A Mindset is a perception that people have about themselves. Our mindset has an effect on much of what we do. Our personal and professional relationships, our achievements or successes, our ability to learn and gain skill are all affected by our mindset.
There are two kinds of Mindsets, a Fixed Mindset and a Growth Mindset.
With a Fixed Mindset we believe we are the way we are and we are born with a certain amount of abilities. Do we believe we are athletic and good at sports, or not so much. What do believe about our math abilities. Are we a “C” student? We think and accept that we are a certain way and there is nothing we can do to change it. Having a fixed mindset is a negative mindset because it it is limiting and does not allow for improvement or growth.
With a Growth Mindset we believe that we can change, we can learn, we can become better and we are not limited in what we can do. We do not say, I was born this way or I am just lousy at sports or I can’t get better grades. We believe that if we put in the effort we can improve. If I study hard I can get an “A” this semester.
Can we change our outlook from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset? Absolutely! All we have to do is put in some effort.
“The greatest discovery of all time is that a person can change his future by merely changing his attitude.” Oprah Winfrey
The first step is recognizing and understanding what your mindset is. Our mindset will define who we are. Will you be happy or unhappy? Will you be successful or not?
How do you know for sure if you have a Fixed Mindset?
- Do you always concentrate on what is wrong and just can’t let it go. Are you even able to recognize when something good happens? If someone congratulates you or give you a compliment do you brush it off and instead talk about what you did wrong?
- Do you constantly complain? Are you just plain grumpy? Do you make negative comments about other people even when you do not know them?
- Do you talk negatively about the actions of other people but when you have an opportunity to have a conversation with them you never mention it?
- Do you feel like everything and everyone is wrong or against you, out to get you or harm you in some way?
Do the actions listed above apply to you? If you recognize yourself then yes, you do have a negative or fixed mindset.
What about these? These are all representative of someone with a fixed mindset.
- Do you believe you were born with a certain level of intelligence which cannot be changed? Do you make comments such as, “I am not smart enough to do that or “there is no sense in taking that class or reading that book because I won’t be able to understand it”.
- Do you decide not to try out for a team sport because you believe you are not good enough and you will never get better?
- How about work meetings or a work seminar, do you participate or do you stay quiet and hope no one will pay attention? Do you think you have nothing to contribute?
- Do you make comments about someone who is less intelligent than you to make yourself feel better?
- Do you brag about something you did to make people think you are smart?
Someone with a Growth Mindset believe they have the ability to learn, to improve and develop new skills. They believe they have potential and will actively look for ways to become smarter. Do you do the following?
- Concentrate on what is good. Look at any situation and see it as positive or an opportunity.
- Always make positive statements. If someone asks how you are, do you respond “I’m great”.
- Do you compliment other people, tell them the did a good job or that you like the way they do something?
- Do you believe that other people will help you and that they care about your feelings?
How about these? These are all signs of a Growth Mindset.
- Do you believe you are smart and that you have the ability to learn and become smarter, learn new skills, be successful?
- Do you think you are a ho-hum golfer but you are willing to participate in a work team so you can spend time with your colleagues? Do you believe you can improve your skills by taking some instructions?
- Do you actively participate in work meetings and research an idea and share your findings?
- If someone compliments you, do you thank them and accept their praise and not question their compliment?
- Do you like to be challenged?
- Do you consistently look for something new to do?
What should you do to develop a Growth Mindset?
First and foremost, listen to your own voice, the way you are thinking. What is it telling you about your mindset? Do you have a tendency to be negative or are you a positive thinker? Know where you are now so you can take the appropriate steps to improve.
You can choose. When you are faced with a decision, take a moment. Do not just react. Decide how you want to proceed. Weigh the consequences. Will you learn from the experience? Will you experience growth if you decide to do the thing that makes you uncomfortable? Go for it!
Choose your friends and associates wisely. Pick positive people, both at work and in your personal life. Look for a mentor, someone you respect and who can help you improve,
Tackle tasks that you know will stretch your abilities. It may intimidate you but that is OK. Get out of your comfort zone and into your growth zone.
Read, a lot. Listen to webinars like TED talks. Take a class. Learn a new language. Do things that challenge you and that you will learn from.
You may not be successful with each endeavor but you will have gained some knowledge. The experience will enrich you. Do not be afraid to try again. Each time you will learn a little more. You will gain confidence and confidence will make it easier to keep growing.
Over time you may have some interesting conversations with yourself switching back and forth from your old fixed mindset and your new growth mindset. Spend time reflecting on how each makes you feel and what results you achieve. Focus on implementing the growth mindset and keep pushing forward. Make the effort and you will be successful.
“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill
As always,thank you for reading my blog. Enjoy a day of opportunity.