A growth mindset can be developed throughout life. This is especially welcome news for people over fifty years of age because many of their habits have become ingrained and routine. Being in this group myself, I know that our beliefs and habits will limit us if we don’t live in a growth mindset.
I recently read about the revolutionary ideas presented by Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University. That’s what she discovered by studying success and achievement.
- People with a FIXED MINDSET believe that their basic qualities such as talent, intelligence and personality are fixed. They believe that just owning them will ensure success.
People with a GROWTH MINDSET believe that their basic abilities can be developed. They consider intelligence, talent and personality as a starting point that they can develop with effort.
Although Dr. Carol Dweck’s work was mostly aimed at students from elementary school through college, I see it as very applicable to the fifty-plus population. At midlife, we tend to be set in many ways. How exciting to realize that our brains still need to be stimulated by new challenges in order to develop new connections.
People with a growth mindset believe they can continue to learn new things by stretching their minds and taking steps that move them in new directions. They see themselves as a work in progress and that life is constantly evolving and not limited by age. There are wonderful examples of people living vibrant lives even in their eighties and beyond. A good example is former President Carter who just celebrated his 85th birthday. It’s obvious that he lives by a growth mindset. Someone with a fixed mindset would limit themselves with beliefs like: I’m too old, I should have done things earlier, it’s too late, etc. In order to stay vibrant as we age, it’s vital to learn to develop a growth mindset.