CHANGE YOUR MINDSET, CHANGE YOUR LIFE
If you think your life is limited and you are stuck with the cards you were dealt, think again. In this post we are going to talk about the role your mindset plays on your success and the outcomes in your life. In the process, we’ll bust through some common misconceptions on what your mindset is, and give you the tools you need to create a winner’s mindset.
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What is mindset?
There is a lot of talk about mindset these days, but what does it even mean? Basically, your mindset is your mental attitude or inclination, and it stems from your beliefs. It affects how we handle situations, the choices we make and the actions we take. How we define ourselves and others stems from our mindset.
Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck popularized the idea of mindset in her 2006 research on theories of intelligence. According to Dweck, we either have a Fixed Mindset or a Growth Mindset, and the difference between the 2 greatly affects every outcome in our life.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
People with a Fixed Mindset tend to believe that their success is based on innate ability. We are born with certain natural skills, being good at some things and not so good at others. When you hear someone say, “I can’t draw, or I’m not athletic” they are speaking in absolutes and demonstrating a fixed mindset. While they will tell you they are simply stating a fact, the truth is that they are demonstrating a fixed mindset and are unlikely to attempt to gain a new skill in these areas.
People with a Growth Mindset believe that their success is a result of hard work and determination. We might be born with certain talents and abilities, but these are just starting points for further growth. Any skill can be mastered, and challenges are welcomed, rather than feared.
While many people do not know they have a specific mindset, it is particularly evident when it comes to failure. Fixed mindset people dread and avoid failure because it increases self-doubt and demonstrates their weaknesses. They feel exposed and vulnerable. They believe they have to prove themselves over and over again and always fear looking dumb.
In contrast, growth mindset people see failure as an opportunity for learning. Because they believe that intelligence and skill can be developed, they welcome challenges and are much more resilient in the face of failure.
Research has shown over and over that the most highly successful people are those who have a growth mindset. Success here is not only measured through finances, but includes all facets of life, from relationships to health to emotional fitness. People with a growth mindset tend to set goals and go after them, and show increased determination in the face of opposition. They have a hunger for learning, rather than an addiction to approval.
1. Mindset is unchangeable: The first mistake people make is to believe that our mindset is unchangeable – that we are born with a certain way of thinking, a certain level of intelligence, and a pre-determined potential for success. The good news is that your mindset is not something you are born with, and therefore you can change it.
2. Mindset is all about positive thinking. At one time, it was thought that you were either positive or negative, and that if you want to improve your life you need to develop and practice a positive attitude. While this is partly true, it really doesn’t encompass the whole picture, and it doesn’t allow you to tap into the true power of your mindset. Having a positive attitude is definitely a good thing, but if you believe your intelligence is limited, it really doesn’t matter how positive your attitude is, you are unlikely to attempt to improve it.
8 Habits to Develop a Growth Mindset
- Replace the word fail with learn. It’s never a failure if we have learned something. As Thomas Edison wisely said, “I have not failed 1000 times at making a light bulb. I have successfully discovered 1000 ways not to make a light bulb.” When you eliminate the ways that will not work, you inevitably get closer to finding the way that will.
- Acknowledge your weaknesses and imperfections. Avoiding them and hiding them from others only guarantees you will never overcome them.
- Stop trying to impress – prioritize learning over approval. When impressing others is more important than your own growth, you are setting yourself up for disappointment.
- See challenges as opportunities. Rather than seeing a challenging situation as a sign of your own weakness, instead make a habit of embracing it as an opportunity for learning, for growth, and expansion.
- Value growth over speed – it’s not a race, and sometimes good learning takes time.
- Use the Power of YET: Dweck encourages the use of the word yet, as in, “I haven’t achieved that yet”, rather than, “I’ve failed” or “I can’t do it”.
- Value effort over traits – replace “I’m so good at this”, with “I’ve worked so hard at this”.
- Remind yourself that learning and expanding your knowledge and skills are necessary for growth, and not a sign of weakness.
Our mindset begins to develop at a young age as a result of the praise we receive and beliefs we form. If you are a parent or teacher, consider the impact you have on the young minds in your life. Check out the following statements and see how small changes can have a big impact.
What limiting beliefs can you change? What simple phrases can you let go of and replace with more growth-oriented ones? Small changes can truly go a long way when it comes to our mindset!
If you want to learn more about Dr Dweck’s work on Mindset, check out her book:
Till Next Time,
Keep Going 4Ward!
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