Mindset – It’s a buzzing term these days. Everybody is talking about it. There are coaches and mentors for mindset too. That got me thinking, lets understand this better. So, here we are. Learning something more about mindset today and how it affects our lives.
Though we have divided ourselves in so many categories such as nationalities, cultures, caste creed and races but in the end we are all one. However, there is one broad categorization that applies to people all over the world. And that makes all the difference. This is the category of their mindset. In the broad category there are people of two kinds – those with Fixed mindsets and with Growth mindsets. And that makes all the difference. Let’s understand what these mindsets are, how they are formed, how they are seen and how that impacts our lives right from the beginning till the end.
So, the people with fixed mindsets have a strong belief that you are born with your qualities. You are gifted with your talents. And those are carved in stone. So, the people with fixed mindset have strong urge to prove that. Validate that. That’s success for them. They have this consuming goal of proving themselves. Every situation calls for confirmation of their personality or character or intelligence. On the other hand, people with growth mindset have strong sense of belief that your basic qualities are not necessarily what you are born with. You can cultivate those through efforts over time with right strategies and with the help of others. They believe people can grow through application and experience.
Let’s imagine you have had a bad day. You spilled coffee on yourself in the morning, got late to your school or university or your place of work. When you reached, you got to know from the head of department that the project you were taking care of failed completely. To add to it, your spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend called you up and had a big fight with you. How would you feel about it? A person with fixed mindset may feel rejected or failed or what an idiot am I. Failed mindset may feel like a loser or worthless. Life is unfair. I am doomed. Somebody is just so against me.
A person with growth mindset would feel completely opposite. Oh, that’s been a bad day. Maybe I need to work harder on the project at hand. And I must sort things out with my spouse or girlfriend or boyfriend. I need to understand what went wrong and rectify those. I must figure out the better way to do these things.
Of course, you can be upset whether you have the fixed mindset or the growth mindset. But the people with growth mindset wouldn’t let these events to label themselves and would look at the way forward.
Coming to the big question – Why is the mindset so important?
Its because People’s ideas about how much risk should they take or what efforts should they make comes out of their basic mindset which is either a growth or a fixed mindset. And you would agree that those risks and efforts make all the difference in their lives. People with the growth mindset like to make efforts and like challenges. When you have fixed mindset, you have a strong belief that your qualities are carved in stones. That obviously decides your thoughts and actions. This impacts the outcomes and results and shapes your life. Alternatively, when you have a growth mindset you believe that your qualities can be cultivated through your efforts. This leads to a host of different thoughts and actions. This would shape your life differently with different set of results and outcomes. Now the most interesting thing about these mindsets is that people with fixed mindsets don’t have much accurate views of their assets or limitations. As they aren’t always open to criticism or negative feedbacks. People with growth mindset can identify their own strength and weakness quiet accurately.
Isn’t it interesting how your mindset shapes your belief and how that one belief decides how much would you love challenges or how you would like to put in efforts or how well you can be resilient to face setbacks or how you treat success?
Let me give you a few more ways to think about mindsets:
Think about somebody who is strongly a fixed mindset person. Think how they always try to prove themselves, how they get supersensitive about making mistakes or being wrong.
Now think about somebody who is skilled in the growth mindset. Think how they understand that qualities can be cultivated through efforts. Think about how they face challenges. Think about how they stretch themselves.
The beauty about mindset is, you aren’t stuck with one. You can change it. Its in your hands.
Let’s further dive into what happens inside our mindsets.
So, whatever we do is based on our abilities. Like mindset, there are two kinds of abilities. A fixed ability that needs to be proven and a changeable ability that can be developed through continuous learning. That’s how mindsets get born. So inside one mindset you have an entire world. A fixed mindset has a world of fixed traits like success is to prove that you are talented or smart. You must validate yourself. A growth mindset has a world of changing qualities. You must keep developing yourself, stretching yourself, and learn new things. In the world of fixed mindset failure means having a setback. Getting a rejection or getting fired or loosing something. In a growth mindset, failure is about not growing, not stretching, not reaching your full potential. For fixed mindset effort is a bad thing. For growth mindset, effort is what makes or breaks you. People with fixed mindset want to make sure they succeed by proving their smartness or talent. For people with growth mindset success is about stretching themselves and becoming better version of themselves.
This mindset affects everything in our lives. Our achievements and accomplishments. Our business or occupation. Our relationships. Our parenting or coaching approach. Our families. Our lives overall.
P.S. This blog is based on several researches. A lot of input are dependent on the book Mindset by (Phd) Carol S Dweck.