Can we benefit from having a neutral mindset?

So far in this month of March Mindset Matters, we’ve looked at the most commonly known traits of the fixed or growth mindset.  Maybe you have recognised where you tend to naturally sit within these.   But are there any other alternatives? And can we benefit from having a neutral mindset?

When it comes to our personal growth, we know that our mindset can have a huge effect on how we approach life.   And we know that having a growth mindset, and actively seeking out new experiences can help us to keep learning.

We’ve also seen how having a fixed mindset can be detrimental to our personal development, and how it can hold us back.  But if we are ‘go go go’ all the time in a growth mindset phase, we may be missing out on the most important bit.  And that is ‘learning’.

I would suggest that sometimes it can be helpful to slip into neutral and do nothing.  To wait and see. Or at least assimilate what we have learned.  Can we really benefit from having a neutral mindset?

In order for us to grow and develop, we need to try new things, or take on new experiences or challenges.  Sometimes we’ll be successful and sometimes we won’t, but either way the experience will have taught us some key things.  What went well, what didn’t go so well, what would I repeat next time, what would I do differently next time.   And in order to assimilate and understand, we need a period of rest and reflection, so that learning can then ‘bed in’.

Likewise, if we are full steam ahead on a particular goal or target, we need to pause along the way and check in with our progress.  This helps us recognise how far we’ve come (along with ‘what’s working/what isn’t’) but also to check that where we are heading is still in the right direction.

We need to assess whether what we are doing is going to get us to where we want to be.  Or maybe where we want to be has changed.

A motivational quote about personal growth

How can a neutral mindset help me?

A journey of personal growth might just open up new goals that we hadn’t previously thought possible.  And as we prove to ourselves what we are capable of, and we develop new skills, we build the confidence to think bigger.

Time for self reflection is crucial to allowing this process to happen.  And of course, we need rest to recharge our batteries.

But what if I feel guilty for taking a rest

The idea of rest is a tricky one for some people. If you’re used to being on the go, slowing down or coming to a halt, can feel as though you’re missing out. Or worse, being lazy. But this is far from it.

Our bodies, and especially our minds, need rest to make sense of what’s going on and to regenerate, so if you’re finding it difficult to allow yourself permission, try reframing it as a period of review or reflection instead, to consolidate your learning!

So if you’re on a journey of growth and you’re feeling a little jaded or foggy about where you’re going next, try slipping into neutral for a while.

For more discussion on monthly themes of personal growth, follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/startalittlefire  or check out my podcast, Sunday Night Motivation.

 

Photo credit:   Alok Sharma on Unsplash

The Perils of a Fixed Mindset

So, I started off in last week’s post looking at different forms of mindset, and how the most common that we hear about are the ‘growth’ or ‘fixed’ mindsets.  These terms would seem to suggest that we are either one or the other, and don’t take into account how we change and develop through our experiences. But why does it even matter?

Because the way we approach things is hugely affected by our mindset, and therefore our life experiences will be affected by our mindset. And if we have a fixed mindset, we will tend to think in two ways:

  1. We think of ourselves as having traits or the type of personality that is rigid – this is just how I am. This is me. I’m just unlucky, lazy, I can’t do this/that/the other.
  2. And conversely, we think that other people who are successful/happy or whatever, are just born that way. They are lucky, things seem to land in their lap. We can fail to recognise the work, study, effort that they’ve put in, to get to where they are.

Being closed off in this way can actually contribute to keeping us stuck. If I feel that I’m not a lucky person or good things don’t happen to me, then it can stop me from being open to new experiences, or putting myself out of my comfort zone. And if more rubbish things keep happening, then that is just reinforcing my beliefs.

Even taking the smallest steps to challenge our thoughts when we hear ourselves having these fixed ideas, can help us to grow. Change is possible. But it needs action kicking it up the backside first.

Next week, I’ll be looking at some tips on how we can start to develop a growth mindset, and get things moving.

 

 

Photo credit:  https://unsplash.com/@cristina_gottardi

 

Is it all in the mindset?

When it comes to personal growth, our mindset is probably one of the most important tools that we have.  It affects the way we think, how we feel and therefore, how we act.   And we hear about mindset a lot these days.

You may have heard terms such as ‘fixed mindset’ or ‘growth mindset’, as these are now commonly used phrases to describe different ways of thinking (for more on these, read the brilliant book ‘Mindset’ by Dr Carol Dweck, where these terms were first discussed).

And the effect of mindset is also used to describe success or failure in specific areas of our lives, such as with the terms “scarcity mindset”, or “abundant mindset”.

Although these would seem to suggest that there are polar opposite modes of mindset, it doesn’t mean that we are one or the other.   We may have particular personality traits that lead us to be more prone to a fixed mindset, but there are other factors that affect this, such as our past experiences.   If we have had a number of setbacks, or if we feel unsupported or criticised when we get things wrong, then we will tend to have a lower level of confidence, which in turn affects how we think about new challenges.

But the good news is that we can learn skills and techniques that can help us have a more positive mindset, and which can lead to us being more likely to seek out new opportunities to learn and grow, and get out of our comfort zone.

My concern however is that a lot of the messages we hear right now are suggesting that this is a simple and instantaneous fix – we are surrounded by posts that say, “think positive” or “you can do anything you put your mind to”.

How often have you heard phrases like this and felt ‘ugh’.  If you’re in a place where you are feeling flat or uninspired, the thought of thinking positively can leave you frustrated. Or it may even make you feel worse, if you can’t seem to shift your mindset in that moment.

Undoubtedly, the way in which we approach any situation in our lives is affected by our mindset towards it.  If we go into a situation almost expecting it to be disappointing or that we may fail, then it becomes more difficult for us to be successful.   If we go into the same situation with a more open and relaxed mindset, we may not be any more likely to succeed, but we have less attachment to the outcome and can be more willing to learn from the experience, then we are more likely to give it another go the next time. And this is where we learn skills like resilience and strength – it isn’t about hitting the target first time, its about the journey we take to get there, and where that propels us on to next.

Over the next few weeks, I will be taking a deeper look into mindset – what does a fixed mindset look like and how does it affect our successes, how can we build a growth mindset, and also are there any other options around mindset – do we have to be going for growth all the time?

 

Photo by Júnior Ferreira on Unsplash