Queensland Law Society

Wellbeing: Self-awareness and resilience – growth mindset - part 4

Part 4: Growth vs. fixed mindset

Last week we had a look at the power of automatic thinking patterns and the impact of our inner narrative on wellbeing and resilience. This week, let’s focus on the consequences of our mindset: how we view ourselves, our intelligence and learning ability determines how we respond to challenges, failure and success.

Do you believe that you can overcome obstacles and that mistakes are opportunities to learn and grow – or do you see failure as an embarrassing display of your fundamental incompetence? Do you think that your talents and cognitive capabilities are something that you were lucky enough to be born with (or not), or that both can be developed and nurtured by hard work, ongoing practice, smart strategies and support?

As researched and described by Carol Dweck, the two mindsets differ in their judgement of your ability to change, as well as the meaning of setbacks and challenges:[1]

  • A growth mindset has at its core the fundamental belief that your basic qualities and talents can be developed, which usually leads to a strong focus on learning by overcoming obstacles.
  • A fixed mindset, on the other hand, is based on the assumption that you are an immutable combination of skills and inabilities. People with this mindset will try to avoid challenging situations in which they could fail, and tend to look instead for safe environments where they can prove themselves correct over and over again.

So, what stories are you telling yourself about your abilities and talents - do you believe that your success depends upon protecting and promoting your set of fixed qualities, while simultaneously mastering the art of concealing any shortcomings? Or do you see obstacles and even failures as valuable experiences and lessons on the way to improvement and ultimately success?

The more areas in your life you can approach with a growth mindset, the more resilient you are to constructively deal with inevitable setbacks and challenges. Before you are ready to give up on a project or task next time, check in with yourself and decide if it is possible to move from a fixed view to a growth orientation.

If you would like to learn more, don’t hesitate to reach out to the QLS Solicitor Support service on ethics@qls.com.au or p. 3842 5843 to speak to someone in a judgement-free and supportive environment.  

Rebecca Niebler
Organisational Culture and Support Officer, QLS Solicitor Support (QLS Ethics and Practice Centre)
23 January 2020