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