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Growth or Fixed Mindsets?

Totem Mindset GrowthWhy does our mindset matter?  Let’s explore an experts research…

Carol Dweck’s research is world-renowned for its far-reaching importance and application in our work, personal life and our relationships.  Dweck’s research points to two types of mindset – and she found the mindset we have has a big impact on how we live, how we learn and how happy we can be.

Often our mindset is something that develops as we are growing up. We need to understand which mindset we lean towards and recognise the benefits of this mindset and the benefits of making a change.

To understand your current mindset and consider ways of thinking that can be more helpful, consider these questions:

Setting up a Business

Your good friend Jane is thinking of setting up her own business. She had a similar business a couple of years ago which she said she gave up on due to pressures at university, but a mutual acquaintance told you that she didn’t understand how businesses run.  Jane will come to you for advice on whether to pick it up again.  What are your initial thoughts?

A) She won’t succeed, she is not very business savvy

B) She should give it a go, she had to give up before as she had no choice

C) If she works really hard to understand her market, she is sure to succeed

Rock Star

You and your friend are at a music festival watching a band play. Your friend says to you  “I’d love to play guitar on stage, but I’d never be good enough… I’m all fingers and thumbs.”  What would you say?

A) Yes, you have to be really talented to make it in the music industry

B) Yes, its all about being in the right place at the right time, you have to be so lucky to get spotted

C) Yes you could, you just have to practise and find out how to get noticed

Totem Gummi Bears

If your answers are mainly A’s then you agreed with the Fixed Mindset statements.  These statements suggest that talent or ability are fixed and that is the main reason why the individual may not succeed; it cannot be improved upon.

If your responses are mainly B’s then you seem to think of things as being out of someone’s control.  That can be a different version of the Fixed Mindset – as it’s not about being smart, it’s about being lucky – and there’s not much we can do about that.

If your responses are mainly C’s then you agreed with the Growth Mindset statements. These statements suggest you believe that, even if you have limited talent, ability or skill, it is possible with hard work or practice that you can improve.

In general, people with a Growth Mindset enjoy success and failure, they are curious and learn every day and from every situation.  People with a Fixed Mindset work to stay within their comfort zone, look for opportunities to be praised and recognised within that comfort zone and for them failure can be extremely threatening.

Some tips for success regardless of your mindset:

  • Focus on your effort and persistence – stay positive
  • Build in some strategies / some approaches to learning in different ways, discover what works and what doesn’t for you
  • Look at how you like to learn and use this preference when needing to learn something new
  • Seek out challenges and things that push you a bit outside of your comfort zone – we don’t tend to learn big new things when we’re relaxed in our comfort zone
  • Recognise your talent/skill and see how you can improve on this

Most of us have aspects of both mindsets, but generally we tend to lean more towards one than the other-each of which has its implications.

Are you guaranteed a life of ease, wealth and success purely by having a Growth Mindset?  Of course not.  But you’re more likely to stay happy and healthy against life’s challenges with a Growth Mindset – and that can mean you spot more opportunities and find you can be more successful.