How a Growth Mindset Helps You Innovate

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The way you think about latching on to new interests says something key about the way you think. If you believe that falling in love with a topic is fate or discovery, you might have a fixed mindset — to you, that attraction is just inherent. If you're more likely to think you can cultivate an interest or skill, you probably have a growth mindset, in which anything is possible if you put your shoulder to the wheel.

Psychologists in Singapore have just released a study highlighting the workplace benefits of the latter, not just for individuals but for organizations as a whole. Those with a growth mindset are far more likely to bring innovative approaches to the problems they face. This often means pulling from a variety of experiences, knowledge bases, and skill sets, then combining them in new and unexpected ways.

If you identify with the fixed mindset and felt your heart just sink a little, don't worry: "People can be influenced to adopt a growth mindset of interest if they are immersed in an environment with a culture that promotes and reinforces the idea that interests can grow and develop," said lead author Paul O'Keefe. "Moreover, there must be opportunities for people to act on their belief that new interests can develop."

It turns out that thinking of yourself as an innovator or not is more about psychology than you'd think. Give it shot — it's what big thinkers would do.