A Growth Mind-Set and Achievement

by Sheryl Kline Cardiff

Errors and failure in the pursuit to a major goal are inevitable. Some of the most successful people, past and present have failed spectacularly. Babe Ruth struck out 1330 times, Steven Spielberg applied unsuccessfully to film school three times, and Henry Ford failed at two businesses before starting The Ford Motor Company (www.presentoutlook.com). Mark Cuban, billionaire and owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was a failure as a carpenter, cook and a waiter (www.sportskeeda.com).

It is your mind-set that determines how you move forward and where you will end up. A fixed mind-set is limiting and finite. You are a good at your sport or not, you are good at math or you are not. Carol Dweck, a psychology professor at Stanford University says, if you see yourself this way, “Any mistake or failure is dreadful”.
It is a growth mind-set that will allow you to look at your failures and yourself differently.

A growth mind-set paves the way to what you are capable of. Henry Ford sums it up well. “Failure is a way to begin more intelligently.” This backs Dwecks work that says successful people tend to look at a problem as a learning process. They care about the results, but consider set backs opportunities to learn and grow. This makes them more able to recover from an imperfect result. One who has a growth mind-set is not defined by failure or an error, and he feels that their skill set can change.

Some athletes, scholars and business people appear to have a natural God given talent for high achievement. That may be true in some cases, but many who appear this way, have worked extremely hard to get there. Those with a growth mind-set do not judge themselves universally, internalize what others say or let set backs effect their self worth. Dweck says it is okay to be very honest about the decisions you make in regards to your performance, but don’t let these decisions define you. Learn from your experience, “and begin more intelligently next time.”