There is so much more talk about “mindset” these days than there was ten years ago. Or maybe it’s just because I’m a coach and trainer, and I live, breathe, eat, and sleep topics like mindset. I’m immersed in a course right now with Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi, and the entire first module is “Mastering Your Mindset.” It’s all about priming our minds to have the right thoughts and beliefs about ourselves so that we can achieve our goals and not get de-railed by those pesky little voices inside ourselves (or from others) that tell us we can’t accomplish the dreams on our hearts.
This book is related to all that because it has everything to do with the words we choose for ourselves to define (and learn from) our experiences. It also has so much great information on how we should be showing up as parents, teachers, managers, leaders, and partners. We can speak life, growth, and change into our lives and the lives of others. Or we can speak dead-ends, failure, and limitations into the world and over our loved ones or team members.
I grew up in a very achievement-based mindset and environment. It was all about getting the grades, making the team, and being the girl who was well-behaved, cute, and eager to please. Dr. Dweck addresses this very thing in the chapter “The Truth About Ability and Achievement”. As a result, I can see now that I was conditioned towards what Dweck calls the “fixed mindset”. This leads to girls becoming women who learn to trust other people’s estimates of them. Over the years, as I have studied about mindset, I have learned the skills necessary to have a growth mindset instead.
And friend, I can tell you this. I think everyone should read this book and jump into any of Dr. Dweck’s training and workshops when you can. Instead of being hard on yourself and thinking with limits on your abilities, a whole new way of thinking will open up for you. With a growth mindset, you will more readily embrace challenges, not see events as “failures’, and you will be more apt to try new things without being tied to the outcome. Your relationships will feel more accepting and based on change and evolving together instead of expectations and judgment.
WHAT IS A GROWTH MINDSET VS A FIXED MINDSET?
To quote the author “research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value.”
In a fixed mindset, we believe that our value, our abilities, our talents, and our intelligence is limited. In this mode of thinking or being brought up in this environment, we look at everything as success/fail, smart/dumb, accepted/rejected, winner/loser. There really is no middle ground. And there’s no room for thinking that there’s value just to trying something to see how it will turn out. In addition, this kind of thinking means that there’s no acknowledgement that improvement can occur. You’re either intelligent . . . or you’re not. You’re either good at tennis . . . or you’re not. Because of this, there’s a constant need to prove oneself. But worse than that, there’s really no point at trying things you think you’ll fail at or practicing something so that you’ll get better.
The growth mindset, however, is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things that you can continue to cultivate by applying yourself through continued effort. This means that although we may have all been born with different innate aptitudes or have come from different backgrounds and experiences, we all have the ability to improve our talents and competencies. . . and also our position in life. It doesn’t mean we’re all capable of being rocket scientists. But it does mean that there’s really no way for us to know what we can accomplish if we commit ourselves with passion to hard work, training, and always being open to new challenges.
WHY CHANGING YOUR MINDSET WILL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
Having a fixed mindset will hold you back in so many areas. The basic idea is that you have to continually compete, you’ll constantly be judged and evaluated, and that the only way to feel “successful” is to continually be proving your worth to yourself and others. Exhausting, right? What’s even worse is that with a fixed mindset, you won’t even believe you have the capacity or ability to go beyond your current skills and satisfaction with life. That means that you’ll believe it’s not even worth trying or expending effort to get better at a skill. If you currently can’t do something and believe (or have been told) that you won’t be any good at it, then chances are you won’t even try. Or you’ll give up very easily when it takes work to get better.
However, having a growth mindset means that you’ll believe you can improve. You’ll know that if you apply yourself, you’ll get better at it. It also gives you the right thinking that will keep you going when something doesn’t come easily or others have their fixed mindset limiting beliefs to throw at you. With a growth mindset, you’re more likely to have satisfying relationships, be a better leader, parent more effectively, and enjoy a higher level of success, satisfaction, and abundance in life.
YOU CAN LEARN TO HAVE A GROWTH MINDSET
Take heart. Even if you were raised in a fixed mindset environment (and chances are you were because it’s pretty prevalent in schools and past parenting practices), you can definitely change your thinking. As I said in the intro, I’m pretty sure I had a lot of fixed mindset baggage running around in my head from years of being conditioned in that direction. It takes some practice, and great books like Mindset are a good place to start. Furthermore, a really good mindset coach can help you speed up the process, integrate the thinking into practice, and show you how to go even deeper.
The really good thing about all this is that no matter your background or age, you can change the way you think starting now. It takes a little practice and some support, but you can kick all those limiting beliefs and thoughts of failure out of your head and into the garbage can where they belong. Every action originates in thought. Think about it. And harnessing the thoughts running around in your mind and having power and control over what they say is key to gaining more joy and satisfaction in all that you do.
HAVING A GROWTH MINDSET WILL AFFECT ALL AREAS OF YOUR LIFE
Inside Mindset, you will see chapters on everything from sports to parenting to marriage. Learning to have the right attitudes and thoughts around your life will help in every arena.
If you want to get better at a competitive sport or to understand how a growth mindset affects sports psychology, there’s a chapter for that. And if you want to get better at hiring team members and managers, then knowing how to identify people with not only talent but also the right mindset is critical. Mindset even affects the outcome and the satisfaction of our closest, intimate relationships because we can shift the paradigm and the conversations around growing together and having more understanding. Less judgment of ourselves and others makes for happy couples.
Dr. Dweck is especially interested in how having the right growth vocabulary and tools affects how we parent and educate our children. It has become her life’s work to put together programs, workshops, and training tools to help change the dialogue with our kids as parents and educators. Make sure to read the chapter “Parents, Teachers, and Coaches: Where Do Mindsets Come From?”. So much has been developed by Mindset Works®️ this book was written that I would encourage anyone who is a parent, teacher, or coach to head over to their website to learn more. You might also find Dr. Dweck’s famous TED Talk, The Power of Yet, very helpful.
WHERE YOU CAN GROW FROM HERE
Changing from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset is not easy at first because it requires more effort than staying where you are. But it’s worth it. And it gets better once you get started because you’ll start to see the benefits. The relationship you’ll have with yourself will be a kinder, gentler one where you won’t be beating yourself up all the time for not measuring up. As you move into a growth mindset, you’ll be able to exercise routines, habits, and patterns that will set you up for more success in whatever you’re trying to achieve, whether that’s losing weigh or growing your biz. And when things don’t go as planned, with a growth mindset, you’ll be able to give yourself more grace and get back on track quicker.
Your relationships will go from a “judged-and-be-judged” framework to a “learn-and-help-learn” framework.
You might start with these few questions to ask yourself every day so that you stay in the right frame of mind:
- Where can I learn and grow today?
- What actions can I take to get better at something that really matters to me?
- Are there any limiting beliefs running around in my head today that I need to turn upside down and make them into liberating truths?
- How can I show up for someone else (my team, my students, my spouse, my kids) in a way that reassures them that I believe in their abilities and I see how they are making steady improvement?
- How can I do the same for myself?
If you’re interested in taking it further, join our Smart Better Life Community where you’ll be the first to hear announcements on trainings and workshops on mindset, confidence, and much more.