Growth mindset or static mindset?

How do you approach your goals? Are you focussed on the end result, or are you focussed on the learning and the process? These are questions that are asked in Gwenda Schlundt Bodien her book “Hersenvitaminen”. This is a book about having a growth mindset or a static mindset. And I have to say that this book changed the way I’m looking at my goals at the moment. It gave me a new insight in how you can approach your goals in two different ways. And that I can learn a lot about these two ways.


The first way she mentioned is the growth mindset. With a growth mindset your focus is on learning and the process of reaching your goals. This means that you follow your interests and try to learn as much as possible on the way. It is an approach of learning from your faults and trying new things that are difficult. She says that when we focus on learning and the process instead of the end result, we have a higher change of reaching our desired end result then when we only focus on the end result.

The second way of approaching your goals is with a static mindset. When you have a static mindset you believe that your intelligence and talents are something you are born with. You believe that you have to focus on your talents and try to work only on the things that you are already good at and to try to avoid situations where you have to do things you’re not good at. It is the believe that you won’t be able to change the things that you are not good at. Also your focus will be mostly on the end result of your goals  and not on the process or the learning.

To get succes with a growth mindset there are five different “ingredients” according to Gwenda. These ingredients make the brainvitamins that will give you more succes in reaching your goals.

Ingredient 1: Which mindset?

The first ingredient is recognizing your mindset. How do you look at your goals? Do you believe that everyone can become better at something with practice? And is practice normal and needed according to you to grow? If the answer is yes, you will probable have a growth mindset.  Or do you believe that how much success someone will have is dependent on their talents and the intelligence they are born with?

Hereby it is important to notice that the way you compliment someone will influence which mindset that person will create. If you give personal feedback focused on the talents or intelligence of a person, this person will be more likely to develop an static mindset. Because the reason of the succes or failure is contributed to the person and not the effort. But when the feedback is more process focused, the person will be more likely to develop a growth mindset. This is because if the feedback is focused on the process, the person will contribute this to the effort and will look at the ways they are able to improve the process.

When I think about in which way I give feedback to others and to myself, I notice that I give a mixture of both person focused and process focused feedback. I have never before though about the impact of person focused feedback in the way that is described in this book. However now that I have read about it, I really want to try to be more process focused. Because I would love it if I’m able to stimulate growth in either another person and myself.

Ingredient 2: Choose the goal in which you can grow

The second ingredient that she gives us is to choose a goal in which you can grow. The important thing about setting a goal is that it is something you “want” to do and not something you “have to/must” do. The goals should be something that you want to learn or grow more in. And the focus should be on the learning and growing, but not on the end result. Goals that are intrinsic will help you be more productive and are more ofter reached then extrinsic goals. This is because you are more motivated to work on intrinsic goals then on extrinsic goals.

Ingredient 3: Let your brain grow

Your brain is always capable of growing, changing and learning. The third ingredient mentioned is to grow your brain. Which means that you have to keep learning new things and practice things that are difficult for you. And to keep your mindset focused on growth instead of making your own brain static. Hereby you can do different things to “wake” your brain up and learn new things.

Ingredient 4: Practice so that you will grow

I already mentioned this before, but one of the most important things to grow and make progress in you goals is to practice, practice, practice. Humans are capable of growing in all directions, especially on the things that they aren’t good in at first. Practicing things that you are not good at, really makes a difference and will make you better at it then you expected. Nobody starts at an expert level.

And last, but not least: Learn to work progress focused

People are sensitive for the negative things and they are more quickly influenced by negative things then positive things. However try to train yourself to see more positive things and put your focus more on the growth. Use your failures to grow more and learn from the times you fail. Focus on the progress and not on the end goals. When you focus on the progress, then you will learn a lot more then when you are stuck in wishing for the end result.

I really recommend for you to read this book. It changed the way I look at my goals and I alway love setting goals. I found that while reading this book it makes a lot of sense, but in a way that I hadn’t thought about before. It helps me to really think about my goals and think about how I want to work on them. I will try to focus more on the journey in the future, then on the end result that I want to reach. How do you set your goals? And where does your focus lie while working on your goals?

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