Why Is a Growth Mindset Important for Personal Success?

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Be Your Future Self Now" by Benjamin Hardy. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Why is a growth mindset important? How can you take ownership of your circumstances?

If you fixate on the past and its problems, you’ll never take the initiative to move forward. Be Your Future Self Now by Benjamin Hardy illustrates this by showing how a growth mindset helps you inspire change in the future.

Check out why a growth mindset is important for people stuck in the past.

Take Ownership of Your Circumstances and Ability to Change

Why is a growth mindset important? While some people fixate on their past, others believe that their present circumstances are beyond their control and are limiting their ability to change. For example, if you don’t currently have the skills to be a professional graphic designer, you may feel like you’ll never be able to do so. 

However, Hardy argues that, as with your past experiences, it’s your responsibility to determine how your current circumstances impact you and to acknowledge your potential and opportunities for growth despite them. To do so, find at least one way in which any given event can benefit you. For example, being turned down for a graphic design gig is a perfect way for you to identify which skills you need to improve on to become a better graphic designer. Further, if you don’t like your present circumstances, identify actions you can take to change them.

(Shortform note: Hardy’s recommendation to interpret every event, good or bad, as an opportunity for growth is a core component of ancient Stoic philosophy. Experts recommend nine exercises based on Stoicism that can increase your ability to glean positives from seemingly negative situations and determine how to take action to alter your circumstances. For example, practice the dichotomy of control—differentiating between what you can change and what you can’t. This will help you take control of your situation to change it for the better when it’s possible, and prevent you from dwelling on negative situations when there’s nothing you can do to change them.)

Hardy contends that adopting a growth mindset is crucial for taking ownership of your circumstances and ability to change. A growth mindset is the belief that you can improve your present state through hard work and determination. Hardy recommends adopting this mindset by identifying the differences between your past and present self and the anticipated differences between your present and higher self. This will help you recognize that, as your past self has learned and grown into your more knowledgeable present self, your present self can similarly learn and grow into your higher self.

Develop a Growth Mindset

Carol S. Dweck developed and popularized the concept of a growth mindset in her book Mindset. Her recommendations for how to develop a growth mindset are more detailed and may be more effective than Hardy’s because they focus on overcoming your fixed (negative) mindset first. A fixed mindset is the belief that your abilities are unchangeable, and it causes people to avoid challenges, get defensive, give up, see effort as pointless, reject feedback, and more. Without first overcoming your fixed mindset, Dweck says that you’ll struggle to develop a growth mindset. She recommends accomplishing both feats by doing the following:

  1. Accept that you have a fixed mindset so you can realize that your negative beliefs aren’t reflective of your true ability to change.
  2. Learn what triggers your fixed beliefs. For example, maybe your fixed mindset becomes active in situations where someone outperforms you. Understanding your triggers can help you resist your fixed beliefs.
  3. Name your fixed mindset persona to differentiate it from you. This way, when fixed beliefs try to take control of your mind, you can remind yourself that these thoughts don’t reflect reality and that this isn’t who you want to be.
  4. Talk down your fixed mindset persona. When your fixed beliefs arise, talk to the persona you developed in the previous step and explain why their beliefs aren’t rational. This will help you overcome your negative responses and adopt a more positive outlook.
Why Is a Growth Mindset Important for Personal Success?

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  • Why everyone must try to live up to their full potential
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Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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