The Most Helpful Mindset
We’ve had lots of chats this month about strengths and weaknesses - and how to be honest with ourselves about them. (Get on our e-mail list and check out last week’s blog post to see more.) With all this talk, it is also very important to bring up the idea of a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset.
Your mindset is just what it sounds like: How your mind is set to see the world. It affects how you approach relationships, problems, and projects. It affects everything. So, of course, the right mindset is a key player in a joy-filled, successful life.
We are going to break down the incredibly complex concept of “mindset” into two simple choices. Some people in the world have a fixed mindset and the rest have a growth mindset. Carol Dweck has a whole book on this if you want to dig deeper, but we’re just going to touch on the basics in this post.
Folks with this mindset usually end up stuck to some degree. They believe that our traits and circumstances are unchangeable. To them, our talents and intelligence are innate and set at birth. This leads to many unhealthy assumptions, such as:
“I wasn’t born a genius so I won’t be successful.”
“I don’t need to get better at ________ because I’m already great at it.”
“I’m shy so I’ll never have good friends.”
“Bad health runs in my family so that is my fate.”
“She’s successful, but it’s just luck because she was born smart.”
“I hate trying new things.”
A fixed mindset acts as a MASSIVE roadblock to joy, love, peace, and happiness in life. Can you see how it happens? Why would any of us try harder or do challenging things if we believe, deep down, that we’ll never improve?
A growth mindset is medicine - the antidote to a fixed mindset. Folks with this kind of mindset believe there is always room to grow - that skills and talent and intelligence can be developed! The assumptions that accompany a growth mindset are much more gracious than a fixed:
“Whoops, I messed up. What can I learn so I can do better next time?”
“I love feedback because it helps me improve.”
“When other people do well, it shows me what is possible for myself.”
“I’ve struggled with ________ but I know it will get better.”
“I LOVE trying new things!”
A growth mindset is a huge gateway into a huge world of possibilities. It believes the sky is the limit and that anything is possible. If you’re feeling stuck, stagnant, and frustrated with any aspect of your life, I recommend starting to examine where your mind is fixed so you can start to open more doors for yourself.
Why bring this up in conjunction with all the strengths/weaknesses talk? Because as helpful as it is to know thyself and understand your attributes, it is also helpful to understand they are not set in stone. If you have a weakness you want to improve, you certainly can! In fact, if you have a strength you want to improve, you certainly can. :D
So use this blog post as your sign to go out and try new things, be ok with sucking at stuff, and to cheer for others’ successes. You are not stuck. You have an ocean of possibility in you. Go ahead and see the best in yourself, and while you’re at it, see the best in others too. We’re rooting for you!
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