10 Growth mindset suggestions during the Coronacrisis

The Coronacrisis is challenging for almost everyone and therefore particularly a period that requires a growth mindset.

The growth mindset and the fixed mindset

You probably have heard of mindset theory. This theory distinguishes between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. A growth mindset means that you believe that by making effective effort you can get better at the things you want to get better at. Opposite the growth mindset is the fixed mindset. This implies that you believe that your abilities and attributes are largely unchangeable. Having a growth mindset is in many ways more beneficial than having a fixed mindset. If you have a growth mindset, you are more likely to seek challenges, think more positively about making effort, be more persistent in the face of setbacks and be more open to feedback.

When is the difference between the mindsets most evident?

In certain situations, the differences between people with a growth mindset and a fixed mindset are most noticeable. This is the case in situations where people are suddenly challenged more intensely or differently than before. Here are four well-known examples of such situations:
  • the transition from primary to secondary education
  • the transition from secondary education to higher education
  • the transition from education to the first job
  • the transition to a new and more challenging position

Corona is challenging for everyone

This Coronacrisis that we are still facing is one in which we all have to deal with new and different demands placed on us. Many entrepreneurs are at home and cannot earn their money as they used to. They need to find new ways to survive and continue their business. Many people in education are applying new ways, via e-tools, to continue to teach. Many people in healthcare work under extra pressure to be able to cope with the high and acute demand for care. These are just a few examples. Each of us must look for solutions to get through this situation as best we can.

The Coronacrisis requires a growth mindset

Because the situation is so challenging, it requires a growth mindset. That's because challenging situations evoke such different interpretations in different mindsets. In a fixed mindset, it is scary to take on the new challenges and allow yourself to make mistakes. A fixed mindset quickly causes you to associate setbacks, insecurities and difficulties that you are currently experiencing with a lack of capabilities.

A growth mindset makes it easier to deal with the challenge of this period. Difficulties, uncertainties and setbacks can be experienced as logical because the situation is now so unknown and difficult. You see mistakes that you make as normal because all learning involves making mistakes. Asking for help is easier because you don't see it as an indication of weakness or stupidity. Persistence is easier because you realize that difficult new things always require persistence.

Induce a growth mindset in yourself

Fortunately, it is okay if you catch yourself in a fixed mindset. This offers you the opportunity to do something about it and to induce a growth mindset in yourself. Here are some simple suggestions on how you can do that:
  1. Normalize: realize that it is normal to have fixed mindset thoughts from time to time.
  2. Kindness: don't blame yourself (not about not knowing or being able to do things, not about finding the situation scary and not about any fixed mindset thoughts).
  3. Hope: realize that you can change your mindset yourself
  4. Immerse yourself in mindset theory (via articles, books or videos)
  5. Immerse yourself in neuroplasticity (your brain's lifelong ability to change)
  6. Analyze your own previous successes (think about, for example, when you have been in in a challenging situation before and got through this well)
  7. Try out different strategies to face the new challenges
  8. Choose an attitude of persistence
  9. Ask for help if you cannot find a solution
  10. Keep a mindset journal
Do you recognize some fixed mindset thoughts in relation to Corona? Hopefully these suggestions will give you some useful ideas for steps forward.