What is mindset?
"Mindset' is a word people are hearing more and more as professionals across industries begin to shift their focus to internal goals and motivations. Grasping the concept of a good mindset can help you be successful in every facet of your life--but what really is a mindset anyway? Before you can begin achieving things with the right mindset, or even figure out what the right mindset is, you have to know what the definition.
In the simplest terms, a person's mindset defines their way of thinking. It's your frame of mind and it encompasses what you think, how you think, and how you react when things happen. For instance, people with a positive mindset are more likely to be happy, nice, and persevere when hard times come their way. On the other hand, someone with a negative mindset may feel like they deserve it when bad things happen to them or they might say things like, "It was only a matter of time before something went wrong."
As you can imagine, your mindset is extremely important to happiness and success. Your thoughts have a direct impact on how you feel and what you do, and therefore, your mindset affects what you believe you can accomplish and what you are willing to accomplish. Ultimately, your mindset affects every part of your life. It defines how you interpret and make sense of the world around you.
In other words, your mindset is a very big deal and, since it relates so closely to your attitude and beliefs, it's important for you to take the time to define those things as well. A good exercise is to sit down and list out some of your core thoughts and beliefs. Perhaps try responding to some basic situational prompts and write out how you would feel and react in different scenarios.
Alternatively, you can think back to a recent time you when were faced with a challenge of your own or perhaps someone else solved one of their problems. Think about how you felt, how you reacted, and how you think your mindset affect your actions and reactions. With this written out, you'll begin to have a better understanding of what your current mindset is. Once you define it, you might even find ways to improve it.
Exploring your current mindset will help you uncover limiting beliefs as well as thoughts and feelings that could be holding you back.
How to change from a fixed to a growth mindset
There are generally two types of mindsets a person can have: fixed or growth. The latter is considered to be the ideal mindset, and for good reason.
People with a fixed mindset believe that people are born with a certain level of talent or skill. That means a person with a fixed mindset doesn't believe in "practice makes perfect," in fact--to some extent--they don't believe in practice at all. Either you're good at something on the first try or you won't ever be. They believe that intelligence is a fixed trait and inborn talent will determine a person's success.
It doesn't take a lot of analysis to realize why a fixed mindset is detrimental to achievement and even happiness overall. Compare it to a growth mindset, where a person believes that talent is earned through effort. They believe that anyone can become good at anything and that their abilities can be improved and developed with dedication.
A common distinction is that people with a fixed mindset often seek to validate themselves. Meanwhile, individuals with a growth mindset usually focus on developing themselves further. That may seem like a simple distinction at first thought, but the implications of it are tremendous. Individuals who have a fixed mindset rarely are able to excel because of their limiting belief that they can never be better than a certain predetermined point. They don't invest time or effort into improving themselves because they believe they were born with all the skills they'll ever have.
That all means that people with a fixed mindset avoid new challenges--and that leads to a stagnant life. So, how do you change your mindset? You'll have to begin by recognizing your "fixed mindset" voice that talks to you in your head and gives you excuses and discouragement from trying new things. Then, you need to respond to that voice with a growth mindset voice.
You should also work to change your opinion on talent. For example, it’s worth listening to stories of people who struggled to achieve something to begin with but eventually sound success by sticking with it. This in itself proves the fixed mindset concept is incorrect and that you can get better at anything with the right strategy.
Why is mindset so important in meeting your goals?
Your mindset has immense power over your attitude, accomplishments, and life in general. If you have a negative mindset, it will be easy to feel as though nothing ever goes your way and it will be even easier to give up when things stand in your way of happiness.
A bad mindset can easily leave you feeling drained of hope, drained of energy, and completely drained of willpower--especially if you feel like you've been hit with one piece of bad news after another. However, if you find yourself in such a position, don't be so quick to give in. There is extensive study being done on the power of mindset, and the well-known placebo effect in itself is the perfect example of just how powerful your mind can be.
The placebo effect is a phenomena that occurs in scientific trials where one group of participants thinks they are being given a medication to treat an ailment they are suffering from, but in reality, it's nothing more than a sugar pill that has no real effect on their body. Still, the placebo effect has shown that--even if a person isn't being given any medication at all--the belief that they are being cured leads to actual measurable improvement in their condition.
This is the power of the mind at work and, if you take a moment to reflect on it, you'll quickly realize what this means for your goals and your mindset as a whole. Plenty of people make goals and dreams, but how often do they really believe they'll achieve them? The right mindset means believing in the goals you set and making a realistic plan to reach them. With the right mindset, you'll be able to see just how powerful your mind really is.
While it's natural to feel a bit of self-doubt, those with the right mindset will be able to set goals and continuously work towards them, standing up and trying again when things don't work out exactly as planned. If you commit to having the right mindset, you can reach your goals in no time.
3 techniques that can change your mindset
You may hear the terms “fixed mindset” and “growth mindset” thrown around a lot, but what’s the difference?
In general, people with a fixed mindset are quick to give up when they try something new. You may hear them make excuses for not doing things and they'll likely be humiliated when they do not achieve something on the first try.
If they are not "naturally" good at something, people with a fixed mindset are unlikely to pursue it further and are very likely to avoid it for the rest of their lives. People with a fixed mindset may say things like, "That's just not my thing." For instance, they might say, "I just can't dance," or "I can't follow a rhythm."
That’s why you should work to have a growth mindset, but how can you achieve it? Here are some techniques to try:
- Change your opinion. Look into the actual science behind mindset and talent. You’ll soon learn about plenty of people who struggled and had to work hard to get good at something, which automatically disproves the fixed mindset concept.
- Think growth. Listen for your “fixed” mindset voice in your head and respond to it with a “growth” mindset voice whenever you hear it trying to discourage you or make excuses for giving up.
- Choose something to work on. Perhaps the best way to change your mindset is to see the growth mindset work in front of your very own eyes. Pick something to learn, get a strategy planned out, and then get good at it. It will take time and effort, but you’ll soon find success.
Use these techniques and they will enable you to shift from a limiting fixed mindset to an opportunity-rich growth mindset in no time.