A ‘mindset’ is a belief that illustrates how we approach a task or challenge. Psychologists often speak about a ‘fixed’ mindset and a ‘growth’ mindset to differentiate two concepts.
People with a fixed mindset believe talents and abilities are fixed. You’re either good at something, or you’re not. In contrast, those with a growth mindset believe they can develop skills and abilities and constantly change and improve.
Challenging your fixed mindset takes courage and tenacity. Here’s how you can demolish your fixed patterns and approach challenges in a new way.
Change the script
Your fixed mindset has a distinct voice that tells you how to approach a challenge – usually by berating you that you don’t have the required skills until you decide it’s not even worth trying. If you do try, and fail, your “voice” will tell that of course that was going to happen. When you recognise this voice, challenge what it says. Ask if it’s really speaking the truth. Consider these ways of flipping the script:
Fixed mindset: “I’m going to fail and I’ll be a failure.”
Growth mindset: “I may not succeed, but I’ll learn something. Most successful people have failures along the way.”
Fixed mindset: “If I don’t try, then I won’t be disappointed.”
Growth mindset: “If I don’t try, then I’ve automatically failed. Might as well try and see what happens.”
Fixed mindset: “If I had the talent to do this, everything would work out. It hasn’t, so clearly I’m not supposed to be here.”
Growth mindset: “Just because I enjoy something doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy. I like a challenge. It helps me to learn and push forward.”
Fall in love with failure
Think back to previous failures in your life, or challenges you’ve attempted but didn’t overcome. Look for an outcome that was in some way good. Did you learn something about yourself? Did you meet someone who helped you improve your skills?
As humans, we learn so much more from our failures than our successes. Challenge yourself as often as you can and learn to actively seek out and embrace those challenges.
Stop being obsessed with being seen a certain way
People with a fixed mindset believe they are a certain way – smart, or athletic, or fun. Anything that challenges their perception of themselves leaves them feeling irritated or competitive. Learn to let go of the feeling that it matters what other people think of you. It doesn’t matter if someone else is “smarter” this one time, as long as you’re being the authentic you.
Changing your mindset can feel overwhelming, but it all begins with awareness of your thoughts and a willingness to challenge yourself. Are you ready to change to a growth mindset?