media_xll_1789317I have met a few people who thought that a growth mindset meant that it has to do with an obsessive focus on learning and an wish to compete with and outdo other people. They asked things like: “But why we always grow? Why can’t we ever be satisfied with how things are? Must we always make progress?” If you think that a growth mindset has to with never being satisfied, being obsessively focused on learning, and on being very competitive, you truly misunderstand the concept.

First, a growth mindset is not about an obsessive focus on learning. What a growth mindset does mean is to believe that growth is possible and that putting in effort, applying effective learning strategies and (often) asking for help are requirements for improvement. Calm, moderation and realism go well with a growth mindset. The fact that you belief that you can improve when you put in effort does not mean that this is what you continuously need to be doing, let alone in an obsessive manner.

Second, people with a growth mindset are not more competitive than other people. If anything, it is the other way around. People with a growth mindset are focusing on improving their own performance, not on doing better than other people. Some of the best sportspeople in the world actually often focus more on making progress and continuously trying to become better players than on being number one per se.

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