“If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change,” wrote Dr. Wayne Dyer. This is a great quote demonstrating the elasticity of mindset.
When I say mindset, I’m not talking about left-brained or right-brained thinkers. The concept of mindset exceeds these descriptions, yet also falls into two categories: the Fixed Mindset and the Growth Mindset.
In her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Carol Dweck, PhD, explains that it’s not necessarily our talents and abilities that bring us success, it’s whether we approach them with a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset says a person’s intelligence is static – predetermined and unchanging. A growth mindset believes intelligence can be developed – fluid and ever changing.
The following graphic illustrates these differences.
Dweck explains the results: fixed mindset people may plateau early and achieve less than their full potential, while growth mindset people keep reaching ever-higher levels of achievement. Therefore, fixed mindset people’s results confirm their deterministic view of the world, while growth mindset people’s results give them a greater sense of free will.
The outcomes offer a striking contrast. (Click here to listen to Carol Dweck’s inspiring TED Talk presentation titled “The Power of Believing that You Can Improve.”)
How do you adopt a more growth-centered mindset that leads to greater success? Here are a couple suggestions.
Recognize you have a choice. The way you interpret setbacks, challenges and criticism is your choice. You can interpret these experiences through a fixed mindset point of view, where you feel lacking and inadequate, or you can interpret them through a growth mindset, where you have the opportunity to stretch yourself and expand your abilities. It’s all up to you!
Learn from your setbacks and try again. Failure is an option. If you look at a setback as a learning tool, you can open your mind to what it has to teach you, instead of shutting down in the face of defeat.
For more ideas to help you improve your mindset and achieve greater success, check out 25 Ways to Develop a Growth Mindset.