I have had a lot of conversations lately with friends and family about mindset shifts. And I’m fascinated by the prospect that we have control over lives simply by changing our mindset about certain situations. Thoughts are powerful things and we can either let them run us down or build us up. As someone who suffers from anxiety, I truly do need to do the work of reprogramming my mind to worry less and recognize reality.
Now, I have done a lot of internal work to overcome this and I believe if I didn’t have such strong goal-setting protocols, I probably would be much more all over the place. Using mindset shifts, I’ve been working on getting rid of limiting beliefs that I think are holding me back from the potential I have. When I talk with others about the power of changing a fixed mindset, I’m reminded of how much control we can take over our lives. So what exactly is the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset?
As an educator, I learned about the work of Dr. Carol Dweck and student’s mindsets toward achievement. Her research looked into how students respond to different messages in terms of motivation and achievement. In this EdWeek article, she talks about how we need to own our fixed mindsets in some way before being able to shift to a growth mindset. And that the reality is that we are all some combination and fixed and growth mindsets.
A fixed mindset is basically telling ourselves that it is what it is, essentially. My dad always says that and I just realized how that probably influenced a lot of his thinking and actions over the years. It is the belief that we cannot control what happens and that we can’t get smarter or better at some specific thing in our lives. A growth mindset rises to challenges and seeks opportunity from failure.
Our beliefs foster our realities. I am truly trying to embody what it means to have a growth mindset during a time of great uncertainty in my life. How can I respond to the cues in my environment to make the most of my situation? What talents or skills am I not putting to full use right now to manifest the things I need in my life.
The writing of George Couros goes beyond the growth mindset to what he terms the innovator’s mindset. The example he uses about obstacles is that someone with a fixed mindset might give up in that situation. Someone with a growth mindset would persevere despite odds stacked against them. And someone with an innovator mindset will seek possibilities and opportunities within and outside of the obstacles that they face.
As I think about how this relates to my life and the people around me, I want to constantly seek new ways of thinking and expand the bounds of my knowledge. To do that, I have to be open to opportunities and willing to take chances. To do this, I need to work on my empowerment mindset and personal empowerment techniques.
I’m work in progress right now, but then again,
aren’t we all?