Carol Dweck in her Book “The Mindset – the new psychology of success” talks about two kinds of mindsets that people generally have . One is the Fixed Mindset and another is the Growth mindset.
What is a Mindset ?
A mindset is the way we perceive the world around us , it is the way we act, think, believe and say in our everyday life. It is the lens we see the world through while navigating the maze of our lives.
a person with a fixed mindset believes that his or her abilities are carved in a stone , that knowledge / talent are gifts are given by nature and they are set. on the contrary , a person with a Growth mindset perceives life as a sequence of opportunities to grow and improve. The Growth mindset person knows that every thing can be learned and little changes can bring big results. The Analogy used by Carol Dweck to illustrate the difference goes like this :
Imagine John arrives at the university to be handed out his grade which happens to be C+ for the Mid term exams , This upsets him and he leaves the university later to find that he has received a parking ticket for his car . Utterly frustrated by now due the mid-term scores and the parking ticket, he decides to call his friend only to be turned down as his friend happens to be busy. Now all these incidents have happened in a span of a few hours impacting his mood . Now John being a fixed mindset person thinks that he is not good enough in his studies because of his C+ and is utterly frustrated and feels hopeless regarding his academics.
Getting a parking ticket has only added on to the frustration and he begins to feel like he is loosing control of his life . now feeling rejected by his friend after a bad day really ticks him off and now he begins to feel insecure while holding a grudge towards his friend who he thinks ignored him in his moment of need.
Imagine turning around this whole situation on top of its head . If John was a Growth mindset person the following sequence could have happened . Upon receiving the C+ for the Mid term exam , he takes a moment to reflect . He realizes that it is the Mid term and not the final and there is plenty of room to improve . he contacts his professor and gets some advice on going about , he see his professors as resource persons to help him do better. Later he realizes that he has been fined with a parking ticket , John does not react but rather thinks what needs to be done to rectify this situation , he does not complain nor feels victimized thus he goes ahead to pay for the ticket while taking this as a valuable lesson. He clearly thinks in terms of Actions to be performed.
Finally John calls his friend who ignores him and cuts the call . John Does not get offended as he is a growth mindset person . rather than getting upset , he realizes that there must be something happening to his friend who could be caught up in something. John adds to his action items to call his friend later to check with him. Three qualities that we could notice from a person with a growth mindset that we can imbibe in our lives are the following :
Ability to Reflect on points of Improvement :
We are all good at something and not so good in many things . Thus life is made of opportunities that we can exploit to achieve Mastery/proficiency on different abilities/talents/skills. When we realize that we can get good in something by focusing our minds on it with consistency we are speeding on the Highway of the Growth Mindset.
Resilience in the face of Adversity :
This quality is a cornerstone of a person with the Growth Mindset. Rather than seeing himself/herself as a victim of the situation , the Growth Mindset person has the ability to turn around adversity into a moment of personal growth and in some cases achieves maximum personal growth while faced with such situations.
Late to Get offended :
The importance of this quality can’t be stressed enough . Almost every moment in our life presents a choice of being or not being offended. There are simply exponential number of ways that we could be offended which includes colleagues we work with , family members, circumstances around us , the badly maintained local park , the government etc . Taking offence clouds our ability to think and lays the foundation for anger, it is like hitting a brick wall with your head rather than walking ahead through the situation with clarity. Cultivating this habit really effects many other aspects of our lives including of those around us.
Now what do you think constitutes a Growth Mindset ?