There’s a lot of fuss around mindset, and it’s all pretty relevant if I am honest with you. What I mostly come across is that a lot of people don’t identify their mindset as being something that is in their way. We more often than not chalk up a negative outlook to the situation, the person’s behaviour and so on. In reality, mindset is the make up of thinking, and thinking is the make up of behaviour. Make sense?
Let me get deeper. It isn’t what happens to us that ignites a response, its how we think about what happens to us. So, our behaviour, or someone else’s behaviour is not the reason we react/respond the way we do. How we perceive that behaviour, how we mentally label it… that’s the mindset speaking.
Look, don’t get it twisted. We have more often than not got incredibly relevant experiences in our lives that have reinforced the way we think, sometimes over and over again. What I want to really get across to you though, is that you can actually do something about it.
There are many benefits to a growth mindset. Your self esteem will improve, your perspective on things will change, you’ll be better equipped to face life’s challenges and those goals you have for 2020, they’ll be achieved!
Let’s look at a fixed mindset first. This is best explained as being a mindset where you believe that everything that has transpired in your life is just the cards you were dealt and entirely out of your control. You’re as smart as you’re going to be, as successful as you’re going to be, as rich as you’re going to be, as healthy as you’re going to be. The list could really go on and on.
Here are some characteristics that I would use to determine somebody who was in a fixed mindset:
- They believe that their skills and intelligence are set in stone.
- They believe that effort is something you put in when you are not good at what you do.
- They give up, or check out when they are faced with a challenge.
- They take feedback personally, and are often offended by it.
- They avoid making mistakes.
- They focus on how they are viewed by others.
- They have a pessimistic outlook about their goals, and tend to set unrealistic goals.
- They are easily influenced by their peers.
- They don’t practice self reflection very often.
- They place blame externally for the outcome of events that happen in their lives.
I want to point out that a person could have a very fixed mindset in all areas of their lives, and this is something that they could work to change over time. It is also however, not uncommon for an individual to have a growth mindset, in multiple areas of their lives and be very fixed in their thinking in a specific area or areas.
Let’s look at characteristics of a growth mindset:
- They embrace challenges.
- They are persistent despite obstacles.
- They learn from criticism and feedback.
- They are inspired by the success of others.
- They self reflect often and look at how they can grow from the experiences they have had.
- They are goal oriented.
- They believe that they are in control of their own lives.
- They have a strong desire to learn.
The jump between a fixed and a growth mindset looks pretty frikken daunting but there is one simple tool you can start using right now! This is why last weeks post was important.
You can start by changing the words you have gotten so used to using. I can’t do it? I’ll never be that smart? I effd up again? Sound familiar?? There are countless infographics out there that explain the whole Change Your Words, Change Your Mindset philosophy. Print one. Add it to your vision board for January. Keep it there as long as you need to. Start by simply changing the dialogue!
This process starts with recognizing when the fixed mindset is in play. Start paying attention to the voice in your head. Listen to it carefully. Once you start to recognize the fixed mindset you can start to change it by responding with a growth mindset. I can’t do it – fixed; I’m willing to learn how to do it, I’ll give it time – growth. Once you have started responding in a growth mindset the most valuable next step is going to be to take growth mindset action.
Here’s a personal experience I had with challenging a fixed mindset. I couldn’t play guitar. Challenge accepted. I told myself that I would work on it for 30 minutes every day. My fingers hurt – it’s the price of learning. My chord changes suck – It’s part of the process. I can now proudly play Metallica Nothing Else Matters and it took me 3 weeks to learn just the intro. The fact is, I committed to the experience. When my fingers hurt, I still played. When I messed up the chords, I tried again. I countered every “I can’t” with a “keep going.”
For this week, I want you to focus on challenging the fixed mindset whenever it rears its ugly face! Name it, observe it, challenge it, and repeat steps 1 to 3 as often as needed. Pick that one area where a fixed mindset may be holding you back and get to work.
Next week, we’re going to dig even deeper into the types of mindsets that you can develop once you have made the shift into the growth mindset. Let me know in the comments how your first week of 2020 inspired big change in your life?