Grit and Growth Mindset – What’s the Difference & Can They Be Used Together?

Grit and growth mindset are two concepts that are common yet unclear to many people. How are they connected? How important are they, and can you disregard them and still lead a happier and more fulfilling life?

My curiosity was sparked by a series of events in my personal and general life. I wanted to have a thorough understanding of what it takes to make it in life. In this article, I share the insights I’ve gathered in my comprehensive research.

These two terms are in my quest of unraveling the puzzle of the motivations for an accomplished living. I dare say they’re the most significant traits of a successful person. For this reason, I decided to narrow down on them so that I can also share with you my intriguing findings.

From my research, I noted that grit is a trait that tends to be shared among people with a growth mindset. In other words, you could say that grit is the fuel that propels your car.

The growth mindset characteristic is the car that can’t move without fuel. In simple terms, the two features go hand-in-hand. They’re inseparable.

You can’t claim a growth mindset if you don’t have grit. Another way to look at it is if you have a growth mindset without grit, you won’t get to where you hope to go in life.

It’s safe to say that grit is the magic that enables you to utilize your growth mindset so that things work for you. The best way to understand the concept of a growth mindset is to understand grit. You must understand the meaning of the word then learn ways of identifying it in the people.

But first, let’s first look into the growth mindset concept.

What’s a Growth Mindset?

Mindset refers to your perceptions and beliefs about your capabilities, talents, gifts, and potential in life.

There are two types of attitudes, growth mindsets and their opposites, fixed mindsets. People with fixed mindsets believe that their conditions are pre-determined. They can’t do anything to change their desperate or failing lives.

Such people aren’t willing to take on challenging situations in life. They work under the principle that if something causes pain or if they might lose or are unsure, it’s not worth the time and effort. It’s not common to find a fixed mindset challenging the status quo.

Let’s put this in a classroom context. Learners with a fixed mindset believe that hard work doesn’t pay. Therefore, they don’t see the need to struggle and take on challenging tasks in class.

Instead, they would rather handle the easy stuff and leave the technical ones for the geniuses of the class. Students with a fixed mindset tend to resign or relegate themselves to a zone of, “I’m good with whatever comes my way.”

A growth mindset, on the other hand, is a fascinating concept. People with this trait believe that their talents, gifts, and abilities are malleable. They can stretch to include capacities they didn’t have before, especially when they need to do hard things.

For instance, a high school student with a growth mindset believes that she can do better in a subject, even though it’s a challenge for her. She will give herself over to hard work and increase her commitment, consulting with her teacher and anyone else who can help her move upwards.

In the end, such a student will post better math results and believe that the hard work and positive attitude helped her get there.

Often, a growth mindset means the same thing as motivation and hard work. Whereas this is true, it’s only part of the definition.

There are other facets to this concept. For instance, a person might sign up to buy a pill for memory improvement because they believe the pill can help. People have a growth mindset since they already have a positive attitude about their condition. It can change.

Carol Dweck is the champion of the concept of the growth mindset. She has done compelling and revealing research in the same area.

According to her study, students showed greater resilience after failure and improved test scores. This group of students was also enthusiastic and willing to take on challenging tasks above their grade or class.

Research in the brain showed a higher level of stimulation and activities in the middle brain area of the students. On the other hand, the brains of learners with fixed mindsets showed no motivation, meaning they were little interested in the challenging tasks.

What’s Grit?

As I pointed out, there is a direct correlation between grit and a growth mindset. Grit is the ability of a person to bounce back after challenges or a series of setbacks.

The fact that you believe you will make it in a specific area doesn’t mean you’ll have a smooth ride all through. Some challenges will come, and they’ll test your resolve and commitment to your goals in the process.

If you bow out of the race because of the challenges, you’ll have failed even though you have a growth mindset. It’s not automatic that you succeed just because you think highly of yourself.

Angela Duckworth has conducted many pioneering studies and research in grit. According to her and other similar studies, grit has a massive role in determining academic success.

However, I need to clarify that it’s not the intention of Carol Dweck, Angela Duckworth, or mine to insinuate that a growth mindset is the perfect replacement of talent.

That’s not the intention of this article. The argument here is simple. How people view and perceive themselves has a tremendous impact on the results and quality of life. Resilience is the principal key in this case.

