This question is one I got so excited about a number of months ago: Could your mindset be holding you back from success? I’d explored mindset from different angles, but never specifically like this. This approach was all about simplifying everything down into two easy-to-use categories of two different mindsets. One, that doesn’t serve us. Another, that serves us very powerfully–and that we can adopt and learn.
When we do, we experience greater peace, feel more at ease and less stressed, and are more likely to persevere, face challenges with good humor, learn what we need to learn, and keep going until we get there–that place we really want to be.
This post is both an break-down of that inquiry and the ‘what to do’ if your answer is ‘Yes, my mindset is holding me back from success’ I’m also including an edited version of a talk I gave on this topic recently at Rhodes Wellness College. We got right into it. And, it was so much fun.
Two teachers played a vital role in my exploration of all of this stuff: coach Robert Holden, especially his book Authentic Success, and researcher, presenter and social and developmental psychology expert Dr. Carol Dweck, especially her book Mindset.
I’m mostly going to talk about Carol Dweck’s work here–though Robert Holden’s was pivotal too. I recommend it.
Carol Dweck talks at length about leadership, success, why certain kids and adults experience it, and why others don’t. She gets into all industries and arenas: sports, entertainment, education, the corporate sector, even intimate relationships. She brings one lens to all of these arenas: mindset. She divides mindset into two categories: growth and fixed. And this one concept–are we adopting a growth or fixed mindset?–applies to success in all of these arenas.
When we’re adopting or stuck in a fixed mindset, we tend to:
– Give up more easily
– Have a hard time handling it when things aren’t going perfectly
– Prioritize achieving something versus getting good at something
When we’re in a growth mindset, we tend to:
– Keep going in the face of difficulties or challenges
– See the opportunity to develop their skills when things aren’t going perfectly
– Prioritize getting good at something versus achieving something
The major difference? People with a fixed mindset put “getting it right” first. They—like me in university–often believe ability is fixed, and that if they don’t get it right the first time, it must mean they won’t get it, and that they’re deficient in some way. If other people see them not getting it right the first time, they’ll be exposed as flawed in some way.
Talk about an anxiety-inducing way to live.
People with a growth mindset put learning first. They often believe that ability is not fixed, that if they don’t get it right the first time, the challenge will help them better develop their skills, and contrary to meaning they won’t get it, and that they’re deficient in some way, a challenge means they will learn something to help them develop their skills.
Talk about a much more fun, exciting and rewarding way to live!
Take a look at the above definitions–are you in a Fixed mindset? I sure was. And, it’s ok. The great thing is that we get to choose. Is this mindset serving me? If not, we can do the work to switch over to a growth mindset. I’m strengthening this in myself and seeing a remarkable difference in how I feel. It’s been super helpful during the different stages of my book, From Darkness to Light: from writing, to editing, to working with the designers, to now going into the ‘spreading the word’ stage.
I’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s available to serve you in this concept. If you want to learn more, and I highly recommend you do, check out Carol Dweck’s book Mindset.
This talk will give you a broader understanding, too.
With much love,