and a real asset to the growth mindset, introspection. Introspection means “looking inside” and it is the process of thinking about one’s thought processes, one’s emotions, one’s actions and how they impact others. In this article, I will share with you 5 simple ways to trigger introspection, and to help you increase your growth mindset.

Be open and listen

One of the first things we need to do to be introspective is to be open. If one is unable to hear different points of view, or is unable to connect what is being said to ourselves, then there is no way to get better. To be open means we have to suspend both judgement and self-righteousness. Once we are able to do this, we will find so many ways to get better, and this is key to the growth mindset, isn’t it?


My Success Quotient Intelligence (SQI) assessment confirmed that my details management trait score is very low. I have known this for the longest time, and I overcome this by appointing people who are themselves strong in details management to help me. In this way, I can focus on doing the things that I am good at. Of late, however, I have come to see that if I had wanted to get better, this was an area I cannot neglect. In fact, if I can simply increase this trait by about 50%, my effectiveness as a leader may well increase three- to four-fold. This can be quite significant. So this self-awareness, usually brought about by some form of assessment, is helpful in building a stronger growth mindset. (PS: If you want to know more about yourself, especially your growth mindset inclination, do sign up for your FREE assessment here!)

Learning from others

Last Saturday I was watching a CNBC programme called, “Running in the Family”. In this episode, it featured a Vietnam beverage maker which manufactures, bottles and distributes one billion litres of beverage a year. They are being courted by many large MNCs, including Coca Cola. One key point hit me while I was watching this programme. This was mentioned by the Founder’s daughter who recounted some of the lessons her father taught her, “A good leader must be able to see the details.” This struck me as significant because it has come at a time when I am also looking at improving my relatively low details management score (see previous point). When we are open, and learn from others, the messages will come back to us, and from there, we can reflect where we would like to take this.

Talking to people who know us

Taking counsel from people has been a known process to develop introspection. The key ingredient again is openness. But there is an added advantage here in that the person whom we are speaking to knows us, and if he speaks the truth, is doing it with all honesty to help us get better. When we seek out such counsel, it is important not to shoot the messenger when the message is not savoury. It is precisely these people – our family, our friends, our colleagues – who want to see us get better, and to offer us advice to that effect. By talking to them, and being open to what they say, to what they suggest, we can fuel introspection, and develop the growth mindset.

Read widely and reflect

One last way to improve on introspection is to read widely. Widely means just that – all kinds of different subjects, by different authors. And when we read, we should read with a mind to learn, a mind to question, a mind to improve. When a new concept is discussed, take that and see how you can extrapolate that to your own circumstances, and see what changes you need to make to get it to work.

As you can see, introspection needs inputs. These could be information about your current self, identifying what may be holding you back, or these could be information that are successful to others now, and ask you to see how you too can make use of that. Ultimately, you will need to put these information through the processor, and ask yourself how you can do better with this. And when you have uncovered that, you would have opened up a whole new world of improvement, of growth.

And that is the growth mindset at work!


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