Activate Your Growth Mind-set
When you encounter something new, your brain tries to fit it into the world you already know. By adding more connections and associations, you expand your understanding. This, in turn, emboldens your creativity. Active curiosity strengthens your brain’s wiring. The opposite is also true. If you do not stretch your brain, certain regions begin to atrophy.
Successful entrepreneurs teach us a lot about active learning. They ask a lot of questions to a lot of different people. They shape their future rather than trying to predict it. They throw themselves into the sea of unknowns and challenge themselves to swim out. They imagine possibilities before they exist. They THINK BIG, one of the four practices of being CONSCIOUS.
Responding to the accelerating world, or any dynamic situation, requires a growth mind-set, which is your ticket to success in today’s business environment. Carol Dweck of Stanford University started this conversation in her groundbreaking book “Mindset.” Growth mind-set people see opportunities, think with a broader mind, and prefer action to inaction. They are comfortable with ambiguity, seek out situations to learn new things, and feel confident they will succeed.
For fixed mind-set people, life is a continual test and they feel like they are only as good as their most recent performance. They feel compelled to prove themselves over and over. Because they are afraid of exposing their deficiencies, they fear criticism and making mistakes. They shy away from new experiences and stick to things they know and can do well. Inevitably, that narrows their horizons and shuts down their learning and growth.
The Productivity Trap at Work
Our workplaces often contribute to the fixed mind-set problem. We can get caught up in the activity trap, stuck in a production mind-set. We don’t make time to learn new things, challenge our thinking and be creative. Instead, we compete with each other by being the busiest and become focused only on the appearance of activity and task completion.
The key to getting out of the trap is to spend as much time as possible operating in your growth mind-set. This is often a challenge, because many of us have an innate a need for stability, certainty, and familiarity that keeps us in a fixed place. Hanging onto old biases and established mental models is another way we resist change. And for many of us, there is a tendency to ignore red flags that tell us it’s time to change and learn something new.
Tips for Conscious Living:
- Make curiosity a part of your routine. Take time out of each busy day just to be curious. Listen to a new podcast, take a walk in a different place and discover some new flora and fauna, read a book to learn something you never knew.
- Channel your inner childhood curiosity! Remember those younger days when learning was fun and having an “Ah-ha” moment made a light go off in your head. Create those moments for yourself by reading, asking questions, and doing your own research.
- Activate the search engine of your mind. Realize you are learning, unlearning, and relearning every day. Learn how to learn again – and enjoy it!
Developing a Google mind is part of the Think Big practice in our book CONSCIOUS: The Power of Awareness in Business and Life. The other steps are Go Deep, Get Real, and Step Up.