We have heard of the power of positive thinking and the influence of our mindset on our success, but what exactly does that mean? A mindset is nothing more than a set of beliefs that influence how we think, feel, and act. Change those beliefs, and we change our mindset - and our life can change with it! So, how do we change our mindset? And what does changing our mindset really mean? How can it help us live a better life? Let’s find out!
What is Mindset?
The mindset is our set of beliefs. They shape how we see the world around us and ourselves. It impacts our thinking, feeling and behaviour. And it impacts our success or failure. Our beliefs play a significant role in what we want and in achieving what we want.
According to Carol Dweck, Stanford psychologist and author of Mindset, there are two basic mindsets: fixed and growth.
If we think in a fixed mindset, we believe that our ability cannot be changed. We also believe that intelligence and talent are the keys to success, but no amount of effort is necessary.
On the other side, a growth mindset makes us believe our talents and abilities can be developped over time through effort and persistence.
Mindset is created in early childhood mainly by praising and labeling. Depending on the type of praise children receive, either a fixed or a growth mindset is promoted. Praising the talents of the child or labeling them as "smart" will send the message that they either have an ability or they don't, there is nothing they can do to chage that fact. Praising the process emphasizes the effort the child puts in to accomplish a task. Their success was due to the effort and strategy they implemented. These are the two factors they can control and better.
Why We Should Focus On Developing A Growth Mindset?
Our mindsets play a critical role in the way we handle challenges in our life. A growth mindset as children leads to a curious mind, a hunger for learning and a desire to work hard and discover new things. As adults, we are more likely to persevere in the face of setbacks and look at challenges as opportunities to grow and learn. Dweck notes in her book: "Those with fixed mindsets are constantly seeking the validation to prove their worth not just to others, but also to themselves. I've seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?"
How To Develop A Growth Mindset?
Despite the fact that mindset is created in early childhood, we are capable of changing our mindsets. In fact, the biggest challenge to developing a growth mindset is our fixed mindset!
Here is how we can develop a growth mindset:
Value the journey. When buidling a growth mindset, it is important to focus on the process. Take note of our learnings instead of fixating on the end result.
Learn the word "yet". Reminding ourselves we are learning and not mastering a task only means we just need to put in more work.
Pay attention to our self talk. Building a growth mindset requires us to be more compassionate with our learning process and self compassion requires self awareness.
Take on challenges. When we become comfortable with making mistakes we understand that it is one of the best ways to learn. We embrace challenges instead of shying away from them.
Developing a growth mindset—the belief that our intelligence is malleable rather than set in stone—can help us approach our setbacks and challenges in a constructive way, moving forward with grace and ease.
Having a growth mindset allows us to challenge ourselves replacing failing with learning, developing our skills, improve and transform our lives. It is a way of constantly expanding ourselves through learning about ourselves.