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Published on March 10, 2020

9 Growth Mindset Examples To Apply In Your Life

9 Growth Mindset Examples To Apply In Your Life

Whether you are a manager, parent, business owner, educator, or are in a serious relationship, understanding the core differences between a growth and fixed mindset is important. Depending on which circles you are in, the idea of a proper mindset is discussed all the time these days.

That is due to Dr. Carol Dweck, who wrote a popular book talking about this concept. One thing that stands out in the book is that while Dweck talks about these mindsets, many of the examples that she presents are based around learning.[1]

There is nothing wrong with that, but I believe that when we see growth mindset examples that stretch beyond learning new things, we can see what it means to be successful in life.

What Is a Growth Mindset?

Before jumping into more detail on growth mindset examples, it makes sense to discuss what a growth mindset is.

Going into Dweck’s book, we’ll find she discussed two distinct mindsets: “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. Those that have fixed mindsets believe that everything from traits, talents, and intelligence is fixed. They’re something that is inherited.

A growth mindset, though, is the belief that the foundation of all of our skills can be developed when we devote time and hard work toward them. This, in turn, creates an enthusiasm for learning and resilience when times get tough.

While this all seems straightforward, it’s not always the case. Years later, as Dweck gained more knowledge on this, she looked at how her message was applied.

And the results from others were mediocre — or worse.

Because students and educators alike think about learning and intelligence in different ways, the actions that happen in response could impact learning for everyone, for better or for worse.[2]

For example, one poor application of this information has led to people developing a “false growth mindset.” This could have been a result of improper praise (i.e. “You are so smart.”) from parents or educators. Or it could have come from the belief that growth only comes from intense effort.

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When Dweck came back to her research, she realized that it’s not always about effort, praise, and persistence.[3] A growth mindset is what I described above, but there is a bit more.

It’s recognizing our fixed-mindset triggers and mitigating them, too. Whenever we face challenges or receive criticism, we can become defensive or insecure. This inhibits our growth. The concept of a growth mindset is recognizing what causes this and working around our triggers.

Now that you have a better grasp of what a growth mindset should look like, here are 9 growth mindset examples. Keep in mind that some of these examples contain fixed growth mindsets in order to demonstrate how a growth mindset can solve certain issues.

1. Receiving Criticism

As mentioned above, criticism can lead us to be defensive as our brain can interpret these as attacks on our character and identity. We can run into these scenarios in all kinds of ways, but a common one includes talking to our boss or manager about our performance performance.

In this scenario, a growth mindset example would be walking into those kinds of meetings with an open, relaxed mind. One thing to keep in mind about this is that you and your boss are on the same side. Therefore, whenever there is talk about performance or areas that could be improved upon, know that your boss is keeping your best interests in mind and that this is an opportunity for you to grow and learn.

This can lead to you doing better with your craft.

2. Approaching New Tasks

It doesn’t have to be new tasks specifically. It could be a new path in your life or a new client. Whatever the case is, we tend to experience anxiousness whenever we step out of our comfort zone and have to do something new.

A fixed mindset in this scenario is convincing yourself that you can’t make them happy or that things won’t go well for you at all.

A growth mindset example for this is having the confidence that you’ll make it through. Sure, it’s possible that you will make mistakes, but it’s an opportunity for you to learn.

3. Changing Roles

Another solid growth mindset example is allowing yourself to take on different roles. While it may be similar to doing a new task above, keep in mind that someone is swapping with you. If you’re a manager, you could ensure that someone on your team in a lower position gets that spot.

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This leads to a chance for you to keep sharpening your skills in one area while the other person begins developing a new skill set.

4. Eagerness to Learn

This a prime trait for anyone with a growth mindset, but it’s still a good growth mindset example, nonetheless. This example can also be extended into other areas of work and life.

For example, if you are adopting this mindset, this can change who you wish to spend time around or who you want to let in.

If you’re a manager and want a more engaged and motivated group, it’s important that your employees want to be paying attention and improving their skills.

If you want a stronger and better relationship with your partner, they should be someone who is learning along with you, not just in their career but in their understanding of themselves and the relationship.

When hiring other people into your team, make sure that they are eager to learn new things.

5. Jack Ma’s Story

Jack Ma was the creator of the powerful eCommerce store Alibaba, but his story is a prime example of a growth mindset. Before he founded that company, he had already experienced a great deal of failure.

He failed his college entrance exams three times.

He was turned down by Harvard ten times.

And out of a group of twenty-three applicants to KFC, he was the only one rejected.

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When he created Alibaba, it took him roughly 25 years to get it off the ground.

