Are you subverting your growth mindset?


Let's assume for a moment that you want to develop the growth mindset. On a cognitive level, you understand that having a resilient, agile and learning mindset will get you further in your career or your personal life. You understand that there are 5 Dimensions to the growth mindset - learning, bounce back, risk taking, forward and pride - and you totally agree that you need to focus on one or two Dimensions to get yourself onto the growth plane.


And then nothing happens.


Your life is the same today as it was yesterday before you decided that you want to embrace growth minded behaviours. What gives? Why is it that we are unable to flip the switch and become growth minded, since we had already decided to be growth minded? Could it be that the whole idea of the growth mindset is bogus? Certainly not! It could be that you are subconsciously subverting your growth mindset development. Here are some reasons...

1. Not convinced


Finally, we must agree to disagree at times. If the individual disagrees that the growth mindset will be an asset for him/her, we must agree to that. After all, he is living his context, not you.

It happens to all of us. We say that we want something, but deep down we are not convinced that we want it. We say that sometimes to appear smart, or to go with the flow. Many a times, it is easier to say yes, but mean no, or maybe, or I don't know. This is a typical fixed mindset behaviour in the Pride dimension - to save our fragile self-concept from external scrutiny. To the untrained listener, the "yes" is a yes. However, when someone is internally conflicted, the yes is not resounding; there is sense of tentativeness, a sense of holding back. For the trained person, he/she will know not to press ahead with the development but to circle back to uncover any concerns. This is best done privately so as not to reveal the person's reservations in front of colleagues and friends, and show him up to be conflicted and not "in" with the crowd. It is also important, when uncovering concerns, to reassure the individual that it is perfectly fine NOT to agree with the crowd. After all, we have always mentioned that growth is not always good and fixed is not always bad - it depends on context. And so, we need to understand the person's context. Does he/she actually see that there is no issue with his/her mindset? What does he/she see as the greatest contributor of the growth mindset for the future? If the person is not convinced that the growth mindset will make a difference going forward, then either we have not made a strong enough case for the growth mindset or it is true that the person's current growth mindset profile fits the needs of his/her job role. Finally, we must agree to disagree at times. If the individual disagrees that the growth mindset will be an asset for him/her, we must agree to that. After all, he is living his context, not you.

2. Not knowing the right behaviours

What if you totally buy into the need for the growth mindset. And you want to be more growth-minded. Yet without really knowing what behaviours constitute growth-mindedness for each Dimension, you will not be able to build the growth mindset. When we want change, we will need to embrace the right behaviours. For example, if you want to be more growth minded in the Pride Dimension, you might have to let go of the need to control; of the need to be right - even if deep down you "know" that you are. By embracing a behaviour of uncovering what is happening and what is not happening - and not prescribing it - we embrace more of the growth mindset for Pride. Or if we wanted to build more growth mindedness in the Forward Dimension, then we need to learn agile behaviours. This is not to say that the planned approach is irrelevant; but it may not be appropriate in a changing, uncertain environment. Finally, if you wanted to be more growth minded in Bounce Back, you might need to develop a supporting network of colleagues and friends, and rely on them to get you up when you fall. If you are unaware of what behaviours will build the growth mindset, then it stands to reason that you might not be able to develop the growth mindset.


3. Not adopting the behaviours