How a Growth Mindset will actually skyrocket your results
Do you have a Growth Mindset, or what I call a Mindset for Success? Your mindset, your thoughts and feelings influence your behaviours and determine your level of motivation, action and achievement. Importantly, 93% of your behaviours are influenced by your subconscious mind. Consequently, ensuring you have a Mindset for Success and understand the key components of a Growth Mindset is paramount for your success. So what exactly are the ingredients of a Mindset for Success? Carol Dweck in her book ‘Mindset the New Psychology of Success’ gives us some clues. Furthermore, when you add in powerful strategies taken from the brilliant success of David Brailsford who took Team Sky to the pinnacle of success, you have unstoppable ingredients to skyrocket your results. Here’s why.
We are creatures of habit and our brain is hard-wired to keep us safe
One reason we continue doing things the same way is because we are creatures of habit. Furthermore, our brains are hard-wired to keep us safe and comfortable not successful and happy. We continue doing what we have always done, hoping our results will change even though we know deep down they won’t. Furthermore, Einstein famously coined this way of living and called it insanity:
‘The definition of insanity is repeating the same behaviours and expecting a different outcome.’ Albert Einstein
What this means is you cannot solve your current challenges with the same methods and ways of thinking as you have used up until now. You must, therefore, look at your thinking, your mindset and be courageous enough to make some changes. Furthermore, as change goes against our natural tendency for comfort, gives one compelling reason so few people make the level of change they desire.
While we can learn much from the world of sports and performance psychology, Dr Carol Dweck, a well known renowned Stanford University psychologist has spent decades researching achievement and success. She has coined the terms, fixed mindset and growth mindset. Growth Mindset is incredibly similar to what I term, a Mindset for Success.
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” – Dweck, 2015
Why is a Growth Mindset important?
A belief that training, discipline and hard work create great results is a prerequisite for a Mindset for Success or a Growth Mindset. Hard work, Mindset training, discipline and intentional action are keys. Simple, yet not necessarily what we do naturally, especially as we are fundamentally lazy. In a recent report from Dr Dweck, she shares results from a study focusing on schools and students. She concludes that students and educators with a growth mindset show greater motivation in school. Furthermore, students who embraced this mindset achieved better grades and higher test scores.
‘Mindset predicts motivation and achievement and a growth mindset training boosts motivation and achievement’ Carol Dweck
One of the key findings that correlate with sports success, states that the students were focusing on improving themselves rather than worrying about how smart they may or may not be.
‘Colleges could improve their students’ learning if they relentlessly encouraged them to think about their mental skills as malleable, rather than as properties fixed at birth.‘ No more saying, “I can’t major in chemistry because I’m just not wired for math.’ Carol Dweck
Our brain has plasticity about it which means we can change
Most noteworthy is how this point ties in perfectly with revolutionary discoveries in neuroscience research. Our brain has a plasticity about it. The Brain that Changes Itself, a fascinating book by Dr Norman Doidge beautifully illustrates this. In his book, he shares “Stories of personal triumph from the frontiers of brain science.” One such story focuses on an eighty-nine-year-old who reversed his memory loss in six weeks. Another one, a stroke victim, learned to move and talk again. Furthermore, a woman who only had half a brain, who rewired it to work as a whole again.
More importantly, if people can rewire their brains and heal, we have the potential to change every aspect of our lives, however hard it may feel. This includes behaviours, habits, a negative mindset, lack of skills and education, finances and relationships. If children can achieve better grades by believing their skills are malleable, you can too. As a result, the entire basis behind a Mindset for Success or a Growth Mindset is that intelligence is flexible rather than frozen. Even if you have struggled in the past to change your behaviours, or you feel it is impossible, it isn’t. Change is possible. You can change your results.A Mindset for Success or a Growth Mindset is that intelligence is flexible rather than frozen Click To Tweet
How the phenomenal results of Team Sky will give you the edge
Now you have empirical evidence that you can change your mindset by shifting your thinking and embracing new beliefs. The next step is to have a plan and take some intentional action. David Brailsford who famously created the principle called the ‘aggregate of marginal gains’, holds the ultimate key. Here is the story behind Team Sky’s masterful results.In 2010, David Brailsford was appointed the General manager of Team Sky, Great Britain's professional cycling team. Click To Tweet
In 2010, David Brailsford was appointed the General manager of Team Sky, Great Britain’s professional cycling team. He was given the tough task to change the statistic that no British cyclist had ever won the Tour de France. Consequently, David was on a mission to get Team Sky on the winner’s podium of the Tour de France. He gave himself a five-year time-frame. With all the principles of a Growth mindset, a solution-focused mindset and total belief that he was 100% responsible for his attitude, he had one driving question; ‘How to achieve excellence in human beings?’ His philosophy to ‘understand yourself, reflect on yourself and how you operate,’ was a key behind running a successful program.
The ‘Aggregate of Marginal Gains’ gives us key insights to exponentially increase our results
David Brailsford came up with the term, ‘aggregate of marginal gains’, which was more a philosophy than a single strategy. His focus was to improve everything incrementally.
‘When you strip back everything you can think of and improve it all by a marginal amount; when you clump it all together, just like compound interest, you get a vast improvement or growth’.
