According to a renowned Stanford University Professor, Carol Dweck PHD, in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”, there is the fixed mindset where we believe that we are born with all the talent, intelligence and personality characteristics you will ever possess. When you live in that mindset, you live with a lot of fear. Fear of failing. If you fail that ‘proves’ your characteristics you were born with aren’t that great. This mindset has an all or nothing mentality – will I succeed or fail? am I smart or dumb?
But if you have a growth mindset, the talents and intelligence you were born with is just what you start with. You believe you improve these talents through your efforts in every situation and experience in life. If they fail at anything, they are more inclined to find a different way of doing it next time or learn through further education or work with a mentor to assist them. They are comfortable to ask for help.
Several years ago, American Diana Nyad, aged 64, broke a world record swimming from Cuba to Florida without a shark cage. I mention her age, to begin with, because it is mind blowing to think of doing this swim at any age but to do it at 64 is truly an amazing feat.
Diana was interviewed after swimming for a little under 53 hours, avoiding debilitating jellyfish stings, sharks, and bitter cold temperatures at night, as well as sunburn. “We should never give up,” Diana said, “You are never too old to chase your dreams”.
Clearly, it was her mindset that pulled her through the physical hell she must have been experiencing for those hours in the salt water. Diana did not look at her age preventing her from accomplishing a life long dream.
This world record to swim over 100 miles from Cuba to Florida was Diana Nyad’s fifth attempt. Her first try was when she was 28 years old. Over 30 years later she accomplished her dream! A person with a fixed mindset would never believe enough in themselves to persevere. A fixed mindset would want immediate results. A growth mindset believes that by putting in the hard they will always expand their potential.
The great news is, if you are in a fixed mindset now, you have a choice. As Carol Dweck confirms, “mindsets are just beliefs. They are powerful beliefs but they’re something in your mind, and you can change your mind”.
So, what mindset do you have?
Do you believe that you can develop a new talent if you practice hard enough?
Have you found yourself challenged when learning new things?
“The problem human beings face is not that we aim too high and fail, but that we aim too low and succeed.” - Michelangelo
A Fixed mindset often is not just afraid that they might fail, but that their belief in themselves might prove right. The fact however is that whatever the result, it is simply a moment in time. Do it again, try doing it a different way, get help, even if the result is just 1% better – you have proved you are better than you thought you were!
“Improve by 1% a day, and in just 70 days, you’re twice as good.” – Alan Weiss
A growth mindset embraces challenges and obstacles to stretch themselves to learn and grow. A growth mindset thrives during very difficult times. They can pull themselves up and over the hurdles that life throws at them.
The beliefs we hold whether they are true or not still effect our behavior and our self-esteem. At the end of the day, our opinion of ourselves is the only one that matters. So ask yourself, what do you believe to be true about you? Does it make sense in your life today? If it doesn’t serve you today, “change your mind”.
If you need help with any of this, or have any comments about my blog, I would love to hear from you. firstname.lastname@example.org www.ki4life.com
Are you in the driving seat of your life, or simply a passenger? Do you let other people’s views be your guiding light? Stop and listen for a minute, you will be surprised by how much you do, or don’t do in your life that is not driven by you.
Without overdoing the driving metaphor, are you driving through your life with the handbrake on? The handbrake refers to resistance to change, to growth in your life. It can be, and often is what others tell or have told us we are. It can be self-doubt, lack of confidence, but these are usually sourced back to an event or events that were driven by someone else.
It is time to let go of the attachment to old beliefs, regrets, disappointments, and wounds. Repeating these old war stories of our life to anyone who will listen including ourselves only keep us stuck and stops us taking responsibility for moving forward. We need to stop worrying about what might go wrong if we consider doing something new, and stop worrying about what others will think of us.
In the movie “Bridge of Spies” with Tom Hanks, his character is a lawyer representing a spy. Tom’s character asks the spy “Do you ever worry?” to which he responded, “would it help?”. Worrying is futile. Our minds are creating the worst future outcome, one that has not happened yet and there’s no guarantee that it would be a bad future outcome anyway.
It’s important to analyze your thinking when making decisions that create newness. For example, “I’m not confident enough to try it” translates to not trying anything new until you feel confident. Did you feel confident when you got in the driving seat for the first time when learning to drive? Probably not but you did it anyway because you really wanted to drive. Confidence helps but it’s not everything we have in our toolbox to make a change.
Let go of what others think or say about you, and negative chatter you say about yourself as a result – filling your head with doubts, misrepresentations of what is possible. Put a stop to these negative thoughts renting space in your head.
“If you want to reach a state of bliss - make a decision to relinquish the need to control, the need to be approved and the need to judge” – Deepak Chopra
When you are ready to make a change, keep it simple. I suggest you make a line down the middle of a page. On the left side of the line, write all the advantages/benefits of this new decision in the short term and in the long term. On the right side, all the disadvantages/costs in the short and long term to the decision. When the list is all done, walk away from it for an hour or so and come back to it. Notice if anything feels different. Imagine yourself 6 months from now, imagining a year or even 5 years from now if you make this change, how will you feel, how will you look, how will this decision have changed you? Notice too, whether what you hear is your self-criticism, or what someone else has said about you, or told you.
This exercise will put you back in the driver’s seat of your life. Believe in yourself. You are the one that knows you best. What other people think of you is none of your business – don’t let others perception of you, become your reality.
You are so much more than anyone has ever told you are. Embrace your uniqueness, your greatness and be your own cheerleader!
If you need help with learning to let your own voice be the loudest and move your life to the next level in your everyday life or work – contact me and we can discuss a plan to get you to where you want to be:
www.ki4life.com or email@example.com