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

Passion is contagious…in a good way

Of course, I couldn’t let today pass without giving a nod to Valentine’s Day!  And if there’s one thing more attractive than a good heart, it’s an active and engaged brain.

Our brain needs new connections, literally, to keep functioning.  It also needs to keep connecting to the world and learning new stuff to keep growing and thriving.  And having a positive curiosity about the world and people, also helps to keep us young.

Getting curious and being open to new experiences can bring about all sorts of opportunities we might not even have considered.  Have you ever put off doing something, such as trying a new food, because you didn’t think you’d like it, but it turns out that actually, you do (hello olives!!).  Or have you avoided speaking to certain people who you didn’t hit it off with initially, only to later find out we actually have a lot in common.

Our tastes and likes change over time, so if we’re stuck in thinking about what (or who) we liked years ago, we could be blocking out all sorts of magical things.

Be open, stay curious.  Life might just surprise you!

 

 

Photo credit:   Kashawn Hernandez via Unsplash.com

From little acorns…

From little acorns….

So, how’s January going? Whether you started the year with big intentions or are still easing yourself in gently, it’s all good.

An hour is made up of minutes. A week is made up of days. A year is made up of months.

Everything starts out in one place, and then develops into something else. Nothing gets from here to there in a second (ok, maybe a MotoGP bike!).

All of the separate elements come together to make something bigger, but each element also stands on its own merit.

A simple acorn is a beautiful thing in its own right…cute as a button, with it’s own little hat. Even if it did nothing but exist in this state, we could still appreciate it. But knowing what we know about the majestic oak that it’s destined to be, all proud and mighty, just adds to the wonder of it.

Every dream, goal, or little acorn, holds the key ingredient to turn one little thing into something even more wonderful…potential.

Photo credit: Eriks Abzinovs @pixworthmedia via Unsplash.com