When you get the chance, watch this important video, an interview of Carol Dweck about the importance of a Growth Mindset!
“You’re so talented!”, “You are gifted – a natural!”, “You’re doing so well in school, you must be really smart!” – children receive these messages (or their negative counterparts), along with many other messages on a daily basis from their peers, parents and teachers. Are these just words or do they mean more?
The reason why I love the definitions of a growth mindset and a fixed mindset is because Carol Dweck takes the time to properly explain the two concepts, and you can easily identify the one from the other, which mindset you predominantly dwell in, and how, if you have a way of thinking that is keeping you from bettering yourself and your life.
Here are my take-away points from this well done and insightful interview that we can all internalize and use in our own way.
1.”There are many things to learn from what doesn’t work out that can help you become successful in the future” – Carol Dweck
I am a recovering failure-obsessed individual. I say this because I let the idea of failing keep me from having the courage to do something, to even try to do it, because all I ever allowed myself to think was “what if I fall flat on my a$$, and look utterly stupid, totally embarrass myself and never recover again?”
What a growth mindset does is that it frees you!
It allows you to look at an experience as something to LEARN from. Detaching yourself from your ego when it comes to embarking on new ventures and experiences is the one thing that will save you from quitting, because you will have made the decision that even if certain things don’t work, it is an opportunity for you to acquire new knowledge and skills to grow through it!
2. Challenge Yourself All The Time!
The more we work ourselves out of our daily comforts, the more we come to certain very crucial realizations:
a) We are capable of a lot more than we ever thought possible
b) Our confidence starts to grow exponentially
c) We have a newfound respect for ourselves, and because of this, we start to believe that certain goals we thought were impossible are now worth re-looking at, because our paradigm has undergone a profound shift!
3. Praise The Process, Not Intelligence or Talent
This is an idea that we should not only instill in ourselves, but in our children, especially at an early age.
When I was a child, I was seen as the talented one. I have what I call “loud” talents.
I’m good at art, music, creative writing, public speaking, and a number of other things.
My sister is someone who has what I call “quiet” talents. She always used to tell me that she has no idea what she is talented at. but boy do I admire her!!!
She possesses qualities that I know will take my entire life to work on:
- She is not afraid of constructive criticism. In fact, she welcomes it, because she knows she is learning and gaining from the advice she is getting
- She is not afraid to try. If something truly matters to her and she can do it, then it doesn’t matter to her “how she will look” to others.
- She hardly ever loses her temper. I probably lose mine every other day! She is patient to a fault when it comes to her loved ones.
- She is a people person. She will shine in the middle of any room because of her charisma, charm and her incredible glow
- She also happens to be an absolutely brilliant cook!
Growing up, my sister definitely had the growth mindset, and I certainly had the fixed mindset.
My mother called me and my elder brother the brilliant ones, but while he was excelling at school, I certainly wasn’t. I was bringing in consistent D’s.
My sister on the other hand may not have had that academic “magic touch” my brother and I had, but one thing she did was always put consistent effort in her work. She worked hard!! Because of this, she naturally did significantly better than me when those report cards came in.
The Process involves effort, implementing strategies you create, the trial and error of the results of these strategies and believing in your ability to figure things out.
4. “Take the setbacks and turn them into valuable information”
Focusing on failure and feeling shame, guilt, will keep you stuck in that same place. It is ridiculous for us to think that when we try something, that we should get it right the first time, or even the first couple of times.
A lot of the time, we will not get it right!
Most of us hate the discomfort of not winning, and human nature expects that when you are experiences something unpleasant, then get out of it as quickly as possible and get back to your immediate pleasure and comforts.
But there is value in failure, and all we have to do is set our pride aside and look for the possibilities in the setbacks we experience. I believe this is what Carol Dweck means when she says turn setbacks into valuable information, because diamonds are found in the deepest, darkest caves, but we have to be willing to explore that unknown, unpleasant darkness to find our treasure!
5. “Develop your abilities within the framework of who you are”
This can be easily misconstrued as a fixed mindset statement, but I believe what Carol Dweck means – if I can put it metaphorically – is that if you’re a fish, you’re a fish: do not blame yourself for your inability to climb a tree!
We all have certain natural traits and strengths that we already possess that make us fundamentally who we are. The idea here is to maximize what we already have.
Life has already thrown so many curves and punches at so many of us that we do not know who we are.
We have gotten so used to letting other people drive our machine that the very idea of doing it ourselves scares the living daylights out of us.
This is why majority of us have downplayed our capabilities. We simply do not recognize who we are any longer.
So for those of us who really want to make changes for the better in 2017, take stock of your strengths and start thoroughly evaluate the limited voice in your mind that keeps telling you that there is someone else who is better than you.
That voice has kept you from developing yourself for long enough!!
We are all different, and we all have something to contribute to this world! And there is no one on this planet who can bring out your light the way you can!
6. The Fixed Mindset Can’t Be Eliminated!
This should be a relief for you to read!
I say this because no human being is infallible.
No human being has a 100% positive attitude, growth mindset, etc…
What separates the successful from the unsuccessful, is that the winners have learned to master their mindset.
Through consistent and conscious effort, they have control over their fears, their doubts, their anxieties, worries and frustrations.
They don’t let their fixed mindset run them. In fact, their growth mindset voice is so loud that it consistently drowns out the negative self talk!
So what does this mean for the rest of us?
It means that it will take conscious, consistent and dedicated effort to master that negative voice that limits us, and to strengthen our positive voice, like going to a mind gym.
I will dedicate another article entirely on how to master that voice that makes us sabotage ourselves and keeps us mentally and emotionally stuck!
7. Success With A Fixed Mindset Is Not Sustainable
You can still have success and have a fixed mindset.
The problem arises when this person is faced with two distinct circumstances:
- Situation A: When this individual achieves success and receives huge accolades/rewards, then he/she becomes afraid that they will never be able to achieve that kind of success again, so they stall on their next project, or fade away into obscurity, simply because of their fear of not winning as big as they did the first time
- Situation B: When this individual is riding high from his/her success, and encounters a surprising curve on the road that throws them off completely! E.g. Someone with a high flying career who, at his/her peak, is suddenly retrenched, thus plunging him/her back into a job market with very scarce opportunities.
Now when it comes to Situation B, I am not going to say “well they should have had a growth mindset so they can get back on their feet in no time!”
Of course not!! Like I said before, we are all human beings! Sometimes life smacks us down like an oncoming truck!
What worries me though, is when this same individual, 7 years after the loss of this job, is still in the same spot as when they were laid off.
They have shown minimal signs of change, are stuck on “the way things were”, and are still adamant that someone else ruined their lives, and if it weren’t for them, then they still would have had their high flying job.
They remain completely rigid in their blueprint of what success is in their eyes, and they are completely unwilling to listen to, look at, or explore new perspectives because their entire identity has been embedded in this blueprint, and without it, they are lost, and it is tragic.
This, to me, is a fixed mindset.
Individuals with growth mindsets tend to bounce back quicker.
They will feel the same fear and anxiety when they are suddenly thrown off from their route, but what they will do differently is, after taking time off to re-group, figure out a new route, draw up a new plan/strategy, and execute!
They understand that there are many ways to get to one destination, and they will have the courage to choose another one, even if they know it means starting all over again.
Overall, I hope this article has provided some insightful information about why a growth mindset is so important.
Most importantly, please watch the video to get even more valuable information!
If you found this article useful, and even if you didn’t, drop me a comment and tell me what your thoughts are!
To becoming your ultimate self!