Are you familiar with fixed mindset versus growth mindset? These concepts were coined roughly 30 years ago by American Psychologist Dr. Carol Dweck and is defined as “having an underlying belief that your learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience” (Growth Mindset), and “your belief is that basic abilities, intelligence, are fixed traits” (Fixed Mindset). This post will not be a “research paper,” but I wanted to use her definition as a foundation since her terms were the first to come to mind when I thought about writing on growth as it relates to our mindset this week. At the risk of categorizing people, I often notice a fixed mindset in the older generation (please note, I am not referring to everyone who falls in this generation). For example, I have a family member who’s well in his 60s and he feels that society is moving way too fast. He recently told me that he believes we should not have the internet at this point in our lives, and that we should be back in the era of using our house phones to communicate with each other. He is a perfect example of having a fixed mindset in my opinion. Despite how he (or anyone who falls in this category) feels, the world changes and we should change with it, even if we ourselves can only take baby steps towards that progress.
The focus this month is Growth and I didn’t see the benefit in discussing how we can grow as a person without talking about our mindset. This is my unprofessional opinion but our growth starts there, in our mind. When we know it’s time to evolve and grow, it’s usually because of something that we “hear” in the back of our heads, and in some cases we even start to think differently and we make more mature choices when we make the decision to grow. I think for some, growth can be scary because it falls in line with the unknown. Meaning, how do you know what you’re “growing into?” Especially if you feel safe in the cocoon that you’ve already built and have grown so accustomed to. But growth is progress, and I think we miss out on who we are meant to become when we choose to stay the same. Similarly, when we choose to grow, I think it should be all encompassing and that’s where I think the growth mindset comes into play.
This may not be much of an example but I hope you get the gist of how this relates to adopting a growth mindset. I recently connected with a friend from middle school on social media, he told me that he was interested in being with a woman who was spiritual, positive, has something going on in her life, etc. He is the complete opposite of this. So I decided to play devils advocate and ask what he would bring to the table (not financially) if he met a woman like that and he couldn’t answer the question. My purpose was to determine his mindset and his energy. I could be wrong but if you’re interested in attracting a person that’s on that level, I think you have to be on their level, above their level, or working actively towards that level. People who are growing, want someone to grow with them and I think it starts with our mindset.
WHAT DO YOU WANT OUT OF LIFE? If you’re struggling to develop a growth mindset, start my asking yourself this question while keeping in mind that what you want may require some growth on your part. Yesterday someone I follow on instagram posted a reel that was in reference to what people aren’t willing to do when they start a business. It went something like this. I want to start a business but I’m not willing to work hard, invest in myself, interact with people, etc. The point is, you can’t want something out of life but you’re not willing to put the work in to get there.
HOW DO YOU APPROACH CHALLENGES? Do you let your frustration take over and handle it? (which we know is never the best option). Or do you take a mature approach regardless of how upsetting or inconvenient the matter may be? This approach is not alway easy, I’m sure we all struggle with this. I know I do and I’m working on getting better. Meditation helps me a lot, so when I’m in any challenging situations (especially those that frustrate me), I am able to hone in on my frustration and work on it internally while simultaneously addressing the issue (overtly) in a mature manner. Sometimes this takes a lot of deep breathing during the process.
HOW DO YOU RESIST THE FIGHT AGAINST YOUR OWN PERSONAL CHANGE? And by this I mean how do you tackle the fear of growth? Again, this all starts with your mindset and going back to the first question on what it is you want out of life. Your want and need for growth must weigh your fear and I think we have to feel the fear, leap, and do it anyway. This is especially important if your current life situation is no longer working, and if you know you want something different out of life. No real change occurs when we stay stagnant.
I think answering these three questions will help you move in the direction of developing a growth mindset. I certainly fall short sometimes, I am a creature of habit and while I may kick and scream trying to get there lol I am receptive and I adapt to change. My fear is likely similar to most people, it’s the fear of the unknown that makes me hesitate when it comes to making the choice to grow, but in some cases the alternative is probably a lot better than what we’re currently going through. I have to say it again, because I couldn’t agree with it more. No real change occurs when we choose to stay stagnant. A growth mindset is not an overnight feat, and you will likely fall off the bandwagon several times (even when you get it right) but that’s a part of life, we are human not perfect.
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