Want to be better? More successful and rich? Easy! Simply change your mindset. Success is all about this magical thing called mindset. But what the heck does this mindset actually mean? The smartass answer to this question would be: "the established set of attitudes held by someone". In normal English, it simply means that your mindset is your way of thinking, attitudes and opinions. So how can we change our mindsets to become more successful?
Dr. Carol Dweck described two types of mindsets. One of them will help you grow and the other dooms you to eternal failure (just kidding, it’s not actually eternal). The two types are: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. A person with the fixed mindset will think that they are the way they are and nothing can ever change. On the other hand, a person with the growth mindset knows that intelligence can be developed and brain – just like a muscle – can be trained. So let’s take a look at the growth vs. fixed mindset battle in these five categories:
Challenges Life is a series of challenges. Our two mindsets however go through challenges in very different ways. The fixed mindset tries to avoid challenges as much as possible. Why risk failing? With this way of thinking it’s better to stay inside the comfort zone, simply because it’s easier. The growth mindset embraces challenges. It thrives in environments where it can learn and improve, even if it means stepping outside of the comfort zone. For the growth mindset taking on the difficult task is a way of getting better.
Obstacles We might or might not accept a challenge but obstacles will come our way whether we like it or not. The fixed mindset is likely to give up in the face of obstacles. The growth mindset, however, will not be discouraged. Obstacles are once again seen as an opportunity to try harder and be better. Whatever the outcome is, the growth mindset will always see it as a success because even failing at something means learning and learning equals success.
Effort Doing anything in life requires at least a certain amount of effort on your part. For the growth mindset, effort is an unnecessary evil. What is the point of all the time and energy invested if the outcome might be failure in the end? If you think of it in this way, there is no surprise that making any effort will be avoided as much as possible. The growth mindset sees effort as a crucial part of mastering useful skills. Making an effort is the way we become better.
Criticism The fixed mindset hates all critics! Any type of criticism is automatically perceived as an attack and thus all negative feedback is rejected. The growth mindset knows that there is something to be learned from everything, even negative feedback. Viewing criticism as a source of information to help towards self-development is what will help you grow as a person. But there is a good and bad way to give criticism, so don’t forget to check out the psychology of criticism to find out more.
Success of Others Success of others is perceived as a threat by the fixed mindset. It is often rationalised as them having luck, rather than acknowledgement of effort. It also takes the responsibility away from the person with the fixed mindset. If others are successful because they are lucky, there is nothing I can do to become successful myself other than wait for my luck. The growth mindset sees success as something to be learned from, not to be feared and successful people as a source of inspiration.
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A bonus tip for today? The power of NOT YET. If you’re thinking about l learning a new skill make use of this trick. For example instead of I don’t know how to play the piano – consider saying I don’t know how to play the piano YET. This ‘Not Yet’ life hack is a real game changer. By saying not yet you’re giving yourself something to look forward to. You’re trusting yourself enough to know that one day you hard work will pay of and you will succeed.