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Published on January 30, 2020

7 Growth Mindset Activities To Build Your Mindset

7 Growth Mindset Activities To Build Your Mindset

Ever since Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, has been published in 2007, “the growth mindset” has been a buzzword. I’ve already talked about its power in the past. How it can be the key to deeper learning, and growth in many areas of your life.

And there have plenty of studies that have continued to explore the growth mindset.[1] But one thing that I haven’t touched on yet is that while we can be fostering a growth mindset, Dweck makes an important note:

“The path to a growth mindset is a journey, not a proclamation.”

What this means is not only should we be creating an environment, but indulge in growth mindset activities. Activities that can help us develop ourselves further and enjoy the process.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

For the uninitiated, a growth mindset is a mindset coined by Carol Dweck, Dweck talks about two mindsets: fixed mindset and growth mindset.

Based on her research, Dweck came to realize that whether a child would succeed or fail boiled down to their mindset. She realized that those who were encouraged to learn more had a different attitude and behaviour about everything in life compared to others.

For example, one student would see challenges as opportunities to grow while others would give up after they failed the first time. She attributed these behaviors to the two mindsets I mentioned above.

But though Dweck’s research covered children, adults aren’t that different. We are after all a more mature version of our habits as children in some cases.

For example, look at our own goals in life. Are you someone who doesn’t set them or gives up after you failed? Chances are you have a fixed mindset which suggests that everything you do is based on your current skills. You also – in all likelihood – have stopped learning about your industry or growing your skills.

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Unless you have a growth mindset.

7 Growth Mindset Activities To Try

So if you are looking to be growing yourself, it’s important to develop your mindset. One such way is through growth mindset activities. Even though it’s best to learn and use these at a younger age, we can still change our ways as we grow older. As the saying goes,

“The best time to grow a tree was ten years ago. The second best time to grow one is right now.”

With that in mind, here are some growth mindset activities you can try out.

1. Self Exploration

If it’s not clear already, our current mindset influences how we shape our future moving forward. If we have a fixed mindset, chances are likely that we’ll be stuck in the same position we are in right now.

So one thing that we can do to change that is doing some growth mindset activities that encourage us to change. One such activity is self-exploration. This means diving into your mindset and start making changes to that mindset.

To help with that, I suggest watching the video ‘Lost Generation’. It’s a two-minute video, but the idea is to get others to watch the video, and for you and the others to discuss what they found about this video.

The idea of the discussions is to touch on how the future changes based on the attitude we adopt today. You want to end this experiment with the question: What happens when we change our mindsets?

If you can’t do this in a group or with someone else, you can still gain some benefits by asking about how you felt about the video.

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Here’s the video:

2. Identify Everday Mindset Examples

A fixed mindset and growth mindset don’t just show up in learning environments but everyday life too. Out of the several growth mindset activities out there, this one brings our attitudes to the forefront. How it does that is that we are looking at the behavior and presenting examples.

To do this activity, take several sheets of paper and an assortment of colored pens. If you’re doing this by yourself, then you could type these out.

After that, write down examples of how each mindset can be applied in everyday life. These can be phrases that each mindset uses, their opinions to subjects like challenges, failure, and roadblocks, how they handle adversity, and so on.

To do this activity properly, you will need to have a general description of both of these mindsets. It also pays to do this in a group as the idea is to write these out and then discuss why you think this way.

3. Take Action

One of the simplest growth mindset activities out there is to do it. Starting something new, whether it’s learning something or building a habit, is the toughest part. If you have a fixed mindset, there are good odds that you’re not eager to step out of that comfort zone.

If you want to develop a growth mindset, you’ll need to change your attitude and start doing more. This isn’t just focusing on stuff you’re passionate about. It’s also about exploring new passions. This means trying things you wouldn’t have thought of.

4. Self-Reflection

Similar to self-exploration, self-reflection is also important. Self-reflection is one of the growth mindset activities that looks at your external self rather than internal. It’ll focus on your skills that you’ve built and how you were able to develop them.

Regardless of the mindset you have right now, reflecting this way can piece together many things. For one, it helps us to realize that when we first started something, we weren’t good at it. And over time, we got used to it.

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A great example is the work that you’re doing today. Think back to your first day at work. What was it like? Did you show up being able to move through a routine and have a solid workflow for the entire day? Or did you have to experiment and figure out what you were good at and what you needed some guidance with?

When you take up a new skill, make sure to reflect on your progress too. Keep a record of your changes.

5. Research Neuroplasticity

Neuroplasticity is the study of our brain and how it adapts to the environments, actions and experiences we go through life.[2] What this research uncovered was the fact that how we thought of brains before was all wrong.

