“I’m just not cut out to be a leader”, “I’m not qualified enough for this job”, “Challenges are destined to make me fail” – Does these sentences sound like something you have ever thought about?
Our mind is like a child, naive and unassuming. For your mind, any thought you have is the gospel, the ultimate truth. Your mind believes that you know everything about yourself, what you can and can’t do, what situations are favorable or unfavorable for you, which games you’re destined to win, and which games are made for you to lose. However, these statements that you consider facts are belief systems that have been developed by yourself so, how certain can you be that this is the penultimate “truth”?
These statements are proof of a limiting mindset and limiting beliefs - armored with this, you will never be able to achieve success and even if you do, you won’t be truly satisfied with the success. Our thoughts have an immeasurable amount of control over our reality. Stanford University Psychologist, Carol Dweck in her book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ says that all of us are constantly dominated by either of the two mindsets - fixed mindset or growth mindset. These two extremely powerful mindsets are what decides the extent of our success to a great degree.
Figuring out which mindset you have is quite simple. With a fixed mindset, you believe that we are all born with certain skills and there is nothing we can do to fix it… there are things we can do and things we can’t do and that’s predetermined. Those who have a fixed mindset often steer clear of challenges, give up easily when faced with an obstacle, take feedback personally and are often threatened by new situations. These people are more likely to stay within their comfort zones and hence, not broaden their horizons to see new opportunities in other fields.
Those with a growth mindset, on the other hand, do not believe in the concept of pre-determined skills. They know that skills are built and are constantly improved and developed through practice. With a growth mindset, people persist and strive even in the face of hardships, invite and encourage feedback and criticism as well as gain inspiration from people around them. For these people, life is a journey of learning and growing and they understand that failure is truly a steppingstone to success. A growth mindset, however, does not deny that some people do have a natural ‘knack’ for and capability for some things… it acknowledges that we all can improve in almost all areas of our life with consistent practice.
Fret not if you have a fixed mindset, you can always transition to a growth mindset. Here are 7 ways to help speed up your transition into a growth mindset.
Change challenges into opportunities: This is easier said than done but it’s also the sure-fire way to achieve a growth mindset. If you find yourself being afraid of a challenge in front of you, change your perspective and think of it as an opportunity. While a challenge seems difficult, an opportunity rewires your brain into looking at the situation as a new, exciting adventure. This can also eventually lead to you discovering abilities and skills you never knew you had, hence increasing your self-confidence.
Be conscious of your words and thoughts: All the words you speak and thoughts you think have a vibration. If your thoughts and words are negative and low in vibration, then so will be your reality. Replace judgement with acceptance, hatred with love, and negative feelings with more optimistic ones. Censor your thoughts and automatically, you will see a new, more positive reality unfold in front of you.
Be “you”nique: Accept yourself just the way you are. Do not expect yourself to be perfect and embrace all your “flaws” as they are what makes you a unique individual. Hiding from your weaknesses will cause you to be constantly afraid of them and hence, you will never be able to overcome them. Our imperfections are what makes us different so accept and adore the imperfections in yourself as well as others.
Growth over speed: With a growth mindset, it is not the end results or time taken to achieve the end results that matter - it is the process and the growth you see within yourself during the process that matters. Become fully engaged and fully focused on the process, no matter how long you feel it is taking. You will eventually find that focusing on the process also helped you drastically speed it up due to your own efforts and hard work.
Incorporate “yet” into your vocabulary: “Yet” ... an immensely powerful word that not many use in their daily vocabulary in the positive sense. Learn how to use “yet” in your daily conversations and thoughts and see the magic work for itself. When you face an obstacle, remind yourself that you haven’t overcome it “yet” and so on for other situations. Over time, you will be able to overcome all obstacles with the power of effort and perseverance.
Learn to be in the here and now: Focusing too much on the past or the future can oftentimes lead to dissatisfaction and unhappiness. Focus on the present - the ‘here’ and the ‘now’. Practicing mindfulness is the easiest way to help yourself stay connected to the present. Meditation, yoga or even some light stretching are fantastic ways to engage your body and mind, allowing you to focus on the present moment.
Find your happiness: Sit with yourself for a while, take some time to reflect, look back and find out what your purpose is or what makes you genuinely happy. This helps you not compare your success with someone else’s and find the path that is right for you. The point over here is not to dwell in the past or to beat yourself up about your mistakes; it’s to learn from the any mishaps that may have happened and understand from it what you didn’t earlier.
The truth about your mindset is that most people are somewhere in between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. A growth mindset doesn’t necessarily guarantee success, but it helps you achieve more success than you did with a fixed mindset. At the end of the day, always remember, “It’s not how good you are, it’s how good you want to be.”