Your Mindset. Fixed or Growth?

(Read in:02.5)“Effort is one of those things that gives meaning to life. Effort means you care about something, that something is important to you and you are willing to work for it.”~Carol Dweck

When it comes to our mindset, let me go on record here and say Yoda was wrong, the bum. Well, at least one of his most famous memes, “Do or not do, there is no try.” Rubbish! Piffle! That sort of talk is at the heart of a fixed mindset. It’s the belief that suggests we have only a certain set level of intelligence or creativity, period. There’s no moving the marker. Hogwash.

If you believe your attributes have been dealt out as randomly as a hand of poker, you tend to develop a “you get what you get” mindset.  Your strategy is to make the other players believe yours is better than theirs. It sets up a sort of urgency to play the hand out before anyone can call your bluff. (And at least one of the chips is probably on your shoulder.) Looking dumb is a badge of shame.

If you believe your abilities are carved in stone you have a  fixed mindset and an urgency to prove yourself over and over. You always want the other fellow to think you got the trophy and you never want anyone to know it’s actually smaller than the next guy’s.

“Certainty is a cruel mindset. It hardens our minds against possibility.”~ Ellen Langer

So what’s a growth mindset?

A growth mindset is the belief that we can improve our results by applying more tries, more effort, different approaches and new ways to think. So, are these growth mindset folks graduates of Pollyanna school who think they can be anything they want to be? Nope. But they do believe our true potential is often found after many years of hard work, trials, relentless effort, and practice.

Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote that it takes 10,000 hours of effort to achieve mastery in any endeavor. The Beatles are one of the examples he used in his best-selling book Outliers. Ever heard of them? Neither had anyone else when they were slugging it out on the road for months and playing 5 or more hours a night for some 1,200 gigs in Hamburg, Germany. They perfected their signature sound in those crummy clubs and then one night, Brian Epstein noticed.

“If plan A doesn’t work, the alphabet has 25 more letters – 204 if you’re in Japan.” ~ Claire Cook

Mindset has found its way to the mainstream

Carol Dweck wrote Mindset: The New Psychology of Success almost 10 years ago. Book years are like dog years only longer, so this one is pretty old. However, it is being embraced by school systems today as teachers seek to encourage and praise effort and resilience more than “smarts” alone.

You might enjoy Dweck’s TED talk which describes the power of believing we can improve. I encourage you to allow yourself to believe in your infinite possibilities. Holding on to that belief will help you enormously in any pursuit that honors the things you value most in life.

Only 33 days til Spring! I believe in you. See you Monday!


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