What is a mindset?
A mindset is a series of beliefs you hold consciously or subconsciously which determine your results.
A mindset is a default. Whatever you tend to believe, tends to come true. The more you focus on a specific belief, either positive or negative it will cause things to come into your life that are in alignment with that belief.
When you think a thought over and over again, you form a neural pathway in your brain. That becomes the go-to pathway when a similar situation shows up that is like that original one. The brain is being expedient. The thought shows up and the brain takes a short-cut to processing it. The challenge with that is that it doesn’t always serve us to our highest and best good. We all have dreams and goals and having a pre-set default limits us from achieving those thoughts and goals.
Example-“I’m not artistic”. So you aren’t. You probably won’t take a risk and even try.
There are 2 types of mind-set; Fixed Mindset and Growth Mindset. Find out which you have.
For each of the six statements below, decide whether it is true for you with a “Yes” or not, with a “No”. Keep track of your answers.
- People have a certain amount of intelligence, and there isn’t any way to change it.
- No matter who you are, there isn’t much you can do to change your basic abilities and personality.
- People either have a particular talent or they don’t. You can’t just acquire talent for things like music, writing, art, or athletics.
- People are capable of changing who they are.
- You can learn new things and improve your intelligence.
- Studying, working hard, and practicing new skills are all ways to develop new talents and abilities.
Survey Results – If you answered yes to statements 1-3 you tend to have a more Fixed Mindset. If you answered yes to statements 4-6 then you tend to have a Growth Mindset.
It’s not that one is better than the other, but a growth mindset gives you more freedom and flexibility, and possibility.
How are these mindsets manifested?
All through our lives, we are influenced by the people who are significant in our lives. Our parents, television personalities, religious leaders, and teachers-those in roles of responsibility whom we might look up to. We are taught right and wrong according to our family’s values and according to how our parents were raised.
You are What You’re Taught.
Children who are taught that they should look smart and be concerned about other’s opinions about them, tend to worry about being judged or not meeting expectations. These children tend to develop a fixed mindset.
As an adult, if you shy away from challenges because you fear embarrassment or humiliation in front of others, or if you have a fear of making mistakes – you likely have a Fixed Mindset.
Example: In the 8th grade my History Teacher, Mr. Lewis said to me, “Cheryl, you will never amount to anything is you don’t learn to spell.” As a young person, that statement helped solidify my Fixed Mindset. I believed that my spelling was something I could not change. (I also had undiagnosed dyslexia.)
On the other hand, children who are encouraged to explore, try new things, and take on challenges, tend to be risk-takers, see mistakes as learning opportunities and achieve more of their potential. They tend to fall into the Growth Mindset.
As an adult, you enjoy challenges, are willing to take risks, and value learning by doing, even if you fail – you likely have a Growth Mindset.
Example: I was raised by parents who encouraged us to travel, to explore, to look into things deeply. As a consequence, I’m not afraid to fail or try new things and I look at failure as an opportunity to do something a little different or change how I approached something.
More on Mindset
People with a Fixed Mindset tend to believe that they are born with set qualities and abilities, and these tend to be fixed and not change much over a lifetime.
People with a Growth Mindset tend to believe that they can develop and strengthen their abilities through commitment and hard work.
Mindset is developed in early childhood
Studies have shown that a child’s brain is 90% developed by age 5.
We’re born with all the neurons we are ever going to have. Those neurons are working between ages 0-5 to connect and observe the world, draw conclusions, recognize and make sense of the world. Those neurons create pathways that become the child’s default reasoning and what they operate out of in the future- until they learn something different.
If you are someone who tends to frequently need approval from others, you likely have a Fixed Mindset.
If you are someone who hungers for learning and enjoys trying new things you have a Growth Mindset.
Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, said “Your beliefs play a pivotal role in what you want and whether you achieve it.” She found that mindset plays a significant role in determining a person’s achievement and success. Powerful stuff!
In other words, if you believe you can do it, you can. If you believe you can succeed, you will. If you doubt you can achieve it, you most likely won’t.
First, you have to be able to recognize what you are saying to yourself-the tape running in your head. If you don’t pay attention to what you are saying to yourself, you will be wondering why you aren’t achieving what you are putting your mind to-but the mind isn’t trained for achieving-it is being put to not achieving rather than achieving.
The Benefits of Growth Mindset
It opens you to opportunities to reach your fullest potential. It plays a critical role in how you handle life’s challenges. If you get laid-off, have an accident, get an unexpected bill in the mail, with a growth mindset, you are better able to see the lesson or the potential of the challenge and overcome it more quickly.
My 21-year-old college senior is looking for connections for employment after graduation. Since he loves golf, he has taken to signing up with three-somes in order to network. This is really outside of his comfort zone, but with a mindset change, he has been able to embrace it and meet some very cool people.
Things That People Might Hold a Mind-Set About
Money, relationships, career.
What stories have you been told about money? Work hard, sacrifice your family, be greedy? If you’re wealthy, you must be greedy, those are all mindsets. But they aren’t necessarily true. They’re just assumptions, things we’ve told ourselves over and over. But they become a default mindset. And that’s where we run into trouble. That’s what keeps us from having what we want.
Are we destined to keep our limiting mindsets if they are established in childhood?
NO! In fact, studies show that you move in and out of both mindsets regularly based on your experiences. No one can be in a Growth Mindset all the time.
If you have a fixed mindset about something, try using my very popular, extremely easy technique of “Cancel, Cancel. That’s not the truth. The truth is_________
Cancel, cancel interrupts the cycle of thinking. The brain is interrupted and the message stops. Saying, “that’s not the truth” negates what we’ve been telling ourselves. The truth is, (insert your positive message) redirects the message to a new pathway.
Your thoughts can change your brain. Literally.
A Growth mindset can set you free. A Fixed mindset can hold you back. By adopting a flexible mindset we can achieve our dreams and goals more quickly.