For a long time, we though our brain was a “non-renewable” organ. We never thought our brain could form other neurons on its own, let alone be able to grow and be shaped however we like.

What decades of research have uncovered is that, regardless of our age, we can grow and learn new things. After all, our brain contains many circuits and pathways.

What this means in simple terms is that, these pathways allow our brain to push us through a sequence of steps. The more we go through those steps, the more our brain builds up that pathway. It eventually forms a circuit that allows us to perform that task with more skill and speed than before.

Being aware of neuroplasticity and how it can impact our lives is key to our growth.

6. Actively Look for Opportunities to Learn

Better yet, to look for learning opportunities that you think you don’t fit in for. This can be within your own industry or outside of it.

Whatever the case is, taking up something you are hesitant towards can build you up. The biggest reason for that is it teaches you to be comfortable with being uncomfortable. It also teaches you about how your attitude matters.

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Again, someone with a fixed mindset would hesitate and give up when things get tough. Someone with a growth mindset will push forward in their own way.

By no means will learning a little about a subject or practicing a skill will make you a professional in that area. But it will bring you one step closer to being knowledgable and good in that area. That can be the confidence you need to do this more and apply it to your life.

7. Develop Grit

Grit is what defines your perseverance to meet the goals that you set. It’s the effort that you’ll put into your work and your willingness to overcome obstacles and keep moving.

Developing grit comes down to finding something that you are interested in or have a passion for and continue to improve it. Another way to see it is that through hard and necessary work, you can develop, improve, and succeed in that area over time.

To develop grit is to surround yourself with those who have grit as well. Find the people who stick to their goals and work closely with them. Being with those who show up every day will ensure you become like them in time.

Dr. Angela Duckworth’s book Grit is a good read to help you develop grit.

Final Thoughts

The list of growth mindset activities is abundant. Out of them all, there is no superior method to develop a growth mindset. The key is to find the methods that work best for you.

So adopt the attitude to experiment and see what you like. After all, trying these growth mindset activities will develop your mindset to begin with.

More to Train Your Brain

Featured photo credit: Eris Setiawan via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on October 22, 2020

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

What Is Analysis Paralysis (And How to Overcome It)

Have you ever taken so long trying to solve a problem that you just ended up going around in circles? How about trying to make a major decision and just freezing up when the time to decide came?

You might have found yourself gathering too much information, hoping it will help you make the best decision—even if it takes you too long to do so. This probably led to many missed opportunities, especially in situations where you needed to act on time.

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision. However, delayed decision making can have a hugely negative impact on all aspects of your life—from your personal relationships to your career. Delaying important decisions can be the worst decision of all.

At one point or another, people get stuck at a decision impasse they can’t seem to overcome. This is due to a mental blindspot called information bias, informally known as analysis paralysis.

Analysis Paralysis and Stalled Decisions

Information bias, or analysis paralysis, is our tendency to seek more information than is needed to make decisions and take action.[1] It is one of many cognitive biases that cause us to make mistakes during the decision-making process.

A related cognitive bias is the status quo bias, which is our tendency to prefer that things stay the same and fear any changes.[2] Together with analysis paralysis, these two dangerous judgment errors pose a threat to our successful navigation through our rapidly-shifting world.

Consider what happened to Lily, a consulting client of mine who’s a mid-level manager in the UX department of a large tech company. Lily had been there for 5 years and was thinking about switching to a startup after a couple tried to recruit her.

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However, she had been taking a lot of time making a decision. In fact, before she contacted me, she had already gathered information and talked to a lot of people for 7 months. Realistically, more information won’t sway her decision, but she kept trying to gather more information.

And then, there was the technology company that came to me after their growth started to decline. The company had initially experienced rapid growth with a couple of innovative products. However, its growth started to decrease—unfortunate, but not unexpected.

Essentially, the company’s growth followed the typical S-curve growth model, which starts as a slow and effortful start-up stage. This is followed by a rapid growth stage, then a slowdown in growth, often following market saturation or competitive pressure or other factors. This is the point where the company’s existing products reach maturity.

However, even before a slowdown hits, forward-thinking companies would innovate and change things up proactively. This is so they could have new products ready to go that would maintain rapid growth.

Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case with this particular tech company. Not only did they not address the potential decline but once the company’s growth stalled, the leaders dug their heels in and stayed the course. They kept on analyzing the market to find the cause of the problem.

Worse, a couple of executives in the company proposed launching new products, but most of the leadership was cautious. They kept on asking for guarantees that the products would be a success, demanding more information even when additional information wasn’t relevant.

