Mindset is a set of assumptions, methods and notations that a person has. It is about how we approach things in life.
According to Carol Dweck, a leading Stanford psychologist, mindset has a pivotal role in what you want and whether you will achieve it.
In fixed mindset people have an underlying belief that ability is static. They avoid challenge, give up easily, ignore feedback, and see others’ success as a threat. They also focus on trying to look good in the eyes of others, because fixed mindset creates a need for approval from others. In life, they achieve less than full potential. Many of us have fixed mindset. We move from one target to the next, always looking to tick something as done. We forget to stop and learn and enjoy the ride, the focus is always on ticking a box. Schools, universities, families and our career environments all foster a fixed mindset.
In growth mindset people believe that ability can be developed, and this makes them want to learn. They embrace challenge, are persistent, they learn from criticism, and find inspiration and learning from success of others. As a result, they achieve their full potential. Life is a journey of learning, development, and opportunities. Yes there are challenges and failures also, but these are something we learn from.
“After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.” Nelson Mandela
What’s your mindset?
Many of us have a fixed mindset, because that’s how we have been raised and conditioned. Indeed, it is very effective at helping us reach the immediate target in front of us. However, it also leads to reliance on external validation, focus on achieving rather than learning, and any failures are seen as catastrophic. Fixed mindset works in the short term, but in the long term it does not lead to learning, growth, and meaningful life. Growth mindset leads to increased effort, perseverance and learning, and ultimately greater achievement in the long term and a rich and meaningful life.
How can I get a growth mindset?
You are well on the way now, because you know that such a thing exists. Monitor your own thinking and motivation, and choose the mindset that you want to have.
In practical terms, you can encourage growth mindset by
-praising effort and process, rather than achievement
-think in terms of things you have “not yet” achieved, rather than failed at. “I haven’t passed my exam yet”
-when you fail, fail well and learn for the next time
-when you succeed, reflect on the hard work that led you there
-set goals that focus on how you will act and what you will do, rather than on what you will have / achieve
-giving yourself a hard time doesn’t work: accept things, practice self-compassion, learn and move on
You can see Carol Dweck’s TED talk here, and she has written a number of books too.
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