We have all faced problems at school and college, where we were not prepared fully for a task or test and found some work challenging. Do you recall how you felt when you were faced with a daunting task for a project or a hard question at an examination? Did you wish it did not happen or did you think of it positively and tell yourself you are going to try your best? What about dealing with sudden changes in plans or failure?
If you answered the above questions honestly, and found your answers leaning to the negative, you probably have a fixed mindset. On the other hand, if your answers were positive, then you have a growth mindset. But don’t fret yet, because with hard work and determination you can change your mindset from fixed to growth.
Growth vs Fixed Mindset
If you look at the growth story of high achievers, you will notice that they also faced a lot of struggle before rising to the top. What made their journey different from non-achievers is that each time they had a fall, they picked themselves up and worked even harder; they took feedback positively and were resilient in the face of adversities instead of taking feedback negatively and giving up or quitting.
Mindset is defined as a mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations – Stanford professor and best-selling author of the book Mindset, Carol Dweck. A learner with a growth mindset usually views failures and challenges as opportunities for continuously learning, and feedback as constructive ways to improve and grow. Conversely, a fixed mindset makes people into non-learners who tend to see failure as limiting and a reflection of personal shortcomings. They see challenges as frustrations and take feedback personally. (Source)
Growth Mindset for Employability
As you know, in today’s world, employability skills are not limited to academic qualifications, formal education, knowledge and technical skills. It also involves lifelong learning – the ability to learn new things and adapt to changing environments and situations, think creatively and critically to anticipate and solve problems and develop new skills and reskill or upskill yourself as required. These are possible only if you have a growth mindset.
People who are willing to learn by exploring new opportunities, take on challenges and adapt to changing situations by working out solutions possess a growth mindset. This is what affects employability – the ability to focus, to work hard with determination and the courage to embrace failure.
Developing a Growth Mindset for Employability
Do not Give Up: When you fail once in your endeavor, do not give up. Look at failure as opportunities to learn valuable lessons.
- Show Grit: Your ability to persevere in times of failure and sustain your passion and your courage to take risks are signs of grit. ‘Grit’ is ‘courage and resolve.’ However, grit is also defined by psychologist Angela Duckworth as ‘perseverance and passion for long-term goals.’ (Source)
- Do not Fear Failure: Fear of failure will stop you from taking risks. There is no success without accepting some risks along your way. If you keep trying until you succeed, you will develop the courage and determination needed to face failures and successes equally.
- Accept Yourself: Stop your mind from telling you that you may not succeed and remove all self-doubt. You need not strive for perfection, strive for excellence instead.
- Empower Yourself: Stay positive and keep moving forward in difficult times without complaining. Thinking of what can be done instead of why things happened a certain way by being flexible and taking action will empower you to take better decisions.
- Do Not Limit Yourself: Once you develop a ‘never say die’ attitude, you will start thinking beyond the normal and be confident to push yourself to do more. Your results will motivate you to greater successes.
- Be Patient: Do not be in a hurry to achieve results while being ambitious. Be patient and forgive yourself for mistakes made. Enjoy the journey and the process. Accept feedback and criticisms and work towards improving yourself constructively.
- Be Creative: Ask yourself questions to improve certain situations. Think unconventionally and creatively in order to come up with different solutions for a problem. You can work on critical thinking activities that help solve problems in order to develop these skills.
Develop your skills and have a positive attitude to learn new skills and upskill or reskill when a situation demands it. As students of today and the future change-makers of tomorrow, you have the opportunity to develop your mindset into a growth mindset, making yourself valuable in terms of employability and sustainability in the rapidly changing work environment.