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That’s Just The Way I Am – Fixed VS Growth Mindset

Carol Dweck, success, attitudes, perceptions, victims, learned helplessness
Carol Dweck, success, attitudes, perceptions, victims, learned helplessness
“That’s Just The Way I Am!” – Fixed VS Growth Mindset

In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, the way your mindset determines your success, and how to change your mindset.

First a quick update:

The Breakup Test
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You Can Do It! You Have The Psychological Capital Within You!
Are you struggling to deal with the extreme changes? Are you doubting yourself? Watch the video to learn how to tap into the 4 resources you already possess – Psychological Capital.

Now, let’s talk about the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, the way your mindset determines your success, and how to change your mindset.

Who do you know who says, “That’s just the way I am; that’s the way I’ve always been; I can’t change”?

Does this person (perhaps you) believe, “Either you’ve got it or you don’t; you are or you aren’t”?

These are examples of a fixed mindset – the belief that personality, intelligence, skills, and abilities are fixed traits from birth, and they cannot be changed.

This is in stark contrast to the growth mindset – the belief that everything can be improved upon: personality, intelligence, skills, and abilities; you are not a victim, you are the master of your outcomes.

The concept of two mindsets comes from Psychologist Carol Dweck whose decades of work researching attitude and performance reveals that your attitude (your beliefs and the way you perceive yourself & the world around you) is a better predictor of your success than your IQ.

The Fixed Mindset – Limited – Fatalism
‘These are the cards I have been dealt and I am helpless to do anything about it.’
People with a fixed mindset believe that intelligence is static. This leads to a desire to look smart and therefore a tendency to:

* Avoid challenges – ‘I might fail and look stupid; I don’t have what it takes to win or succeed’
* Give up easily when faced with obstacles – ‘This is the ability I have, and I can’t do better to overcome the obstacles; I am a failure because I am helpless.
* View effort as fruitless or a display of stupidity – ‘If I am smart, then I shouldn’t need to try or put forth effort; I must show them I am smart – I must hide how dumb I really am; I might get found out as a fraud/failure/impostor; I deserve to win based on my natural talents and I don’t need to do anything more.’
* Ignore useful negative feedback – ‘I am my mistakes, I am my failures, I am innately bad; they are attacking me personally.’
* Feel threatened by the success of others – ‘I can’t compete because they are naturally more talented & smarter than me. I could never be like them. I am envious of their success because I cannot do it or achieve their success; their success just shows what a failure and how limited I am. I resent successful people.’

Result: People with a fixed mindset plateau early and achieve less than their full potential. This confirms a deterministic view of the world.

The Growth Mindset – Unlimited – Free Will
‘These are the cards I have been dealt and I am able to improve upon what I have.’
People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be developed. This leads to a desire to learn with a tendency to:

* Embrace challenges – ‘I welcome change. I embrace new things and welcome unchartered territories; I believe in my abilities due to my actions and efforts, and no matter what happens I will be okay, and I will enjoy the process. I hope for the best and I strategize to succeed.’
* Persist in the face of setbacks – ‘I am resilient, I can bounce back; I learn from my mistakes; I am not the mistake; I will work harder and put forth more effort to overcome these obstacles and setbacks; I learn from my mistakes, mistakes are part of the process of learning and the path to success; failures are temporary setbacks.’
* View effort as a path to mastery – ‘I am confident that I can learn and grow. I see endless opportunities for growth, and I have the drive to fulfill my ambitions. I realize that I cannot grow, learn and master the skills unless I put forth the effort and hard work.’
* Learn from criticism – ‘Feedback enhances my abilities by helping me to learn; the criticism is not about me but about my current abilities and helps me to improve.’
* Find lessons and inspiration in the success of others – ‘Successful people inspire me because they show me that it is possible, and I can learn from them, and what I need to do is apply myself, have grit and keep learning.’

Result: People with a growth mindset reach ever higher levels of achievement. This gives them a greater sense of free will.

Notice if you have one mindset about intelligence and yet another about personality, character, creativity or skills.

“The value of a college education is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think.”
– Albert Einstein, 1921

20 Keys To Developing a Growth Mindset
To develop a growth mindset, you need to be willing to:

1. Engage energy, effort, focus, disciplined practice, commitment, perseverance, good strategies, and ask and receive help & support
2. Become a student for life; love learning and be curious. Remember all children are naturally curious, open to learning and embrace a challenge. It is childhood programming by parents and others that either shuts down curiosity or engages learned helplessness and the belief, “I am stuck, and I will never be better.”
3. Embrace grit – perseverance and passion for long-term goals
4. Remember that the brain is plastic – it learns and grows and evolves based on your thoughts, emotions and actions i.e. you can change your beliefs and create new neural pathways
5. Correct the deficiencies and mistakes – be willing to struggle to learn, grow, succeed and overcome
6. Beware of ego – ‘I know everything.’ Instead, remind yourself that ‘I might not be good at it now, but I can learn and improve.’
7. Adopt the practice of using the word ‘yet’ – ‘I am not there yet; I don’t know yet.’ This serves to push your brain to seek an answer and solution rather than shutting down with “I don’t know.”
8. Accept that not everyone has equal ability or talent; wherever you are right now, you can grow, evolve, and improve; you can get there; even if you think that you might be too dumb right now, remember you can learn and succeed. While not everyone can be an Einstein, everyone can grow and develop
9. Affirm that although failure is painful, it does not define you! Everyone has problems and failures, and you can face them and conquer them; no one is perfect.
10. Be vigilant – it is easy to fool yourself into thinking and believing that you are a victim, and that you are helpless and you cannot change or improve
11. Love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy the effort and process, and keep on learning. This strategy builds and repairs your confidence.
12. Step out of your comfort zone, engage in deliberate practice to enhance your skills and abilities.
13. Remind yourself that life rewards taking risks and being innovative
14. Change your beliefs; change your mind, grow your brain
15. Look for and reward growth, effort, strategy and process instead of getting discouraged.
16. Identify the blocks to your growth mindset; perhaps it is your inner voice or critic. Resolve the childhood programming – seek professional help to change those subconscious beliefs.
17. Recognize you have a choice to change your thoughts, beliefs, and perceptions. If you are still unsure about the possibility that you can change your life by changing your mindset, then consider this question, ‘Don’t you hope that I’m right and that it is possible?’
18. Praise yourself for the process (effort, strategy, focus, discipline, improvement) which, in turn, creates resiliency and perseverance.
19. Beware of the false growth mindset. Perhaps you believe ‘A growth mindset is great and everyone should have it, and I do.’ Now take note if you are still choosing to blame other people and things outside of you.
20. Take full responsibility for your behavior and results (extreme ownership.) Shift your belief to an internal locus of control: ‘I have control over the situations and experiences that affect my life; I choose to focus on what I can control – myself – my thoughts, beliefs, emotions, and actions.’

If you would like help to change your thoughts and beliefs, to be set free from the past, to overcome pain or trauma, or to improve your relationships, book a one-on-one session with me.

You can add to the conversation below.

I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”

Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist

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