Illustration by Christian Leborg


How to learn with a growth mindset

To change your work, you need to gain additional skills. How can you develop new skills when you are learning slowly?

Most people get an education by spending more than fifteen years on full-time education as children and in adolescence. Students often choose their future profession without knowing what it is. What you spend the next forty years on is probably not based on what your strengths and values are. The decisions result in an alarming number of people who are not engaged in their job or in the work they do. If this is the case for you, change your career.
A career change can be another way of doing the job or having a different attitude to the job you do. You can get another position with your current employer, a similar job with another employer, or by designing a completely new type of job. In your previous job, over time you gained competence besides what you learned during your education. With your new goal, you need a lot of knowledge and skills, and you need it fast.
I want to change my career
You may be in a situation in life where you do not have time for several years of education. You may not afford it either, with tuition fees and lost income. How can you learn what you need to know while already making money from your current job? By the time I was thirty years old, I had started my own company. I had some regular customers, and I thought I was the king of the universe. I thought I could do anything with my inherent talent and my ability to work hard.
I did not think I had to invest in new skills. Later, I discovered some heroes who had changed their careers. How did these people get the new skills they needed, while working full time and not taking on a new education? For money, they taught themselves without having to buy courses or start a new education. The solution was not a waste of time; they solved it with character strength. Author Clive Thompson made me realise my abilities are not constant. In his book “Smarter than you think,” he shows people are always evolving.

Fixed mindset (intelligence is static)

Leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to…

• Avoid challenges

• Give up easily

• See effort as fruitless or worse

• Ignore useful negative feedback

• Feel threatened by the success of others

As a result, they may plateau early and achieve less than their full potential. All this confirms a deterministic view of the world.

Growth mindset (intelligence can be developed)

Leads to a desire to learn and therefore a tendency to…

• Embrace challenges

• Continues to try in the face of setbacks

• See effort as the path to mastery

• Learn from criticism

• Find learning and inspiration in the success of others

As a result, they reach ever-higher levels of achievement.

Carol S. Dweck

I understood it is better to learn when the learning project was a real project; When you learn by doing, you know what you need when you try something out, and by evaluating it and then trying again. Knowledge and skills are seldom either completely right or completely wrong. Learning is often about experimenting and learning from the experiments. I was not so bad at school, but school subjects were something I did not have the patience to learn.
What you can achieve with a growth-oriented mindset
Now I have researched and defined a specific industry or role that suits what I like to do and engages my talents. I need to learn more about the work culture and the more detailed aspects of the work processes and procedures. I can do that by running some experiments. An early test may be to interview people in similar roles or industries. The professionals may be at a different level of competence than me. The most effective of all will be to talk to the end user or recipients of the service my work includes.
Experiments show you can learn and increase your skills to anything. You can improve your mastery of what you intend to do. The opposite would be to insist that you can never improve and that you are, and always will be, producing eternal failures. Most people who are masters at something may not have the most exceptional talent. They did not become so good because of their abilities, but because of their deep interest. Their interest made them endure the hard work of learning something new.
The well-known fable about “The hare and the turtle” describes the dichotomy between an inflexible mindset and growth attitude. Instead of believing “I’m too slow to win a race”, the turtle takes on the challenge. The turtle shows a growth attitude. The hare has such a firm mindset about its superiority that it loses the race. “I’m fast, so I am going to win even if I take a nap.” This story is an excellent example of how a growth mindset can yield surprising results.
People with the growth mindset don’t think they’re Einstein or Beethoven
–Carol Dweck
If you accept the fear of failure, but show vigor and continue to strive for new knowledge, you will be better. The reward for continuing is that it solves a problem or satisfies a need for someone you empathize with. You soon realise that the goal of learning is not the status of being a master of something, but to feel sufficiently proficient. A growth mindset improves performance, and the reward is being able to help someone make your life more meaningful.
Stretch outside your comfort zone
As the turtle, you are learning new knowledge. You do the learning by taking on one thing at a time, while always improving. If you have the motivation and perseverance, it is the best way to learn something to have a large workload. To learn something, you need to reach beyond your comfort zone and work hard. In order to work so hard, the duration of the effort must be short. And to improve yourself fast, your exercises need to be frequent.
Enjoy learning
Accepting that there is something you do not know makes you less arrogant. By getting better at something, you become more confident. Having a growth mindset will give you an accurate assessment of your abilities. This assessment of your skills will make you better. You will realise how much work you have to do to learn, and you will enjoy it because you get better. The growth attitude must always be present in all education.
I did not do well in school because I thought I had no talent. During my high school years, I taught myself a profession through a genuine interest in learning to do it. My skills made me so confident that I forgot to improve them. Now I have changed my work situation by realising that I have to invest in knowledge again–all the time.

Exercise: Set up an follow a training regimen for large and small  focus