Growth mindset and goal setting
“Whether you think that you can or think that you can’t-- you’re right”- Henry Ford. You’ve probably heard this Henry Ford quote before and whether you have or you haven’t, either way he’s right. I’m not sure if he knew it at the time, but Mr. Ford was talking about growth vs. fixed mindset. But, what does that mean? What does a growth mindset look like in comparison to a fixed mindset? Why is it important?
Carol Dweck is a leading researcher in the field of growth mindset and she explains a fixed mindset here, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
We all get to discover and develop our unique talents here at ASU, but we should also recognize our weaknesses and realize that they are not permanent. This is what growth mindset is all about. It is realizing that you may not be good at something now, but in time you will develop and get better.
Here are some examples of how we can reframe a fixed mindset into a growth mindset.
Instead of: I’m terrible at accounting. There’s no point, I just don’t get it.
Think: How can I better prepare for the next test?
Instead of: I’m not strong so I’m not going to work out.
Think: If I work out consistently, I will become stronger.
I also like to look back a few years and think, “What was something that I was not very good at in the past that I have made improvements in over the years?” Asking this question provides evidence that we do improve over time and with effort. Remember, whether you think you can or you can’t - you certainly can with a growth mindset!
Mason Ford, Sports Law and Business, MSLB ‘21, ASU Counseling Services management intern, Devils 4 Devils ASU student organization president