Let’s talk mind-sets…

What is your mind-set?  Are you in a fixed or growth mind-set?

What IS a mind-set?

A mind-set is the process of interpreting what is happening to and around us.

It is the way we filter our experiences, expectations and perceptions of who we are, how we are treated and perceived and whether or not we are successful.

Our mind-set hugely impacts on the standards we set for ourselves and the meaning we give to relationships, experiences (both good and bad), and how we set and set about achieving our personal, health and work goals.

Our mind-sets shape our lives, going so far as to influence our belief systems about our own abilities and therefore fuel our behaviour. They can even predict our success at achieving a goal.

‘Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right’

 – Henry Ford

What’s the difference?

Well, Carol Dweck found through extensive study that people are either in a fixed or a growth mind-set.

The difference between the two is astounding and has huge implications on the quality of our relationship with ourselves and our ability to learn, grow and develop.

Fixed mind-sets

Fixed mind-sets are about assessing things in black or white terms – good vs bad, win vs lose, and success vs failure. If you are a good, win and succeed person, then you see yourself as worthy and approved of, and if you don’t, then there is judgement, blame and a knock to your self-esteem.

Fixed mind-sets are constantly looking for approval and praise, and often find themselves in a continuous cycle of trying to prove to themselves and others that they are good enough. They therefore tend to keep well within their safety or comfort zone and feel incredibly uncomfortable if they meet a new challenge, they are unsure of how they will perform in.

Failing for fixed mind-sets is failure.  End of.  No return.

Growth mind-sets

Growth mind-sets, on the other hand do not have that detrimental internal dialogue within themselves about success and failure.  Instead of focussing on the end result and the label that is attached to winning or succeeding, those in a growth mind-set focus on enjoying the process, acknowledging that the effort they put into an experience or the learning process is of more value than the end result.

They see failure not as a barrier or as an end, like a fixed mind-set, but as an invaluable feedback tool that they can learn, stretch and grow from and that life is about development on a continuous basis rather than needing to always be right.

Growth mind-sets allow you to hold your own power and to make decisions based on who you would like to become and what you would actually like to achieve, rather than the rigid, limiting and dis-empowering fixed mind-set which has a preconceived notion of what is and isn’t possible and negative consequences for underachieving these goals.

Fixed mind-setters can become consumed with the idea of proving themselves, which can stunt thinking, emotional freedom, the development of healthy self-esteem and confidence, and take away the joy of being present and enjoying the moment and the overall experience.

Growth mind-setters believe that we always have the power to learn, grow and change and that mistakes and failures are just that, mistakes. They don’t make you less than, they don’t prove you are unworthy, they are just part of the process of life and learning and becoming the best version of yourself.

So, how can you shift your mind-set from fixed to growth?

If you’d like to adopt a growth mind-set, you need to:

  • Focus on what you can control; your beliefs, your values, your actions, your responses, and your perceptions.
  • Start acknowledging your weaknesses and become okay with them, we all have them! No one is perfect and trying to be perfect or to prove to yourself or others that you are is both exhausting and fruitless and will only lead to you feeling badly about yourself.
  • See challenges as opportunities; make them fun.
  • Prioritise learning, effort and action over seeking approval.
  • Stop worrying about how others will judge you and stop judging yourself! Once you stop judging yourself, you will also stop worrying about how others are judging you.
  • Reward yourself for the effort that you put in and the learning and growth that you have experienced rather than the end result.
  • Learn to see failure as mistakes and opportunities to learn. We all make mistakes and it is better to learn from them than to scold ourselves for them.
  • Try new things and try new methods – change and growth only come from stepping outside of your comfort zone.
  • Give yourself time and the gift of patience – your thought patterns have been entrenched for years, so it will take time and effort to practice having a growth mind-set.

So, growth mind-set…. the practice of enjoying the process and believing that anything is possible!