In the April edition of Your Monthly Motivator, we ask the question: Do you have a fixed or a growth mindset?
In her book, “Mindset – the New Psychology of Success,” Carol S. Dweck, PhD, notes that those with a fixed mindset believe intelligence and ability are static. People are the way they are, and really can’t change all that much. Those with this mindset still want to feel smart and talented, but the fixed mindset leads to a tendency to avoid challenges, give up easily, see effort as a waste of time, and to feel threatened by the success of others. Fixed-mindset people focus on judging themselves and others. They are always looking for validation, and because of their fear of being perceived as a failure, they have a hard time achieving their full potential.
On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe intelligence and ability can be developed. As a result, they have a desire to learn and to stretch themselves. Unlike those with a fixed mindset, they don’t think effort is a bad thing that proves you aren’t “naturally” smart or talented; they think effort is a way to fully develop their potential. They have a tendency to embrace challenges, to persist when they face obstacles, to see effort as a way to grow and master skills, and to be inspired by the success of others. Growth-mindset people focus on learning and helping others learn. As a result, they are more likely to achieve success and fulfill their potential.
Give some thought to whether you tend to operate more from a fixed mindset or a growth mindset in the primary areas of your life. While some people tend to be of one mindset or another, some exhibit a fixed mindset in some areas of their life and a growth mindset in others. For instance, they may think their intelligence is fixed and therefore exhibit very little growth in their careers or in financial matters. On the other hand, they may have more of a growth mindset when it comes to physical activities, like sports, and therefore put in the effort (and see the results) in that area of their life.
No matter what your age or circumstances, it is possible to transform your life and make the switch from a fixed to a growth mindset. A little honest self-reflection will tell you which mindset you’re operating from now, and with awareness and effort, you can change your mindset.
For more information on changing from a fixed to a growth mindset, for you and your loved ones, check out the April 2012 edition of our self-improvement newsletter, Your Monthly Motivator.