You can either have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. The decision is yours, based on the thoughts you occupy and the impulses you choose to act on. Having a fixed mindset will take you on a very different journey to those who possess a growth mindset.
What is a fixed mindset?
A fixed mindset is one where we believe that some of our basic qualities, such as talent and intelligence, are fixed traits. As a result of this fixed mindset we spend our time documenting our talent or intelligence, rather than developing them (which, we believe, is impossible). We also believe that the natural talent we are born with is the sole reason for our success (or failure) – development of skill or effort are not significant factors.
What is a growth mindset?
When we have a growth mindset we believe that intelligence and talent can be developed over time. We value learning over just ‘using what we have’ and see persistent effort as the key to success. As a result of this mindset, we thrive in the face of a challenge and work hard t overcome any obstacles that stand in the way of us achieving our goals.
Fixed mindset vs Growth Mindset: Which is yours?
You probably know already, just from reading the above, which one is your predominant mindset right now. The question is: which one would you prefer? Obviously, if personal development and self-empowerment are your goals then you are going to want a growth mindset. In fact, you always want a growth mindset. To believe that success is determined completely by innate talent and that we can’t develop our intelligence is a very disempowering place to be. It is not an attitude that is conducive to the ambitious goals. It should come as no surprise that students who are identified as having growth mindsets do better in school.
7 Reasons You Must Have a Growth Mindset if You Want to Succeed
1) A growth mindset believes that success is a controllable variable
When we have a fixed mindset we believe the talent we were born with dictates our later success. This is a potentially harmful belief for many reasons, but mostly because it negates the value of effort. When we have a subconscious belief that there is ‘no point’ to effort and practice, we are less likely to do it. We are less likely to have the fortitude and mental toughness to spend hours grinding and honing our craft.
Cultivating a growth mindset, on the other hand, allows us to believe that success is controllable. That we control the level of success we enjoy, through the direction of our thoughts and actions, as well as the amount of effort we put forward to achieving what we want. When we an important variable is controllable like this, it puts us in the drivers’ seat. We get to choose what we do, and how we do it, and whether we succeed or not. That level of empowerment makes it much more likely we will be able to endure the grind and process that paves the road to success.
2) A growth mindset puts us in a place of responsibility
If we believe we have no control over our long-term success, we are essentially dismissing any personal responsibility for how things turn out. Unless we really are ‘made for great things’ – which we have no way of knowing in advance – this makes it less likely we will actually put any real effort into anything we are passionate about. In fact, it makes it unlikely we will be really passionate about anything at all.
When we have a growth mindset we put our life path into our own hands. The fact everything depends on what we do and how much effort we expend makes it crucial that we find out what we enjoy and what we are good at. Discovering our passion like this makes it much likely we will find some degree of success. It also makes it more likely we will meet like-minded people, which will fill out our social group and significantly contribute to our overall happiness.
3) A growth mindset holds us accountable for how we spend our time
One consequence of a fixed mindset is that it devalues time. This is a fatal error. Ask anybody who is advancing in years or has learnt the hard way – time is by far our most valuable resource. It is the resource that is the foundation of everything else; all of our hopes, dreams, thoughts and actions. We can never escape it and it is forever dwindling, escaping into the past where we can’t follow.
A growth mindset ensures we understand how priceless time is. As we are responsible and accountable for the condition of our own life, we must learn to use our time wisely or end up someplace we had no intention of going. This makes us more productive, more positive, more able to face the rising challenges of each day.
4) A growth mindset encourages us to participate, rather than observe
If we truly believe that we cannot develop our talents or intelligence level, we are likely to become an observer of life, rather than a participant. When we watching things passively like this, we feel as though everything is out of our control. As a result, our power to influence and mould situations to our liking is diminished, if not totally eliminated.
A growth mindset, on the other hand, makes participation in life’s events a necessity. Knowing nothing happens for us without us putting forth the effort ensures we put ourselves out there, take risks and meet challenges. It also ensures we keep a realistic yet optimistic perspective, with the knowledge that we can influence situations and events.
5) A growth mindset gives us hope
When we give away all of our personal power we automatically give up all hope. We become like a kite, being thrown this way and that by a wind we have absolutely no hope of controlling. A fixed mindset ensures that, no matter how far we drift away from our ideal, we stubbornly cling to the belief system that got us there. It becomes ‘just the way it is’, or ‘our plight’, rather than something we can change for the better.
The growth mindset has hope written in its DNA. With the belief that we can develop our skills and talents, whether we born with an innate gift or not, is a comforting thought for anyone. Believing that it is time and application, rather than a lottery, ensure we never have risen to give up hope, or the willingness to do the things that are necessary.
6) A growth mindset teaches us to value self-education and to develop persistence
Because our level of intelligence is frozen and cannot be developed with a fixed mindset, we have no reason to value education. Consequently, we may not notice the life lessons that are constantly thrown at us, instead doing the same things mindlessly in the hope of a better result. Because we see no need for self-education and no hope for self-development, we have no need of the quality of persistence, which is often the difference between extraordinary success and abject failure.
When we have a growth mindset we will always be learning. We will absorb the words of the people around us, the emotions and experiences we gather as we go forward. Because we value our development we will automatically learn the lessons that life brings forward, finding newer and better ways to do things through constant trial and error. As a result of this, we will learn quickly that the only difference between the person of success and the person of failure is that the person of success never gave up.
7) A growth mindset leaves no room for excuses
When we have a fixed mindset we can find excuses for anything. We aren’t in the job we want to be in because we didn’t have the talent. We don’t have the financial situation we would like because we weren’t born with the skills. Every twist and turn can be met with an excuse, which only hides the fact that we gave up control and settled for whatever we were given.
The man or woman with a growth mindset can never fool themselves with excuses. They know intimately that their ultimate victory or loss rests on their own shoulders, the achievement of their goals only in the effort they give to the task and the time they give to visualising their ideal. Excuses mean nothing to the person who controls their own destiny.