David looked at every aspect of the team. From individual bike setups, the water they drank, the food they ate and beds they slept in. Every detail about life on tour. Furthermore, while on tour, they had their own team who travelled ahead to ensure everything was covered. The hotel rooms were stripped. Beds, pillows and bedding were changed to suit each individual athlete. David determines a good night’s sleep is essential to his team performing at their peak every day.
Creating consistency for the entire team is part of the winning formula
This strategy focuses on creating consistency for every athlete. Wherever they were on the tour, their beds and pillows would be the same every night. They were assured of a good night’s sleep in a comfortable bed. While changing the bedding in itself wouldn’t win the tour, this small change and the others added up to remarkable improvements. Furthermore, small improvements are key ingredients of a Growth Mindset and the way to build a Champion Mindset.
The result of this? Team Sky won the Tour de France in just three years. Two less than he gave himself to achieve this phenomenal result. Furthermore, the same year, David Brailsford coached the British cycling team at the 2012 Olympic Games. The team dominated the games by winning around 70 per cent of the gold medals available. As a result, David Brailsford and Bradley Wiggins were both knighted for their achievements.
Seven tips to apply the principles of a growth mindset and aggregate gains to skyrocket your results
1. Know what you want to change and why.
Get clear on precisely what it is you want to achieve. In the words of Sir David Brailsford, ‘know your outcome’. If you want to lose weight, how much? If you don’t like to measure your success in terms of weight, is it a specific size of clothing you want to fit into? Is it a goal to run a 10km fun run? Do you want to finally master procrastination and become a massive action taker? Why? What will this achieve for you? Get crystal clear on what you want to achieve and drill down to the essence of your why, a feeling. Clarity and creative thinking are important in cultivating a Mindset for Success and Growth Mindset.
2. Believe that you can do it.
Just like students with a Growth Mindset who believe they can improve by focusing on themselves and their learning, start believing you can change. If school children can increase their grades you can increase your level of success and skill level too. A simple shift in your mindset is the starting point. Next, some intentional steps to move your progress forward in the direction of success.
‘The mind is everything. What you think you become.’ Buddha
3. Focus on what is important.
To avoid your brain’s natural tendency to be distracted, gain clarity on what is important to you. Be clear as to what you value and make sure they are in alignment with your goals, what you want. Most importantly, this will help you avoid the bright shiny objects sprinkled along the road to success.
4. Create a core driving question.
A core driving question that sits at the very foundation of your goals will help you keep focused and excited about your goal. Be sure to write it so that it expands possibilities and excites you. For example:
‘How can I easily achieve my goals of doubling my business and create financial freedom?’
This question helps keep your mind focused on the solution, not the problem. Write it down, carry it with you and repeat it frequently. The energy of the mind is attention and where your attention flows, your energy goes.
Embrace the winning formula of marginal gains to keep improving and moving towards your goals
5. Take consistent action.
Focus on the principle of marginal gains rather than your outcome, your goal. What small changes can you make to the way you do things in your life?
- What if you drank just one more glass of water a day?
- Could you start planning your day for just two minutes every day?
- Go to bed 30 minutes earlier twice a week.
- Get up 20 minutes earlier twice a week.
- Use your extra 20 minutes to exercise, meditate or read an educational book.
- Could you increase your water intake each day?
- Read a book for ten minutes three times a week.
Small changes over time create a huge impact on results
Almost every habit that you have, good or bad, is the result of many small decisions that you have taken over time. So, to change your habits, make new small decisions frequently. Furthermore, make them non-negotiable, stick with them and review progress. Like compound interest, small steps create massive results in the long term. If you focus on small improvements consistently, you will see tangible results. Most importantly. consistency helps reprogram your subconscious mind, the part that really runs your life. You are getting your own team or crew on board. Exactly what Sir David Brailsford did. He was an integral part of a team which helped take Team Sky to the very top in their chosen sport.
Plan, plan, plan more and stick to your plan
6. Schedule your action steps into your diary.
Take time to create a plan and schedule your tasks and action steps into your diary. Make them non-negotiable and be sure to review your days and week. Raise their level of importance. This is the way to ensure you keep doing what is necessary as it will strengthen your focus and commitment. Athletes have goals with deadlines, competition and race day. Treat your actions and commitments as important deadlines or race days. Moreover, the most important skill is that of consistency. Creating consistency ensures you don’t break the chain so you will achieve your goals.
Small steps create momentum and when you acknowledge each step build phenomenal results
7. Acknowledge your successes daily.
The simple yet powerful tip of acknowledging your wins is one of the most hidden keys to success. Your brain loves goals, yet has no idea if it is a big or small goal you have just accomplished. Furthermore, when you celebrate every small win your brain sends you a shot of serotonin, the feel-good chemical. Moreover, when you feel good you are more likely to do more and keep going. Success fuels success and small steps become priceless jewels that when put together create a masterpiece.
‘Success is a few simple disciplines, practiced every day; while failure is simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day.’ Jim Rohn
With a Mindset for Success, one created from embracing research from Dr Carol Dweck and her Growth Mindset you have the power to change your results. Moreover, when you emulate strategies from Team Sky’s phenomenal success you have the perfect formula for achieving success. Importantly, when you are in momentum, you are likely to continue. Furthermore, this helps build confidence, belief and excitement as you near your goals. Imagine becoming unstoppable and falling in love with positivity, practice, hard work, repetition and purposeful small steps. You will have a powerful Mindset for Success and Growth Mindset to achieve whatever it is you put your mind to.
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