In the previous blog, we learned about two different mindsets—the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. A growth mindset is necessary for development. A great way to begin forging a growth mindset is through a consistent early morning routine. Unfortunately, many people believe they have a growth mindset while fostering a fixed mindset. They do this, because they have not learned the different characteristics of these mindsets, and do not see the need to change. In the next 3 minutes, we will learn the characteristics and implications of these two mindsets. Let’s get started!
Greatest growth barrier
I want to begin by pointing out a dangerous blind spot that the fixed mindset creates as a form of self-preservation. The nature of a fixed mindset is one that prevents us from seeing ourselves as having a fixed mindset. Allow me to explain…
At the time of this writing, I am in North Carolina, fixing up a rental property that was previously my home when I was stationed here. Recently, when my tenants left, I completed move-out inspection with the property manager. Each time I politely asked about a discrepancy, the property manager took it personally. I even felt her shutting down emotionally and becoming distant. I told her, “I am so grateful I had you guys to manage my property, but please understand, this is business, it is not about you or me. It’s not personal.” She quickly snapped back, “I’m not taking it personal! It’s just that I’m not perfect…”
Here, we see a perfect example of a fixed mindset. When I tried to raise the conversation up to a professional level, the property manager’s fixed mindset overruled her ability to develop or learn from the situation. It also prevented her from responding professionally. Instead, she reacted emotionally.
Characteristics: Growth vs. fixed mindset
With a growth mindset, we can improve through hard work and effort, enables us to deal with setbacks. This knowledge allows us to see that setbacks are temporary, and often necessary, as steps in a process of growth. We do not see them as fixed events or reflections of our self-worth. Employing this mindset leads us to relative improvement, and perhaps even mastery.
Conversely, people with a fixed mindset look at people with growth mindsets and think, “Man, I’d really like to be like them, but they have got something special that I just don’t have.” Instead of learning and observing, they turn to jealously and self-loathing. They get angry, hurt, and upset. Their fixed mindset becomes even more fixed as they entertain thoughts like, “I’m not talented enough. I’m not attractive enough. I’m not smart enough.”
People with a growth mindset look at others and think, “I like their style. They work hard…harder than I do. They read more, train harder, and behave more consistently. I admire their courage and work ethic. I’ll watch them closely to see what it is they do differently and begin to implement those things in my own life.” They replace jealously and resentment with challenges, aspirations, and motivation. They tell themselves they can grow, work harder, get smarter, and become like the people they admire, in the ways that they admire them.
I love the way Dave Anderson, in his book, Unstoppable, equates the fixed mindset to mediocrity. And just to be clear, mediocre is defined as average or ordinary, not outstanding. This is how he puts it…
Mediocre thinking evokes mediocre behaviors and effort, which in turn create mediocre results, lulling you down the path to a mediocre life. Mediocre lives are sad. People die at 40 but are not buried until they are 80.
What about you?
You have the opportunities, talents, and drive to be far more than average or you would not be reading this. So why are you reading this? I’m guessing it is the same reason for which I am writing this—neither of us want a mediocre life or a fixed mindset. We want to grow, succeed, enjoy the success, and help others succeed! Now, you are probably wondering how to get started. In the next blog, I’ll discuss the key component that will help with that. So, hang tight and remember, we’re talking about life-change. There is no quick fix, and it starts in the mind.
Today, we learned how to better identify the two mindsets—the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. A fixed mindset leads to a mediocre life. We have every opportunity to grow, and it starts with a growth mindset! Don’t forget, a consistent daily routine is a great way to start. In the next blog, I will give you the key component to growth—motivation. You won’t want to miss it!
If this is relevant in your life, it will probably be relevant in someone else’s life. So, don’t prevent others from benefiting from this blog. LIKE it and SHARE it with your co-workers, family, and friends. Post it on your Facebook or LinkedIn. Help someone, today!
Your anecdote about the property manager reminded me of a book by Chuck Swindoll called, “Parenting: from Surviving to Thriving.” He writes a controversial chapter (in conservative circles especially) entitled, Cultivating a Life of Self-Worth. In this chapter, he argues that although some people would think it selfish, as parents, one of our primary jobs is to develop the gift of personal identity for our children. He writes, “This is having the self-assurance to stand for truth when everyone else fails to find the courage to do what they know to be right. This having security enough to accept criticism with grace and to hear it as an opportunity for growth….” Many people – I would dare say, most people – are not raised with the gift of a solid personal identity or with the feeling of having a safe haven for a home where they are loved unconditionally. Swindoll continues, “…we have the opportunity to help our offspring know their value, their worth, which gives them the confidence to become whatever God made them to be….Satan’s greatest psychological weapon is a cut-level feeling of inferiority, inadequacy, and low self-worth. This feeling shackles many Christians, in spite of wonderful spiritual experiences and knowledge of God’s Word.” His point is that we must learn to build up our children so that they know themselves, like themselves, and never fail to be themselves. My point based on reading this chapter before reading your blog is that perhaps part of the life-long journey of developing a growth mindset is working to understand each human’s value (including our own) and accepting it, even as we strive to become better people. Through learning that many people have a low self-worth due to the lack of a strong personal identity, perhaps society will be fueled to show more compassion which could potentially inspire someone to ask questions about how to develop this growth mindset. This blog is timely on a personal level to keep my wheels turning….and on another note…folks respond emotionally in their profession all the time…just check out our politicians! 🙂
I appreciate the richness that you add with Swindoll’s material and your input. That’s a really interesting point. I’ll need to mull over that. I think you are onto something. One thing I didn’t address is “why” people don’t have a growth mindset, and how we can learn from this to prevent raising our children with the same fixed mindset. Would you mind writing a blog on this and submitting it?