Even If You’ve Always Been Fixed In Your Beliefs
As a human, you have two ways to categorize your brain. You either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
If you have a fixed mindset, you think there’s nothing more you can do with what you’ve got. You have a pre-determined amount of intelligence, ability, and talent that will never change over time.
On the contrary, if you have a growth mindset, you use your intelligence, ability, and talent as a starting point to get better, smarter, or more successful.
IS A FIXED MINDSET MORE ABOUT REALISM?
Before this gets to be a tortoise and hare argument, here’s what’s true about these two mindset types.
Carol Dweck first presented these two ways of being based on research conducted at Stanford University.
The primary difference between the two is more about how they respond to challenging situations.
A fixed mindset person will avoid taking on tasks outside of their known talents or abilities. The reason? Because failure is a devastating and likely consequence and they don’t believe that practice makes perfect.
In fact, for a fixed mindset person, success is something realized from talent alone. For them, there’s no effort required.
THEN A GROWTH MINDSET ISN’T ABOUT FANTISIZING?
Actually, it’s not. A growth mindset is about realizing the true depth of your potentiality.
Growth mindset people choose to go deep into developing their knowledge and skills so that they can achieve the success they seek.
Challenging situations outside of their current abilities are welcomed as opportunities. And, whether they succeed or fail, they will always learn a lesson in the process of doing.
For the growth mindset person, there’s no delusion that success only comes from what they know now. It comes from pursuing what they don’t know in order to realize it.
AN ARGUMENT FOR ADOPTING A GROWTH MINDSET
Truthfully, it is difficult for a fixed mindset person to grasp that they have the potential to expand their brain’s capabilities. “Fixed” in the term used to describe them.
If that’s the case, that you only have a finite set of skills, talents, and knowledge, how do you explain any progress made from infancy to adulthood?
Is it simply stored knowledge that magically unlocks at specific points in time as you age? Or, is it something else entirely?
Your brain function can and does change over time, evidenced by numerous neuroplasticity experiments. This makes the case fo a growth mindset much more believable.
Besides, if a fixed mindset is the true nature of being, how do you explain people who change their “bad” habits?
HOW TO SHIFT INTO A GROWTH MINDSET
While there are hundreds of ways to reframe your mindset from one of fixed to one of growth, here are the top seven ways you can practice right now…Even if you’ve always been “fixed” in your ways.
CHOOSE TO LEARN INSTEAD OF APPROVAL-SEEKING
Your goal should only be to learn and expand your abilities so you can improve upon them. For yourself.
If your goal is to impress someone or get their approval for the learning you’re doing to improve, you’ll end up highly discouraged and disappointed if you don’t get it.
Which means you’re 10X more likely to give up before you get good.
FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY, NOT THE DESTINATION
Mastery of something new takes time. And, when you first start, it’s going to be awhile to get where you want to go.
If you choose to focus solely on the gap and not the small milestones you’re reaching every day to close that distance, you’ll easily fall into overwhelm. And in no time, overwhelm will make you feel like giving up.
KNOW YOUR PURPOSE
When you approach learning, doing, or being something new, it’s your underlying why that takes you over the finish line.
Given a purpose to your pursuit of what once seemed insurmountable, you’ll make decisions that you once feared to make. You’ll gain a sense of internal knowing because you are aligned with the purpose you set for the change you seek.
GO DEEP, NOT WIDE
Learning is a process. It takes time, effort, and energy.
Deciding to focus those three resources to gain depth over a broader general knowledge boosts your confidence. And boosted confidence builds your courage to pursue more things outside your comfort zone.
LEARN FROM OTHERS’ MISTAKES
Let others’ journeys guide your own.
What you’re attempting to do, surely someone else has successfully done before you. And, they’ve made a mistake or two along the way.
Not that you should continually compare your journey to theirs for an ego-boost…
But, it certainly doesn’t hurt to recognize the mistakes others make so you can avoid some of the same pitfalls along the way.
Change can be a rocky road. It’s only harder if you resist it.
That said, so long as you have a purpose behind the change you seek, it will pay you well to develop a habit of perseverance.
While you’re at it, persistence is another muscle to build along the way.
A “C” IS NOT AN “F”
Look, when you’re growing your skills, you’re going to likely be a bit average when you begin.
Excellence and eventually mastery come only after you adapt your behavior to the feedback you’re given over time.
If at first you don’t get an A+, remember, your “C” is not a failure. It’s just a benchmark to help you quantify how much you need to improve.
CONSIDER THESE 7 WAYS TO FOSTER A GROWTH MINDSET
If you’re in the fixed mindset camp, and you’re ready to shift into a growth mindset, take these seven steps to make the transition.
- Improve for yourself, not the approval of others
- Acknowledge every milestone you reach along the way
- Define the why underlying the change you’re after
- Dive deep into one area at a time to gain confidence
- Become aware of potential roadblocks so you can avoid them
- Build your persistence and perseverance muscles
- Accept feedback as a barometer of right now and keep going
Adopting a growth mindset can be a tricky shift. I help leaders adapt and embrace big mindset shifts. If you’re facing an especially difficult shift and could use some guidance, I’m here for you.
Schedule a free strategy session with me and let’s talk about it.