Your thoughts - good or bad - have the power to set the course for your life. It can help to think of your mindset as the thermostat that can shift the environment of your thoughts for or against you.
Dr. Carol Dweck’s research cuts a path through the jungle of information about the power of your thought life. Her 1988 research-driven revelations show the impact your mindset can have on your behavior, personal performance, learning, goal-setting, overall quality of life, and more.
The Tale of Two Mindsets
To summarize, Dr. Dweck confirmed that you operate in one of two distinct mindsets:
- A fixed mindset
- A growth mindset
Each mindset has a significant impact on how you approach personal growth and longevity, learning, career, parenting/grandparenting, goals, finances, etc.
The “Fixed Mindset”
In this mindset everything is “static” - it’s fixed, unchangeable.
- You accept what only “appearances” deliver
- You avoid challenges
- You give up easily when facing obstacles
- You see effort as fruitless, unproductive, or worse
- You ignore useful, negative feedback
- You feel threatened by other’s success
The result: you risk plateauing early in life or at whatever you’re pursuing and achieve less than your full potential.
The “Growth Mindset”
This mindset affirms that anything can be developed or improved.
- You have a desire to learn, pursue growth, develop your potential, etc.
- You embrace rather than resist challenges
- You persist in the face of setbacks and show resilience
- You see effort as the path to mastery and invest the time necessary to achieve it
- You learn from criticism and use it to your advantage
- You find inspiration from other’s success
The result: you have the potential to reach higher levels of personal achievement and with it a bigger sense of free will.
How to Transform Your Mindset from Fixed to Growth
Expand your perspective
Life is a gift. Every day gives you a fresh start.
You have today…and no guarantee of tomorrow. Morbid…perhaps…but true!
Dwelling in the land of “what-ifs” leads to doubt, anxiety, and a ton of other “fixed mindset” issues.
Lift your eyes to the horizon and welcome every new thought, motive, goal, and idea.
Don't be "blinded" by circumstances or age!
- See what can-be…not merely what-is. Be a creator!
- See the potential in people and problems. Be creative!
- See how things work and fix what’s broken. Be curious!
Engage the challenges you’re facing right now
No doubt, trouble finds you even when you’re not looking for it. And when it does…get eye-to-eye with it instead of resenting it.
Challenges tend to shrink when you take them on. They’re like the boy who said to the mountain, “You’re as big as you’re gonna get…but I’m getting bigger every day!”
- Develop resilience. What doesn’t “kill” you…makes you stronger! (Clichéd, I realize, but still useful.)
- Develop your resources. What you have is enough!
- Develop resistance. What you experience increases your capacity for more!
Refuse to give up without-a-fight
Nothing can overtake you without your permission. It makes sense that the majority of what is allowed to shape your thoughts will inevitably define your reality.
A friend of mine when reflecting on his rowdy past would recall saying to troublemakers, “You might beat (me) but you’ll remember me in the morning…!”
Bring the “fight” rather than run from it!
- Punch through growth-barriers. Be disciplined.
- Practice defensive maneuvers. Be wise.
- Preview the outcome before you take action. Be informed.
Choose to take action
Nothing you choose to accomplish begins until…you do! An action-bias is better than a results-bias.
Perfect aim isn’t the ultimate reward. Taking action is what produces achievement.
- Act now. What's the next step?
- Act anyway. What's failure teaching you?
- Act out. What's making you self-conscious?
Apply these mindset basics. And remember: your thoughts set the course for your life.