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Mindset for Success in your Career Life

mindset for success
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Mindset for Success in your Career Life

According to Stanford psychologist Dr Carol Dweck, author of the book Mindset, to attain a mindset for success requires you to put in effort and learn to embrace failure along the way. In her research, Dweck worked with primary school children to discover an interesting link between levels of ability and motivation. Her research has much significance for all individuals at any age, particularly when looking at the behaviour of adults that do not fulfil their potential in their Career Life.

Puzzles that were both easy and hard were given to primary school children of all abilities as part of Dweck’s research. Their thinking and feeling behaviours were closely observed by Dweck. What she found was that some approached a difficult task with gusto and eager to experience a challenge. Others faced with the same difficult task would either avoid it or criticize the task itself with somewhat authority. Those who saw it as a challenge would put more effort and persist. If they failed at the task they saw the experience as one of learning. Dweck saw this as the child having a Growth Mindset.

The other group who were quick to dismiss the difficult task applied no effort and went into a protective preservation mode. These children displayed a Fixed Mindset where they believed their abilities were set in stone and would not risk potential failure at a difficult task. Those with this mindset may have been praised at a young age as being ‘smart’ or ‘a winner’. Not attempting a task that may pose a risk of failure was usually avoided to preserve one’s self-esteem and to ensure others still viewed them as being ‘smart’.

With a Fixed Mindset, one believes their ability is fixed, while those with Growth Mindset believe they start out in life with certain abilities that can be built upon through learning, development and effort. These individuals believe anything is possible. While the initial research was conducted with children, these children grow into adults where these mindsets can continue over the duration of their career journeys.

The problem of having a fixed mindset is particularly damaging to gifted adults. Some gifted adults particularly those who were praised early in life as being ‘smart’ or ‘a winner’ find being thrust into a workplace that does not regularly praise employees, particularly challenging. These adults run the risk of letting their ego dictate career decision making throughout their career lives. Keeping an open mind to learning, development and not thinking they know everything can move a gifted adult from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset.

All adults need to be honest and question what mindset they possess in their career lives. Having a fixed mindset will have you thinking you only have one career option, not wanting to engage in lifelong learning, adopt assumed career knowledge that is wrong, outdated and misguided and never being able to bring your true authentic self to the workplace. Job search effort will be limited, narrow in focus and usually accompanied with high expectations that job search is an easy task.

Having a growth mindset sets you free to discover through learning and development your true authentic self, open to mentoring, open to learning, open to making mistakes and taking calculated risks that will open you up to fulfilling your potential and experiencing true happiness in your career. Job search becomes broad, persistent and expectations realistic.

So take note of your mindset, is it fixed or a growth mindset, it may affect how you adapt and respond to the current highly dynamic, disruptive global work environment. It can ultimately determine whether you experience an authentic and happy career life in the longer term.