Curated by: Sergio A. Martínez
We have discussed before how a growth mindset is essential for any software developer. After all, the world of technology is always changing, and those who can keep up with the latest trends, both technically and emotionally, are the most successful ones. With a growth mindset, developers are constantly learning and expanding their skillsets beyond their comfort zones and usual interests, never satisfied with simply knowing how to do something. They’re always looking for new challenges, and they’re never afraid to fail because they know that “failure” is simply an opportunity to learn and grow.
And a lot has changed in the software development field over the years. New languages, frameworks, and development practices mean that it’s more important than ever to develop a well-rounded skill set. To become a truly effective software developer, you need to be able to work in a variety of environments and be comfortable with a range of technologies. You also need to have a strong foundation in the basics, including principles of software design, data structures, and algorithms. And finally, it’s important to be able to communicate effectively with other team members, whether it’s working with architects to design a system or collaborating on code reviews. A growth mindset is the best strategy to do so, helping you stretch into other important areas (like teamwork, communication, or leadership) outside of your normal interests.
However, getting into a growth mindset is not an easy task. And it isn’t because accomplishing this is singularly hard or demanding, but because there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about what a growth mindset is, or how to effectively harness this way of thinking to become a better developer. So, what are some of the myths about developing a growth mindset, and how to avoid falling into them?
Myth 1: It’s an intrinsic quality to have
We see this kind of thinking all the time, from the “there are two kinds of people in the world” type of mentality, to the idea that natural talent or ability is the most important quality to have (and bad luck to anyone born without it). However, when it comes to a growth mindset, this idea is harmful and simply not true.
After all, a person with a true growth mindset believes that intelligence and talent are not fixed traits; everyone can grow and improve with the necessary effort, and that every challenge is an opportunity to grow. So why isn’t everyone running around with a growth mindset? Well, because a fixed mindset, or the belief that intelligence and talent are fixed traits that cannot be changed, is still very prevalent, and even the default in our current society. This mentality leads people to give up easily, believing that they cannot improve, simply because they are afraid of failing. However, with the right tools and environment, anyone can learn to grow, stop fearing the failures that are necessary to evolve, and better themselves in areas of skill that they thought impossible before.
Myth 2: It’s all about being positive
Being “positive” is often touted as the key to success in life, an antidote of sorts for all kinds of problems, from personal relationships to financial success. Generally, the thinking goes that if you stay positive, good things will happen to you. Although starting with a positive attitude certainly helps, this is not the most important element of a true growth mindset. A growth mindset is about taking risks, learning from failure, and always striving to improve.
In fact, “positive thinking” can be a form of self-deception that can prevent people from achieving their full potential; being successful in any area requires the willingness to face your limitations, recognize them, and make an effort to improve. By pretending that everything is always rosy, people with an uncritically positive outlook may avoid taking risks and miss out on growth opportunities. So, if you want to achieve real growth, you need to have a positive attitude toward failure and a willingness to take risks. Only then will you be able to reach your full potential.
Myth 3: A growth mindset guarantees positive results
One of the key elements of a growth mindset is the willingness to take on risks and challenges. Learning and improving on areas we never considered before requires effort, the willingness to hear criticisms and feedback, and committing time and resources to achieve it. But most importantly, anyone who wishes to get into a growth mindset needs to understand that failure is always an option and that a growth mindset does not guarantee positive outcomes all of the time. Instead, it is simply one tool that can help achieve goals.
What matters is how we deal with these challenges and setbacks. If we allow them to defeat us, then our growth mindset won’t matter. But if we use them as opportunities to learn and grow, then we can overcome anything. So yes, a growth mindset is important, but it’s not a silver bullet. It won’t magically make everything better. But it will give us the strength to keep going when times are tough, helping us see failure as a normal part of the learning process, and letting us get ready for the next challenge. As one might say, “you are either learning or winning”.
Myth 4: Absolutely everything is possible
As the saying goes, a “jack-of-all-trades is a master of none”, and the notion that anyone can be an expert at everything is misguided and can set unrealistic expectations when it comes to getting a growth mindset. The core tenet here is that you can develop any skill you want if you put effort into it, and that people in general don’t exist in a static state that is impossible to change. If, as a developer, you want to have skills that go beyond pure technical know-how, like leadership, teamwork, negotiation, or public speaking because you want to become more well-rounded. It could open up opportunities for you and there are techniques and strategies you can try to be more proficient at.
But don’t develop unrealistic expectations about it. If we believe that we should be able to do everything expertly, we’re bound to feel like failures when we inevitably fall short. An average person has affinities and weak spots in different areas, which is fine and normal. This should neither stop you from trying new things nor make you believe that you need to be the best at everything you attempt. What’s more, this belief devalues expertise. If everyone is supposedly an expert, then what’s the point of learning from those who have spent their lives honing a particular skill? Instead of trying to be good at everything, we would be better off accepting that we have our limits and that there are some things we’re simply not cut out for and focusing on becoming the best at what we’re interested in. Only then can we truly excel.
A mindset of your own
The main takeaway here is that acquiring a growth mindset should mainly benefit you. It’s something you do because you believe in your skills, you have the desire to improve, and you can see yourself becoming a better developer, and a better person if you want to. A growth mindset leads to increased motivation, improved learning, and increased resilience in the face of setbacks. In short, it allows you to become the best version of yourself.
So, if you’re looking for a personal goal that will benefit you in countless ways, acquiring a growth mindset is a great place to start. You will be more likely to persevere when things get tough and you’re more likely to view failure as a learning opportunity, and you will always end up stronger because of that. This is because you believe that your abilities are not set in stone. It’s a goal that will benefit you and everyone in the world around you.
The Key Takeaways
- Having a growth mindset is one of the best qualities a well-rounded developer can have.
- However, there are many myths and inaccuracies about a growth mindset that you should be aware of.
- Overcoming these myths and setting realistic expectations about this mindset is the best way to harness its effectiveness for good.
- At the end of the day, the main benefit of a growth mindset should be for yourself, becoming a personal goal that will bring better things in all aspects of your life.
Scio is an established Nearshore software development company based in Mexico that specializes in providing high-quality, cost-effective technologies for pioneering tech companies. We have been building and mentoring teams of engineers since 2003 and our experience gives us access not only to the knowledge but also the expertise needed when tackling any project. Get started today by contacting us about your project needs – We have teams available to help you achieve your business goals. Get in contact today!