Jack Ma has a growth mindset partly because of the sheer resilience that he has, but also his openness to learning as well. The fact that he kept on applying himself meant he was learning during and prior to each attempt.

6. Nike’s Beliefs

Nike is one of the top sport shoes company in the world and holds a series of beliefs: innovation, great performance, sustainability, and customization.

Time and time again, we see these through the various shoes that they put out. After all, many customers are coming out satisfied with the shoes they get.

How is this a growth mindset example? Consider their values. In order for a company to continue to retain these values, it’s essential for a business to adapt and change with the times. People’s taste in shoes changes, and as the years go by, we learn that new materials are stronger or can perform better.

A company that wants to stay relevant and satisfy their customers must adapt and remove older ideas and concepts that no longer appl. This behavior is similar to growth mindsets which are constantly evolving as more knowledge is gained.

7. Nokia’s Failure to Adapt

On the reverse side of Nike, we have Nokia. There was a time where Nokia was adaptive in the cell phone market. The fact that any phone they put out was virtually indestructible was something customers remember to this day and loved about this company.

However, how they made phones wasn’t the problem. It was their willingness to adapt. Whether it was stubbornness is hard to say, but refusing to change or adapt is something that a fixed mindset would do. As a result, Nokia can no longer break into the market as it’s been outraced by Android, Samsung, Apple, and Microsoft.

8. Blockbuster’s Refusal to Change

Another growth mindset example can be found looking at Blockbuster. Similar to Nokia, this company has vanished into obscurity as streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and others took over the rental industry.

Though Blockbuster had other issues as well, refusing to change late fees and rental prices also hurt it.

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All of this leads back to a fixed mindset and an example of what can happen when we refuse to grow and adapt. Refusing to change in a world that is evolving every day means you’ll get left behind.

9. Venturing on to New Paths

A growth mindset is all about experimenting and doing new things, but it comes with a certain attitude. When someone has a fixed mindset and are performing well on a particular path, most tend to stick to that task and don’t bother branching out.

We see this in children when they think, “I’m really good at this, so I’ll keep doing this so I don’t disappoint anyone.” Unfortunately, this mindset can stick with us as adults. We can find ourselves refusing to change paths or accept new positions.

In some cases, it can be that we’re happy with everything in our lives, but in some cases, it may simply be a reluctance to trying something new.

On the other hand, a growth mindset example for this would be freely exploring and trying new things. Every new path brings experience.

Final Thoughts

Now that you have some specific growth mindset examples, you will be able to better engage with your own growth mindset. Not only that, but these examples can shed some light on where new decisions may lead us or where past decisions have limited us.

Regardless, what matters moving forward is that we are growing and adapting as best we can.

More Tips on Developing a Growth Mindset

Featured photo credit: Stanislav Kondratiev via unsplash.com

Reference

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Published on June 30, 2020

What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

What Is Unconscious Bias (And How to Reduce It for Good)

Many conversations are being held nowadays regarding unconscious bias, but what does it really mean and how can it affect your life and the people around you? With many types of biases, it can get quite confusing. In this article, we’ll touch on cognitive bias, and then zero in on unconscious bias. Both types of biases have an immediate impact on your life because they relate to how you and others think about yourself and other people.

If you want to protect your relationships and make good decisions about other people, you need to know what these biases mean[1]. Once we have clarity about that, we can explore in more depth unconscious bias and how to address it[2].

Cognitive Bias

Let’s start with cognitive bias[3], a predictable pattern of mental errors that result in us misperceiving reality and, as a result, deviating away from the most likely way of reaching our goals[4].

These mental blind spots impact all areas of our life, from health to relationships and even shopping, as a study recently revealed[5]. In other words, from the perspective of what is best for us as individuals, falling for a cognitive bias always harms us by lowering our probability of getting what we want.

Cognitive biases have to do with judgment, not mood. Ironically, cognitive biases — such as the optimism bias and overconfidence effect — more often lead to positive moods. Of course, the consequence of falling into cognitive biases, once discovered, usually leaves us in a bad mood due to the disastrous results of these dangerous judgment errors.

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Unconscious Bias

Unconscious bias is different from cognitive bias. Also known as implicit bias, it refers to unconscious forms of discrimination and stereotyping based on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, ability, age, and so on[6]. Despite cognitive biases sometimes leading to discriminatory thinking and feeling patterns, these are two separate and distinct concepts.