Characteristics of a Growth Mindset

1. Passionate about Learning

Persons with a growth mindset are enthusiastic and always look forward to learning something new. What’s more, they aren’t content with the average stuff. They want to challenge their brains into thinking to solve problems and puzzles around them.

They desire to become authorities in their fields or industries. They even challenge the existing knowledge, fact-check what’s assumed to be accurate, and spot gaps in the current body of knowledge.

2. Self Belief

Individuals with a growth mindset can’t be weighed down by people who ridicule their self-confidence. They regard themselves highly and therefore what you think about them doesn’t matter, even if it’s negative.

Even when circumstances seem to work against them, they always believe that they’ll overcome.

3. Live in the Moment

Life is about what’s happening here and now. The only thing to take from the past is the valuable lessons that will help them become better people today and in the future.

To them, life is and should be about learning from your mistakes, perfecting your best so that you get the most out of life.

People with a growth mindset focus on the current occurrences, making them hard to beat. You can’t easily distract them: their eyes are always on the price.

4. Actions Counts

A little talk and resounding actions make the difference between high and low achievers.

Individuals with a growth mindset tend to see every opportunity as the ladder into the next phase. Such individuals use a growth mindset as a way of strengthening their awareness.

You might have realized that such people are always intentional about every decision. They make calculated moves.

5. Accept Challenges

Challenges don’t bog down people with a growth mentality. They adjust to situations as they come and always do their best to get the most of every problem they encounter.

Even when there isn’t much to achieve, they’ll learn a few lessons that will enable them to deal with such a situation better in the future.

When they fail as planned, they review their performance and make the necessary changes. They don’t fear challenging projects, and instead, they take such opportunities to prove their worth.

6. Self-Disciplined

These people think differently: they know they want the best. But most importantly, they’re willing to soil their hands to get the job done. They’re willing to pay the price and make the sacrifices needed for success.

Because of their commitment, it’s easy for them to remain focused on the ultimate goal, no matter the distractions. It’s no wonder that they’ll often succeed and achieve their goals.

Characteristics of Grit

1. Courage

Courage, in the context of grit, means the ability one has to manage failure. Instead of shying off a challenge because of a fear of failure, they psych themselves up to try out the challenge.

Courage is about sticking with something when every nerve inside you tells you to quit. Even if you fail, there’s always something to learn.

2. Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness means dependability and being achievement-oriented. That means that self-control is a vital trait of people with a growth mentality since they must always focus on the end goal.

If you have such a person on your team, you can always count on them to start something new, get it going, stick with it to the end and learn valuable lessons out of it.

If you look keenly into this description, it has grit written all over it.

3. Long-term Goals and Endurance

It’s not how you begin but how you finish that matters the most. It’s why people with a growth mindset tend to be more successful in life than their fixed mindset counterparts.

They plan big, start small, set long-term goals, and endure the hardships of the process.

4. Resilience

Growth mindset individuals understand that life isn’t always a bed of roses. As they plan long term, they know that there will be obstacles along the way. They’ll do their best to weather the storm by putting the necessary mitigation measures in place.

Why Does Grit and Resilience Matter?

Grit and resilience are essential as they help build a sustainable growth mentality. The good news is that you can develop grit. You don’t have to be born with such a trait.

First, you need to have an awareness of your identity:

  • Do you know who you are?
  • What are your abilities, capabilities, giftings?
  • What are the things you fear the most?

Asking these questions will enable you to understand your identity. To know yourself, you must understand your goals, visions, and aspirations. Then, you must challenge yourself to rise above your obstacles.

Concluding Thoughts on Grit and Growth Mindset

Grit is the ability to bounce back after a series of setbacks.

The concepts are related: one is a prerequisite for a victorious living. For instance, people who fail do so because they’ve lost hope. They don’t have a driving force, so they resign their lives to fate.

On the other hand, a person with a growth mentality will pick themselves up, strategize and fight back. They always see a reason to try again when others think it’s no use.

In conclusion, grit and growth mindset go together. Grit is pivotal to developing a growth mindset. Once you get your mindset right, you’ll be ready to take on the world despite the ups and downs.

Introduce children to the concept of growth mindset, check out the 25 Easy Ways to Instill Growth Mindset for Students and 26 Growth Mindset Bulletin Board Ideas


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