Could what we actually believe about ourselves impact our success or failure?
According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, our beliefs play a pivotal part in what we want and whether we achieve it.
Carol has found that it is our mindset that plays a significant part in determining achievement and success.
What is a mindset?
Mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how we make sense of the world and ourselves.
It influences how we think, feel, and behave in any given situation.
According to Carol, there are two basic mindsets:
Fixed and growth.
If you have a fixed mindset, you believe your abilities are a fixed characteristic and therefore can’t be changed.
You may also believe that your talent and intelligence alone leads to success, and effort is not required.
On the flipside.
If you have a growth mindset, you believe that your talents and intelligence can be developed over time through effort and persistence.
People with this mindset don’t necessarily believe that everyone can become Einstein or Mozart just because they try.
They do, however, believe that everyone can get smarter or more talented if they work at it.
Some fixed vs. growth mindset examples.
|Either I’m good at it or I’m not.|
|That’s just who I am, I can’t change it.|
|If you have to work hard, you don’t have ability.|
|If I don’t try, then I won’t fail.|
|That job position is totally out of my league.|
I can learn to do anything I want.
|I’m a constantly evolving work in progress.|
|The more you challenge yourself, the smarter you become.|
|I only fail when I stop trying.|
|That job position looks challenging, let me apply for it.|
So how is your mindset created in the first place?
Research reveals two primary sources: Praising and Labeling, both of which occur in early childhood.
In a landmark series of experiments, Carol and her colleagues found that kids behaved very differently depending on the type of praise they received.
They found that praise, or praising a child’s talents or Labeling them as “smart,” promotes a fixed mindset.
It sends a message to a child that they either have an ability or they don’t, and that there is nothing they can do to change that fact.
Process praise, on the other hand, emphasizes the effort a person puts into accomplishing a task.
It implies their success is due to the effort and strategy they used, both of which they can control and improve over time.
This is an example of how they’re different.
If your child gets a good grade on a math test, personal praise might be, “See, you are good at math, you got an A on your test.”
Process praise, on the other hand, might sound like this: “I’m impressed by how hard you studied for your math test, you read the material over several times, you asked your teacher to help you work out the difficult problems, then tested yourself on it, that really worked!”
Adults can take steps to ensure that children develop growth mindsets by praising efforts not results.
By focusing on the process rather than the outcome, adults can help kids understand that their efforts, hard work, and dedication can lead to change, learning, and growth, both now and into the future
The Impact of Mindset
Our mindset plays a critical role in how you cope with life’s challenges.
When a child has a growth mindset, they tend to have a hunger for learning and a desire to work hard and discover new things, this often translates into academic achievement.
As adults, these same people are more likely to persevere in the face of setbacks, instead of throwing in the towel, adults with a growth mindset view it as an opportunity to learn and grow.
On the other hand, those with fixed mindsets are more likely to give up when challenging circumstances arise.
In her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Carol writes that those with fixed mindsets are constantly seeking validation to prove their worth not just to others, but also to themselves.
“I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships, every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character, every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?” — CAROL DWECK
What Is My Mindset?
Do you have a fixed or growth mindset?
To find out, start by reading the following statements and decide which ones you agree with most:
- something that can be changed.
- No matter who you are, there isn’t much you can do to improve your basic abilities and personality.
- People are capable of changing who they are.
- You can learn new things and improve your intelligence.
- People either have particular talents, or they don’t. You can’t just acquire talent for things like music, writing, art, or athletics.
- Studying, working hard, and practicing new skills are all ways to develop new talents and abilities.You’re born with a certain amount of intelligence and it isn’t
If you tend to agree most with statements 1, 2, and 5, then you probably have a more fixed mindset, if you agree most with statements 3, and 4, 6, however, then you probably tend to have a growth mindset.
How to Unfix a Fixed Mindset
While people with a fixed mindset might not agree, Carol suggests that people are capable of changing their mindsets.
- Focus on the journey: An important factor when building a growth mindset is seeing the value in your journey, when you’re fixated on the end result, you miss out on all the things you could be learning along the way.
- Incorporate “yet”: If you’re struggling with a task, remind yourself that you just haven’t mastered it “yet”, integrating this word into your vocabulary signals that despite any struggles, you can overcome anything.
- Pay attention to your words and thoughts: Replace negative thoughts with more positive ones to build a growth mindset.
- Take on challenges: Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn, so instead of shying away from challenges, embrace them.