By now, you probably feel like we are trying to change you so much that you might not even recognize yourself. The idea of mindset will be the last topic regarding change but it will be something that can be built on for months to come. We can change what we drink, what we eat, what blush we use, and even what shoes we wear. Those are all pretty easy in the big realm of things and it simply takes some level of physical self-control. [Putting that piece of pie down right now.]
But, when it comes to changing the internal workings of your body like your mind, your feelings, or your attitude, it’s much harder to do on a daily basis. We are creatures of habit and when our mental habit is comfortable, we resort to that because we are tired, hangry, and sleep deprived. Why make things harder when it could be easier?
No one said personal development was easy and no one said that it’s always fun. It’s challenging, time-consuming, it’ll probably make you cry, and it’ll make you wonder how awful of a person you were, to begin with, that you needed to make so many changes. No one said you’re an awful person. Personal development is about changing to be the best version of yourself so that you can live the happiest, most fulfilling life possible.
Let’s leave you with some quick examples of mindset and we will continue to get into this topic more in depth in the following months.
What is Mindset?
Mindset is the beliefs you hold about yourself and your most basic qualities. These include but are not limited to your own: intelligence, talents, and personality (Dweck, 2006).
What is Fixed Mindset?
You can guess the word “fixed” that believing in a fixed mindset is thinking that what you’re born with is what you have. You can’t change your talents. You can’t learn new things past a certain threshold. The attitude of “it is, what it is” and that there’s no hope of changing or growing the beliefs you hold about yourself.
The Bad News About Fixed Mindset
The bad news about having a fixed mindset is that you end up limiting yourself or making excuses about everything. Whether it’s something simple like “I’m too tired” or “I can’t do that because I have to do this first, but I can’t because of that other thing.” Or, you end up trying to prove yourself over and over rather than trying to grow in a better way. If someone says that you’re the best cupcake baker, then every time you bake cupcakes, you try to live up to that rather than trying to learn to bake pies.
There are situations you can’t get out of and things that just have no solution, but people in those actual situations have a fighting spirit. Ever notice how cancer patients with a terminal prognosis whine much less than their healthy counterparts? Or how single moms rarely complain about things that moms with help do and yet, they have to do everything and depend on only themselves?
So, is there a better mindset?
Yes, it’s called Growth Mindset. Carol Dweck, the pioneer in mindset research states that growth mindset is the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. This simply means that your basic qualities like initial talent, intelligence, interests, and temperaments can be changed and grown through what you do to change them.
The Good News about Mindset!
The great news is that you can change your mindset! It is not against the law and literally, no one is stopping you from doing it. And, it can be about anything. If you want to change your attitude towards your body and become body confident, then it’s really up to you. Going around trying to body shame yourself to get compliments won’t get you anywhere. If you want to change how much you know about astrophysics, no one is stopping you from going to the library to check out a book or Google search on your phone. If you currently suck at playing the violin, if you decide you want to be the best violinist by 2020, you just have to set your mind to that goal and practice until your fingertips bleed (kidding but not really, fingers do bleed sometimes when practicing string instruments).
None of those examples are easy, but changing the mind isn’t an easy thing. Dweck (2006) states that when you are met with a challenge and keep forging through it, that’s when you stretch yourself and your mind. When you stick your passion even when things get rough, you are experiencing growth mindset and this is when you end up thriving.
Sometimes, society puts limits on you and you end up accepting them. Then, you see athletes with no legs who do triathlons. Dogs on the Sarah McLachlan show who have been abused to no end who make complete turnarounds and are able to love the very same species who have inflicted so much pain onto them. The mind is a powerful, powerful thing that should never be underestimated. We must learn how to cultivate a growth mindset in order to live the most inspired life possible.
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: the new psychology of success. New York: Random House.
You can pick up the amazing book by Dr. Dweck by clicking on the photo below!