What Is a Mindset?
Ever wonder why some people are open to change and can easily
transition from one thing to the next? And why do others have strong beliefs
and are unwilling to embrace the new? It all comes down to their
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow; learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
Some individuals have a growth mindset that allows them to spot
opportunities and venture into the unknown. Others have a fixed mindset
which leads to a desire to look smart and, therefore, a tendency to ignore
constructive criticism and avoid challenges. Both mindsets have their
perks and drawbacks. They drive our underlying beliefs and assumptions
as well as our perspective on life.
Understanding Your Mindset
Your mindset shapes your core beliefs and everyday actions. Think of it as
your philosophy of life. From a psychological perspective, it encompasses
the cognitive processes that respond to a given task. Whether
you realize it or not, your actions are driven by self-talk about what is
happening to you, what it means, and what you can do about it.
Over the past decades, researchers have developed a variety of mindset
theories. According to Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol
Dweck, individuals can have a fixed or growth mindset based on their
reaction to failure.
People with a growth mindset, for instance, are driven by a desire to
learn and develop their skills. They embrace challenges, learn from
criticism, and persist despite setbacks.
By comparison, those with a fixed mindset believe their qualities are
inborn and unchangeable. They might fear looking inadequate to others and
don’t take criticism too well. They also feel threatened by the success of
others and give up easily.
Other experts have proposed additional mindsets, such as the global
mindset, the benefit mindset, the abundance/scarcity mindset, and
the productive/defensive mindset. CEOs and leaders, for example, tend to
have a global mindset. Some individuals are born with a defensive
mindset, which keeps them from growing and taking on new challenges.
Why Does Your Mindset Matter?
Since your mindset shapes your behavior and beliefs, it has a major
impact on your success or failure. For instance, developing a growth
mindset can boost your productivity and motivation. You will begin to see
new opportunities around you, learn from past experiences, and
overcome everyday challenges more easily.
“Work hard now. Don’t wait. If you work hard enough, you’ll be given what you deserve.” -Shaquille O’Neal
It's in your power to change and improve your mindset. The sooner you
start, the better. Intelligence and personality traits are malleable – and
so does your mindset. Practice is the key.