Approaching challenges with a growth mindset.
Along with soft skills, you can aim to set yourself up for success by developing a growth mindset — a term for taking a positive approach to learning that was popularized by Stanford professor Carol Dweck.
Just as developing your soft skills can enhance your interactions with others and improve your problem-solving abilities, having a growth mindset can also lead to self-improvement and increase the likelihood of favorable outcomes.
A positive mental outlook is especially important when you’re embracing a new challenge such as pursuing an advanced degree. After all, making the brave decision to earn your degree can be scary. There’s the fear of failure, uncertainty about the opportunities that lie ahead, and the natural apprehension that goes with taking risks and trying something new.
What is a growth mindset?
In the Psychology Today article “15 Ways to Build a Growth Mindset,” author Tchiki Davis explains, “A growth mindset is simply the belief that our basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. It’s not so much that this belief is some kind of magic. It’s just that without a growth mindset, we don’t exert the required effort and so we remain perpetually stuck.”
The article further explains that the opposite of a growth mindset is a fixed mindset, where we are limited by a belief that we can’t improve, and reluctant to take risks because we’re afraid of failing or being embarrassed.
Dr. Davis adds, “those of us with a growth mindset often build new skills more easily because we believe we can and so we really work at it.”
Tips for developing a growth mindset.
If feel your mindset tends to be more oriented toward fixed than growth, don’t despair — you’re not stuck. One of the fundamental principles of a growth mindset is that we’re always growing in our skills and abilities. Earning your online degree offers you plenty of opportunities to establish or develop a growth mindset. Here are a few examples of things you can do to help get you there.
Face your challenges bravely.
It’s important not to be discouraged by challenges. The prospect of earning your online degree can seem daunting, and you deserve a great deal of credit for taking the first step.
Rather than being apprehensive, embrace the opportunity. Take advantage of the many benefits of online learning. For example, Maryville offers multiple start dates and the flexibility to learn on your schedule. You’ll even have access to a dedicated student support advisor who will be there to offer guidance and support from enrollment through graduation.
The path to attaining your goals is an exciting process, and you should enjoy every step along the way.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint.
Learning new skills requires effort and can take time. Remember that there are often setbacks on the road to achieving success. Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t come easily to you; be persistent, and your hard work will pay off.
One of the defining characteristics of a fixed mindset is having a thin skin. Nobody likes to hear about what they don’t do well. But try to see criticism as an opportunity to improve yourself.
Be proactive and seek feedback from your professors. At Maryville, our online students have direct access to our faculty through email, message boards, chats, and dedicated office hours. Your professors are here as one of your top resources for learning and improving — so make an effort to connect with them.
Keep setting new goals.
Congratulations, you received an A on your first exam! Take a moment to appreciate the achievement, but don’t become complacent.
Constantly setting small, incremental goals for yourself will keep you motivated and working hard toward your next accomplishment. After all, the sky’s the limit.
Universal life lessons.
While earning your degree may be your primary focus in college, it’s important not to lose sight of the many other important lessons you can learn along the journey.
By approaching challenges with an open mind, maintaining a positive attitude, and embracing opportunities to improve yourself and gain valuable experiences, you’ll be positioning yourself for success in the classroom, the workplace, and your other life pursuits.
Do you want to learn more about how your online degree can help you develop your soft skills and growth mindset? Maryville University offers 30+ online degrees that can help you build your skills and become career ready. Take your first brave step today.
LinkedIn Report: These 4 Ideas Are Shaping the Future of HR and Hiring
Pearson, Opportunity for Higher Education in the Era of the Talent Economy
Psychology Today, 5 Ways to Build a Growth Mindset