The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you commit to and accomplish the things you value.
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better?
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them?
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow?
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you?
“Men are disturbed not by things, but by the view which they take of them”
We are creatures of habit, driven by impulses to self-protect, to run away from woolly mammoths. Over the years, our learned behaviours become ingrained and our mindset becomes set in patterns. Renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck illustrates this with a simple idea that makes all the difference – Fixed and Growth Mindsets.
A Fixed Mindset
With a Fixed Mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. If they have a lot, they’re all set, but if they don’t… If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character, well then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. People with this mindset also believe that talent alone creates success – without effort. Effort is seen as fruitless if they don’t ‘get it’ then it suggests that they lack the intelligence. Challenges are avoided, as to fail suggests that they ‘lack the intelligence’ required. Getting things wrong and receiving feedback is also seen as negative if it reveals limitations.
A Growth Mindset
With a Growth Mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work – brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience essential for great accomplishment. People with this mindset understand that no one has ever accomplished great things – not Mozart, Darwin, or Michael Jordan – without years of passionate practice and learning. Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknowable.
Virtually all great people have these qualities. Intelligence can be developed. We can embrace challenges and believe that we can improve at a task. We can see effort as a worthwhile path to mastery. We can see that getting things wrong and receiving feedback is positive and guides further improvement.
A ‘Teacher’s Mindset’
When we are learning, the mindset of our ‘teacher’ (or trainer or tutor or whoever is giving us new knowledge) can influence how that teacher perceives our performance. Fixed Mindset teachers might see those that struggle or fail to understand an aspect of the learning process as not being sufficiently bright or talented or motivated. Growth Mindset teachers see struggling students as a challenge, learners in need of guidance and feedback on how to improve. And of course once the Fixed Mindset teacher has labelled you, the learner, that label sticks and you are reluctant to challenge it.
How to get the Growth Mindset
The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the Growth Mindset. Scientists tell us that people have more capacity for life-long learning and brain development than they ever thought. Personally, the older I get the more new things I learn, the more new things I try!
To paraphrase French psychologist Alfred Binet “You may not have started out the smartest but you could end up the smartest”.
Have a go……………
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Be curious, keep learning
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Keep trying – you get the results you want through effort and repetition
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Know that you own your mindset – if you want to change it, you can
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Do things differently – surprisingly you’ll likely get a different result
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Recognise that the process is as important as the result
[i type=”icon-ok” color=”icon-blue” bg=””]Practice always speaking in the positive – add ‘at the moment’ or ‘yet’ – you’ll get the mastery in time.