Both Lily and the tech company remained paralyzed by too much information when they should already have taken action. While this situation isn’t unexpected, it is totally avoidable.

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As I told both parties when they consulted me, all they needed to do was to face analysis paralysis head-on and make a decision. But they had to follow the best decision-making process available first, didn’t they?

8-Step Decision-Making Process to Avoid Analysis Paralysis

I told Lily and the leaders at the tech company that we should never go with our gut if we want to avoid disasters in our personal and professional lives.[3] Instead, I advised them, as I advise you now, to follow data-driven, research-based approaches, such as the one I’ll outline below.

From hiring a new employee, launching a new product, selecting a Zoom guest speaker for your annual video conference to deciding whether to apply for a higher-level position within your company, the following steps will help you fight analysis paralysis and make the best decisions possible.

1. Identify the Need to Launch a Decision-Making Process

This is particularly important when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change or decision to be made. Such recognition is also applicable when your natural intuitions are keeping you from acknowledging the need for a tough decision.

Remember that the best decision-makers take the initiative to recognize the need for decisions before they become an emergency. They also don’t let gut reactions cloud their decision-making capacity.

2. Gather Relevant Information From a Wide Variety of Informed Perspectives

Listen especially to opinions you disagree with. Contradicting perspectives empower you to distance yourself from the comfortable reliance on your gut instincts, which can sometimes be harmful to decision-making. Opposing ideas also help you recognize any potential bias blind spots, and this allows you to come up with solutions that you may not have otherwise.

3. Paint a Clear Vision of Your Desired Outcome

Using the data gleaned from step 2, decide which goals you want to reach. Paint a clear vision of the desired outcome of your decision-making process. You should also recognize that what seems to be a one-time decision may turn out to be a symptom of an underlying issue with current processes and practices. Make addressing these root problems part of the outcome you want to achieve.

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4. Make a Decision-Making Process Criteria

Make a decision-making process criteria to weigh the various options of how you’d like to get to your desired outcome. As much as possible, develop these criteria before you start to consider choices. Our intuitions bias our decision-making criteria to encourage certain outcomes that fit our instincts. As a result, you get overall worse decisions if you don’t develop criteria before starting to look at options.

5. Generate Several Viable Options

We tend to fall into the trap of generating insufficient options to make the best decisions, and this can lead to analysis paralysis. To prevent this, you should generate many more options than you usually would. Generate several viable options that can help you achieve your decision-making process goals. Go for 5 attractive options as the minimum.

Keep in mind that this is a brainstorming step, so don’t judge options no matter how far fetched they might seem. In my consulting and coaching experience, the optimal choice often involves elements drawn from out-of-the-box options.

6. Weigh These Options and Pick the Best One

When weighing your options, beware of going with your initial preferences. Try to see your preferred choice in a harsh light. Also, do your best to separate each option from the person who proposed it. This minimizes the impact of personalities, relationships, and internal politics on the decision itself.

7. Implement the Option You Chose

For implementing the decision, you need to minimize risks and maximize rewards, since your goal is to get a decision outcome that’s as good as possible.

First, imagine that the decision completely failed. Then, brainstorm about all the problems that led to this failure. Next, consider how you might solve these problems, and integrate the solutions into your implementation plan.

Next, imagine that the decision absolutely succeeded. Brainstorm all the reasons for success and consider how you can bring these reasons into life. Then, integrate what you learned into implementing the decisions.

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Finally, develop clear metrics of success that you can measure throughout the implementation process. This will enable you to check if you’re meeting the goals you identified in step 3. It will also help guide your goal-setting process—something to keep in mind when you use this decision-making technique again in the future.

8. Set a Reminder to Use the Process for Future Decisions

Regularly check if it’s time to employ the decision-making process once again. As discussed in the first step, there may be times when there’s no explicit crisis that cries out for a change, even though underlying issues might already be signaling that it’s time for a tough decision.

Setting a reminder—perhaps a visual one such as a note on your desk, or even just a scheduled alert on your phone—will ensure that you can catch decision-making cues before they’re due.

While Lily and the tech company initially had to fight off a lot of discomforts when using the process, they were ultimately rewarded with sound decisions they were immensely satisfied with.

This battle-tested method will do the same for you. It will certainly propel your decision-making and, at the same time, help you thwart analysis paralysis and avoid decision disasters.

Conclusion

Nobody wants to make the wrong decision, but you also don’t want to take too long and miss opportunities. By using a data-driven and research-based approach to decision making, you can nip analysis paralysis in the bud and make the best decisions.

More Tips to Overcome Analysis Paralysis

Featured photo credit: Muhmed El-Bank via unsplash.com

Reference

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