Updated: Jan 24
Our mindset is probably the most powerful influence we have on ourselves. It was Henry Ford who so eloquently said
"Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t you’re right."
This is so true! The beliefs we hold about our capabilities and who we are, develops out of our own mindset.
This mindset could be preventing our growth and us fulfilling our potential. Our mindset influences our thought process, which influences how we therefore act and eventually what we do. This is also reversed in that our actions, experiences and behavior also influence our mindset. Ultimately, a mindset refers to whether we believe qualities such as intelligence and talent are fixed or changeable traits and how this impacts our success or failure.
Carol Dweck, a psychologist from Stanford University, has led much of the research on the power of mindset, and distinguished two mindsets we adopt, a growth or a fixed. When we have a fixed mindset, we believe our intelligence is static and our qualities are set in stone. This creates a need to prove ourselves continuously, avoid failure or seeking out new challenges that could compromise how we are seen. In comparison, when we have a growth mindset, we believe our intelligence can be developed and learn new skills to continuously further improve. The basis of a growth mindset is the belief that our capabilities can improve through our efforts and hard work, creating a greater receptiveness to challenges presented. It’s not viewed as success and failure, good or bad, but rather an opportunity to learn and to get better.
Our potential is unknown but if we take the time to practice, train, review our process then who knows where we could be and what happens along the way. Our mindset plays a vital role in how we manage and cope with the challenges that present themselves throughout our lives. When faced with these challenges or setbacks it has been found that when we adopt a growth mindset it can contribute towards greater achievements, increased effort to overcome any setbacks and us demonstrating greater resilience to persevere. There is an emphasis on the journey, the process, instead of becoming fixated on only the outcome. Looking at who you are now versus who you are to become, living up to your possible potential.
So, how do we promote a growth mindset for ourselves, and change habits that hinder us fulfilling our potential? Well firstly, let’s think about how do we talk to ourselves? The little voice inside our head that’s creating our story, what is the story that’s being created? As I shared above, how we view something influences our thought process and therefore our actions and vice versa. Start paying attention to your thoughts, what are you telling yourself? Is a fixed mindset at play that’s stopping you from continuing or even taking the first step?
Now we have raised awareness to what we are telling ourselves we can make a choice about how we decide to interpret it. We don’t have to keep our current thoughts. We can decide to grow by interpreting these setbacks and challenges as an indicator to stretch ourselves, review what’s not been working, to learn how we can develop better strategies and expand our skills. Start to reframe the situation that looks at possibilities rather than blockers. Once we get here…. TAKE ACTION. We have to change our actions, not just our thoughts, to see and feel the difference.
The last thing that Dweck suggested in helping promote the right mindset is by adding the simple word, yet. Instead of just saying ‘I can’t do it’ by adding yet to the end, “I can’t do it, yet’ has been shown to move people towards a growth mindset of learning over time. We might not be where we want to today, but we can start seeing how we are going to get there in the future.
Obviously, this is easier said than done, otherwise we’d never find ourselves having a fixed mindset at any given time. We have to consciously work hard to build this and be prepared to be honest with ourselves, as well as at times be courageous. It’s like why we go to the gym, we want to build strength in our muscles but the only way to do that is be disciplined to go to the gym in the first place and consistently exercise that muscle to see the benefits. Our mind is no different we have to be disciplined and consistent at developing it, to strengthen that muscle and feel the benefits. Things like taking the time to self-reflect, journal, recording not only what we are doing but how it felt for us and getting feedback can all help towards this.
What could you do to help you adopt more of a growth mindset?
As always, please feel free to reach out with any questions or if you would like further 1:1 support.