“Mindset is a person’s way of thinking” – Cambridge Dictionary
“Mindset is a set of attitudes or fixed ideas that somebody has and that are often difficult to change” – Oxford Dictionary
Would you believe that your mindset has a strong impact on your life?
Mindset is the way we see the world around us and the way we define our own self-image. It’s also our attitude towards learning and towards life in general.
According to Carol Dweck, psychologist and professor at Stanford, your beliefs have a strong impact on whether you will achieve whatever you want in life and she discovered that mindset plays a big role in everyone’s life. Carol studies human motivation, researches why people succeed and what we can do to foster success, in any area of life. As she describes: “My research looks at the origins of these mindsets, their role in motivation and self-regulation, and their impact on achievement and interpersonal processes.”
Carol discovered that there are two kinds of mindsets: fixed and growth mindset.
- People with a fixed mindset believe that talent and abilities are innate and they can’t do anything to change them. They think that talent creates success – without having to put in any effort. When faced with a challenge, their brain shows blank activity: they don’t even try to face the challenge as they think they don’t have the capabilities. They run from the challenge and don’t engage with it.
- People with a growth mindset believe that talent is only a starting point and that the results are up to them. They are convinced that they can learn anything and they can acquire new abilities if they put some work into it. In front of a challenge, their brain is at work as they are trying to solve the problem and move forward. Their brain is on fire and they engage deeply.
Our mindset is formed, in large part, by the messages we receive throughout our life and that very often are reinforced in many ways by society. Parents who are telling their kids that they are not smart enough or not good enough to play an instrument for example, create a fixed mindset early on in life developing strong limitations within the belief system.
Our experiences in school play a big role too. Children who are told that they should look smart, instead of loving learning, through the time they become concerned by others’ judgments and are afraid to not live up to expectations. They tend to develop a fixed mindset.
Kids who are thought to discover, explore, try new experiences and enjoy challenges, learn to try, to make mistakes and errors with the aim of doing their best.
This does not mean that everyone can become anything they want just because they try. It involves opening the doors to new possibilities of learning and knowing that efforts and practice can bring your abilities to new levels.
- Which things did I learn in the past years, even if it took a long time to learn? Think of both visible things like sport or playing an instrument, and invisible ones like active listening or learning to say no.
- What mistake did I make that taught me something?
- How can I foster a learning culture at work with my colleagues or in my team?
Do you want to read more about Mindset? Read the next article: Mindset, and the power of ‘Yet‘