Set Your Mind on Growth

One of the keys to building confidence is making mistakes and even failing. You learn from taking risks especially if some don’t work out. Challenging experiences help to bolster your competence and seed confidence. Experiencing failure, especially when you are young, can forge a life-long habit of resilience. People, who learn from failure instead of recoiling from it, see it as a lesson they can apply in the future. They realize that they can bounce back from setbacks and mistakes.

The Marines have a policy of acting using the eighty-twenty rule. If you have 80 percent of the data, act. The rationale is that you can get stuck in analysis paralysis and not take action, something that can be dangerous in life-threatening situations. The policy was set up to reinforce gathering the facts and formulating a strategy together with being action-oriented. After all, getting all the information is not possible. Waiting to do so can negatively impact others and the situation. People in leadership can learn a lot from this practice. Be as thorough as you can, but act – don’t overthink a situation.

In her research and book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck outlines the distinctions between having a fixed mindset where you see the amount of intelligence and talent you have as a fixed amount that doesn’t change over time and a growth mindset where you adopt a self-development way of thinking and learning and see competency as something you can build.

People with a fixed mindset tend to hold on to what they know and defend their status; to them, having to work hard at something means that they don’t have the aptitude. People with a growth mindset are willing to try new things, even if they initially fail. They set performance goals and work on ways to achieve them. Intelligence is seen as developable. People with growth mindsets believe that they can shape their own course in life.

A growth mindset sets the stage for taking risks and enhances confidence. Part of the growth process is to try new things realizing that you will not always be successful. It’s often the short term failures that teach us most, if we let them. They usually lead to long term success.