Summary Resilience Module 3: Growth Mindset

Resilience 3: Growth Mindset

This is a summary of the module Resilience 3: Growth Mindset for your reference.

This resilience module is about building a growth mindset.

To start, here is a question:

Do you believe that resilience – being able to adapt or bounce back after difficult situations – is something that you can develop?

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If you answered “No” - this is an example of a fixed mindset.

If you answered “Yes” - it is an example of a growth mindset

Psychologist, Dr. Carol Dweck, created the term growth mindset, which she defines as “the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts, your strategies, and help from others.”

In other words, people with a growth mindset believe they can develop skills and mental abilities through hard work and practice.

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When you have a growth mindset and are faced with challenges, you not only face them, but view them as an opportunity to learn and grow. When challenges don’t lead to an ideal outcome, you learn from the experience and continue forward. 

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For example, imagine you want to add more relaxation practices into your life. You decide to try meditation. After the first one, you don’t feel as relaxed as you would have hoped. However, you can shift your mindset by approaching it with curiosity and seeing it as an opportunity to grow.

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Instead of thinking, “I will never be able to meditate, my mind is moving too fast!.” Pause and think about the experience.

Was this the first time you tried meditating? What was your environment like? Were you judging your thoughts?

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Compare the two mindsets.

Which of these characteristics do you think you display regularly?

  • I have a desire to learn

  • I take on challenges

  • I am persistent

  • I often ignore feedback

  • I find inspiration through others’ accomplishments

  • I get defensive when criticized

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It’s important to note – all of us are a combination of growth and fixed mindsets. You can have a growth mindset in some parts of your life while in others, you might have more of a fixed mindset.

For example: 

For example: 

Sally knows how important it is to pace herself to preserve her energy level and reduce fatigue.

One day, she did not take her normal mid-day break to rest after doing housework. She became extremely fatigued and unable to take her 10-minute afternoon walk. Sally reflected on this situation and told herself, “This is a great opportunity to remind myself how important breaks are for my health. I know that taking a mid-day break keeps my energy levels up. I will add my break to my calendar with a daily notification to remind me.”

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However, when it comes to changing her nutrition, Sally feels like her knowledge of healthy choices and cooking skills are set.

When given the opportunity to learn more about healthy choices in her Goodpath program, she decided to skip over the diet guide. 

She thought, “I’ll never be able to remember what’s healthy and what’s unhealthy for me. I might as well continue to eat what I have been eating, even though I don’t feel great after my meals.”

As this example shows, Sally has a growth mindset in terms of her fatigue, but when it comes to her skills in nutrition, she has a fixed mindset.

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Four Steps Towards A Growth-Focused Mindset

Module 3: Growth Mindset in your Resilience Workbook offers more details. As you proceed through this exercise, you might find it difficult. Remember to practice self-compassion.

  • Step 1: Identify and acknowledge your fixed mindset. Everyone has both fixed and growth mindsets in different areas of their lives.

  • Step 2: Find your fixed mindset triggers. What brings up those beliefs that you cannot develop your skills or abilities? Is it someone criticizing you? When there is conflict? What about a work or school deadline?

  • Step 3: Give your fixed mindset a name (e.g. “Anxious Andy” or “Stressed Sarah”). Then, reflect on how it makes you feel or what it makes you do. This will help you address your fixed mindset when it shows up.

    Step 4: Be ready when your fixed mindset is triggered. Pause and reflect, then challenge your thoughts. Try to “re-think” your automatic thoughts in a more helpful way.

Let's walk through the steps using an example.

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Remember, this will take practice. Continue to think about shifting your mindset. It can help you build resilience. 

Notice how you feel after completing the worksheet. Think about the changes you experience as you move from a fixed to a growth mindset in different areas of your life.