Most of us are so busy ‘doing’ life that we don’t stop to reflect on what mindset we’re using. Of course, we’re painfully aware if things aren’t going our way – we immediately feel our emotions of anger, frustration, sadness, despair…but we tend to focus on the feelings and justify them through things that have happened to us, without considering if there’s another way.
Our mindset is actually a choice. Sounds harsh when you’re not feeling your best, doesn’t it? But any situation in life can be viewed from either a fixed or a growth mindset. Carol Dweck conducted extensive research and defined these terms.
The fixed mindset is the one most of us tend to use daily, without being aware we’re doing it. A fixed mindset assumes that our character, intelligence and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way. When operating from this mindset, we tend to avoid challenges, give up easily, see effort as fruitless, ignore useful but negative feedback and feel threatened by the success of others.
By contrast, the growth mindset assumes that skills and intelligence can be improved with time, effort and persistence. This leads the person to embrace challenges, persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as the path to mastery, learn from criticism and find lessons and inspiration in the success of others.
In reality, no-one is completely one or the other mindset; we switch between them all the time. However, most of us do so unconsciously, and will have formed habits from an early age whereby we revert to a fixed mindset upon certain triggers.
Reading information is great, but it is through action that we gain the most benefit. Pay attention to which mindset you’re using at different points during the day. What were the triggers for you to adopt that mindset? Where are you applying a fixed mindset? What could you do to start using a growth mindset?
Be honest with yourself and start to notice the patterns in your thinking.
Awareness is the key to transformation. Through becoming aware of our tendencies, we can start to reflect and look for opportunities to shift our mindset to growth. Through doing so, we unleash an infinite range of possibilities and start to feel life is working for us and with us, rather than life being done to us.
Jane Newport is a certified life coach based in Cannock, Staffordshire. She specialises in taking people from overwhelm to calm using a holistic approach. She loves being outdoors and extols the virtues of nature for a healthy mind, body and soul. Find out more at www.janenewport.com
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