Growth Mindset

Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way… — Carol S. Dweck

The voice that leads your inner dialogue serves as the compass in how you live your life. The mindset in which you see the world around you holds the keys to personal transformation. You either see it as fixed or you see it as an opportunity to evolve, to thrive in uncertainty.

A “fixed mindset” assumes that our personality, our character, our intelligence, our creative output are static things we are unable to change in any kind of meaningful way.

Its essential belief is that we are to play the hand we are dealt while at the same time trying to convince the outside world that we have a better hand than what we’re actually holding.

Put simply, we pretend to be someone we aren’t for the approval of those around us. Therefore, we shy away from any sort of risk where failure might be the result. We shield ourselves from fear, shame, judgement, vulnerability, honesty.

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset — creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics. — Carol S. Dweck

While on the other hand a “growth mindset” thrives on the very challenges we face each and every day. It’s seeing that the failures we experience are the very things that propel us forward, morphing into a better version of ourselves because of the lessons both lived and learned.

A growth mindset doesn’t necessarily believe that anyone can become anything. I cannot become an Einstein regardless of the amount of effort I put into studying physics.

The belief of the growth mindset is that everyone’s potential is unknown.

The terrifying reality is that these mindsets are learned at a very young age influencing who we are and who we become, until the day we notice.

For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. — Carol S. Dweck

Accepting the hand your dealt, through a fixed mindset.

In my previous life, I had a fixed mindset. Generally speaking, I thought I was the way I am and that was final. There was no changing it.

I conformed to the outside world, closing off my inner world, without even knowing it. I needed validation and approval, especially in the professional setting. I continually felt the need to prove myself.

Success also looked different. It was about chasing the next promotion to climb the corporate ladder. I was in pursuit of bigger paychecks and having business cards display fancy titles.

Looking in the mirror, I didn’t necessarily like who I was, or who I was becoming. I was short tempered, stubborn with my thinking and needed things done my way.

I was on a mission to control the things that were evident as being out of my control. I let the trivial things be devoured by the bad wolf. But that didn’t matter, because I was who I was and I couldn’t change it.

It was almost as if I accepted it to be that way. I suppressed the things I was beginning to find unattractive about myself. Traits that, quite frankly, were becoming unhealthy for both my personal health and the health of the environment I had created for myself; family, work, friends.

Failure is a platform for reinvention and discovery.

In the middle of a dark season, I was realizing that happiness wasn’t at the end of the fixed mindset tunnel. As much as I thought I was who I was, I needed to do something about it.

Without any expectation of change I decided to start over, slowly. I read books, meditated, reflected, wrote. I asked questions about purpose and meaning trying to rediscover who I was and who I was meant to be.

With the sheer commitment, devotion and intentional action I had for self discovery, a lightness was taking over. The shell of the fixed mindset I found myself in my entire life was beginning to crack, light of growth was beginning to shine through.

Realizing that the lightness taking over my body, the way I felt, was indeed change, or, the process of change. From that very moment I vowed to myself to always travel a path of intentional self growth.

This is the growth mindset journey. A sense of freedom.

Success was beginning to take new shape. It was no longer about external carrots, but rather success being the very pursuit in working my hardest to become my best self.

Ultimately, feeling the way I want to feel and living my truth.

I am forever grateful for that dark time, a time of immense personal failure that I put on my shoulders. It challenged me. Not so much to try and resurrect the failure to be a success, but a challenge in using it as a tipping point for personal change.

It’s remarkable to think that how we see the world, either through a fixed or growth mindset, can greatly impact the life we lead. I look at that period of my life as a dividing point for my previous fixed life and currently my new life of self growth.

The change that takes place internally transcends into the outer world. Giving the world what we are meant to give; our true authentic selves.

What’s so profound, outside of the idea that I can change is that I am now equipped to whether the storm that I know is on it’s way. It’s just a matter of when.

Not that it will be any easier, because it won’t, but knowing that those are the exact moments where growth resides. To leverage the pain and propel forward in becoming a better version of myself.

A simple shift in mindset will forever change your life. Tweet this

Take care of yourself first to give your best self to others. Learn to travel a life of intentional self growth.

Photo Credit: Lotus Carroll

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About Eric Ungs

Eric Ungs writes about a journey of intentional self growth, nudging you to let go; to give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with yourself so you can give your best self to others. Author of 10 Incredible Ways to Live a Fulfilling and Joyful Life ebook.

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