The power of Growth Mindsets

My latest video here focuses on  fixed mindsets and growth mindsets. I think a lot of people will have come across this, the work originally of Carol Dweck, and really interesting…for me it’s a huge change in mindsets and extremely powerful in terms of performance and wellbeing.

Click on the image below to view my latest video:

Without doubt many people’s mindset (although very few either recognise it or admit it) is to believe they have a ‘fixed way’ of being. They don’t really have the awareness to change that or work with it, or just make the incremental steps of change, which can bring around completely different ways of operating.

Anders Ericsson’s book ‘Peak’ talks about the adaptability of the human mind. He gives hundreds of examples of how anyone can achieve through deliberate practice (he shows that performance is not based on innate talent or on a fixed way of being). This adaptability of the mind can allow for both physical and mental changes (actual growth in areas of the brain as well as the development of neural pathways). All achieved by practise focused on specific skills on a consistent basis.

So how does having a growth mindset aid performance? 

Being aware of growth mindsets and having the understanding that we can develop through committed practice and the adaptability of the human mind allows us work towards our goals and gain new skills. Once we begin to see real changes and improvement in whatever we are practicing in we begin to develop new levels of confidence when approaching new challenges.

The reality for many people however, because they limit themselves with fixed beliefs (sometimes highly dysfunctional) is they are still paralysed by fear of failure. Their fear to ‘lean into fear’ and accept what comes inhibits states of wellbeing, performance and happiness.

A change in mindset towards failure (driven by the understanding of growth mindsets as part of the learning process), can be game changer. It lets the shackles off people, it allows them to start being themselves and starts allowing them to perform better. A recognition and acceptance that failure shows you are pushing the boundaries and discovering new skills becomes very liberating.

The path to ‘liberation’ is clearly not easy. Largely it is a fight with our ego. A fight not to be exposed, to look stupid, to fail and ultimately being forced to recognise our own areas of weakness.

And so our ego clouds our ability to be able to push forward, to come out of our comfort zones, and to really make change.

Instead many times, we employ unconscious safety behaviours, which make us feel better and ‘comforted’ in the immediate short term. Over the duration of a lifetime however these safety behaviours, fuelled by the ego, create untold pain, lower levels of achievement, lower levels of excellence, and greater levels of anxiety and unhappiness.

What does this mean?

The message really is get out there and fail… It’s on all the blogs of the successful people! People who have been driven by the failures they have had in their life. Across the board it has been the failures for them that have acted as the catalyst for performance, wellbeing and success.

The Challenge…

So can you go out there and challenge yourself and face head on the ‘exposures’ that kick egoic thinking and create fear of failure?

Fully understanding our potential and the effects of a growth mindset may just give us the confidence and resilience needed to do it…

You can also read more on this on my previous post ‘Free Flow Failure‘…


3rg work with people and organisations who are serious about performance. We offer practical, experienced based solutions to complex business challenges. Through our range of leadership courses, coaching programmes and workshops we help organisations build high performance, winning teams. 

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