Cognitive biases are common across humankind and relate to the particular wiring of our brains, while unconscious bias relates to perceptions between different groups and are specific for the society in which we live. For example, I bet you don’t care or even think about whether someone is a noble or a commoner, yet that distinction was fundamentally important a few centuries ago across Europe. To take another example, most people in the US don’t have strong feelings about Sunni vs. Shiite Muslims, yet this distinction is incredibly meaningful in many parts of the world.

Unconscious Bias and Discriminatory Behavior

Organizations often bring me in as a speaker on diversity and inclusion to address potential unconscious discriminatory behavior. When I share in speeches that black Americans suffer from police harassment and violence at a much higher rate than white people, some participants (usually white) occasionally try to defend the police by claiming that black people are more violent and likely to break the law than whites. They thus attribute police harassment to the internal characteristics of black people (implying that it is deserved), and not to the external context of police behavior.

In reality – as I point out in my response to these folks – research shows that black people are harassed and harmed by police at a much higher rate for the same kind of activity. A white person walking by a cop, for example, is statistically much less likely to be stopped and frisked than a black one[7].

At the other end of things, a white person resisting arrest is much less likely to be violently beaten than a black one. In other words, statistics show that the higher rate of harassment and violence against black Americans by police is due to the prejudice of the police officers, at least to a large extent[8].

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However, I am careful to clarify that this discrimination is not necessarily intentional. Sometimes, it indeed is deliberate, with white police officers consciously believing that black Americans deserve much more scrutiny than whites. At other times, the discriminatory behavior results from unconscious, implicit thought processes that the police officer would not consciously endorse[9].

After becoming aware that unconscious bias does exist, the next step would be learning how to recognize it in order to reduce it. I’ve outlined three crucial points to keep in mind below while further exploring the unconscious prejudice discussed above.

How to Reduce Unconscious Bias

Remember these three important points if you want to work on reducing your unconscious bias.

1. Unconscious Bias is a Systemic Issue

When we understand that unconscious bias is ultimately a systemic issue, we understand that internal cultures need to be checked and addressed first.

Interestingly, research shows that many black police officers have an unconscious prejudice against other black people, perceiving them in a more negative light than white people when evaluating potential suspects. This unconscious bias carried by many — not all — black police officers helps show that such prejudices come – at least to a significant extent – from internal cultures within police departments, rather than pre-existing racist attitudes present before someone joins a police department.

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Such cultures are perpetuated by internal norms, policies, and training procedures, and any police department wishing to address unconscious bias needs to address internal culture first and foremost, rather than attributing racism to individual officers.

In other words, instead of saying it’s a few bad apples in a barrel of overall good ones, the key is recognizing that unconscious bias is a systemic issue, and the structure and joints of the barrel needs to be fixed[10].

2. There Is No Shame in Unconscious Bias

Another crucial thing that needs to be highlighted is that there is no shame or blame in unconscious bias as it’s not stemming from any fault in the individual. This no-shame approach decreases the fight, freeze, or flight defensive response among reluctant audiences, helping them hear and accept the issue.

Unconscious bias is prevalent and often doesn’t match our conscious values. Everyone holds unconscious beliefs and prejudices stemming from our tendency to categorize people into social groups. This developed naturally as a way for our ancestors to quickly size up a possible threat. Unfortunately, it doesn’t translate well in modern life.

3. It Takes a Sustained Effort to Prevent and Protect Against Unconscious Bias

After being presented with additional statistics and discussion of unconscious bias, the issue is generally settled. Still, from their subsequent behavior it’s clear that some of these audience members don’t immediately internalize this evidence. It’s much more comforting for their gut reactions to believe that police officers are right and anyone targeted by police deserves it; in turn, they are highly reluctant to accept the need to focus more efforts and energy on protecting black Americans from police violence due to the structural challenges facing these groups.

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The issue of unconscious bias doesn’t match their intuitions, so they reject this concept, despite extensive and strong evidence for its pervasive role in policing. It takes a series of subsequent follow-up conversations and interventions to move the needle. A single training is almost never sufficient, both in my experience and according to research[11].

Conclusion

The examples and points raised illustrate broader patterns you need to follow to recognize unconscious bias. Only by doing so will you be able to determine if, and what type of, intervention is needed to address it.

Unfortunately, our gut reactions lead us to make poor judgment choices when we simply follow our intuitions. Unconscious biases are systemic and need to be addressed in order to make the best decisions[12].

We need to learn about the kind of problems that result from unconscious bias. Then, you need to develop the right mental habits to help you make the best choices[13]. A one-time training is insufficient for doing so. It takes a long-term commitment and constant discipline and efforts to overcome unconscious bias, so get started now.

More Tips on Overcoming Unconscious Bias

Featured photo credit: M.T ElGassier via unsplash.com

Reference

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