Change Your Mindset and Achieve Anything
Posted: May 18th, 2021
Dream + Believe + Achieve = Succeed
Sounds pretty straightforward, right. This is a great formula for success, that has proven to work for many successful people around the globe. But, what’s the difference between those who succeed and those who are not? The difference is your MINDSET and the amount of effort & energy you are willing to invest to bring your dreams to fruition. Let's talk about the former, as mindset is a foundation for the latter.
What is Mindset?
Mindset is a way of thinking: your frame of mind. Your mindset is a collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your ‘thought habits’. In turn, your thought habits affect how you think, what you feel and what you do. Your mindset impacts how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of yourself. Basically, your mindset today is determines your tomorrow.
Everyone can operate in this world with two mindsets: open to growth, or closed to growth (fixed). The word "fixed" in itself sounds limiting to our true essence that craves to expand and self-actualize. As Abraham Maslow's stated: "If you deliberately plan to be less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you'll be deeply unhappy for the rest of your life. You will be evading your own capacities, your own possibilities". Remember, when you enter a mindset, you enter a world and you have a choice which world you would like to live in: the world of limitations or the world of possibilities.
Let's explore the differences between the two worlds
The World of Fixed Mindset
- Entrenched in the belief that intelligence, natural talents and abilities are fixed. You're either good at something or not.
- This world is fixed, where you have a constant pressure to prove yourself and defend your position
- I'm right, you wrong perspective
- When something goes wrong, likes to find someone to blame and focus on the past (FEEDBACK)
- Confident, yet insecure (often shows up as arrogance, inability to take feedback)
- Fears failure and avoids anything that make challenge status quo
- Failure is about having setbacks, getting "meets expectations" performance review, getting fired, getting rejected or not being promoted.
- Failure is evidence of unintelligence and an indicator you're not good enough
- Actions are driven by the desire to look smart, be right, boost status ( ego-driven)
- Everything is about outcome. If you made a mistake or fail, it has all been wasted
- If you succeed, I feel threatened
The World of Growth Mindset
- Open to learning and changing, where one believe they can always get better with effort and practice.
- This world is ever-evolving, it's about stretching yourself to learn something new and develop yourself (path to self-actualization)
- Seeks to understand opposite viewpoints and can accept the differences
- When something goes wrong, find the root cause of the problem and explore what can be done differently going forward (FEEDFORWARD)
- Confident, yet humble ( believes in own abilities, ok admitting shortcomings)
- Welcomes challenges as opportunities to increase capabilities and self-efficacy
- Failure is about not growing, being stagnant, or not reaching for the things you value.
- Failure is a springboard for growth and success
- Actions are driven by the desire to learn & achieve one's potential (values-driven)
- The effort put into something & the journey itself are recognized and valued
- If you succeed, I feel inspired
Here is a common pitfall that you need to be aware of! According to Stanford University professor Carol Dweck’s theory, it’s also possible to have a false growth mindset, which has as many pitfalls as a fixed mindset. For example, a business leader with a false growth mindset might praise efforts, even when they’re unproductive. Dweck says people can confuse open-mindedness with real self-improvement because they lack critical evaluation. Having the “right attitude” doesn’t always lead to success, and it’s important to recognize when strategies don’t work. The growth mindset says all the things can be developed. All — you, your partner, and the relationship — are capable of growth and change. In the fixed mindset, the ideal is instant, perfect, and based on perpetual compatibility.
So, as you can see, fixed mindset is consumed with one goal of proving itself— in the classroom, in the career, in the boardroom and in the relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of own intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?
Unfortunately, this type of mindset tends to be a dominating one in our society as we have been all culturally conditioned to value certain things in certain ways. This conditioning creates a mental trap that perpetuates self-induced misery and emotional suffering of never feeling like you are good enough and feeling like you have to prove your worthiness every step of the way. And let me tell you, it's exhausting!!! What makes the matters worse, it never brings you long-term happiness and satisfaction that you crave for in a first place. On the other hand, growth mindset doesn't discount your level of intelligence or your personality, but treats them as a starting point in your development and self-actualization. As Dweck says: "Why waste your time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better" ? Why hide deficiencies, instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem, instead the ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of stepping outside of your comfort zone a little and explore new possibilities?
The good news are it's never too late to start making different choices that will lead to different outcomes, and ultimately to the life you love. How do we do that? THE Science of Neuroplasticity has an answer!
Neuroplasticity is what actually happens in your brain when you make conscious changes that literally rewire the neural pathways in your brain. Scientists used to think that our brains were fixed after childhood, but research has now shown we can alter the pathways in our brain when we learn to consciously direct our attention in the direction of the intentions we set for ourselves
Research shows that the brain is like a muscle. It changes and gets stronger when we use it. The more challenges, the more brain cells grow. Then, the things that once were incredibly hard become easier. That leads to confidence and increased self-efficacy. That confidence leads to exploration of where, when and how of something difficult rather than exclaiming: “I’m just not good at this, what’s the point of trying further”.
We have a power to change our mindset. Remember, struggles with anything intellectual or emotional can lead to learning and growth. The Brain is Like a Muscle
1. It needs struggle to grow
2. It takes time to build a new skill
3. Building a skill requires reps and action
4. We can all get better at pretty much any skill
“You are the master of your destiny. You can influence, direct and control your own environment. You can make your life what you want it to be.” – Napoleon Hill
When we understand this science of neuroplasticity we can deflect the conditioning and the stories we were told about the things we can’t learn or shouldn't do. Through the process of learning and changing your habits you can change the structure of your brain- you can rewire it to engage in more positive ways of doing things. Remember, neurons that fire together wire together, changing the structure of the brain, both on structural and molecular level. So, shifting your mindset and changing the way you think, changes brain structure.
So, start paying attention to your inner talk and next time you catch yourself in a limiting trap of fixed mindset, reframe your talk and say something to yourself that leads on the path of personal growth and mastery.
Instead of repeating "I just can't do this" start saying.. "I cant do it, YET" , "I don't know how to do this YET", you are getting the point
Instead of becoming defensive when given a feedback, say Thank you for the feedback I will take it on board to improve.
Instead, of saying "My friend is really good at public speaking, I could never do that, I'm so jealous" which would only create tension in relationship and make you feel less than - Start saying , Wow my friend is really good at public speaking, I can learn from her….. or My friend is really good at public speaking because she puts in lots of effort…..I can do that too if I'm willing to put in the effort required to learn the skill!
Instead of saying "This is too hard", say to yourself "This may take more time and effort that I originally anticipated"
Best Practices for shifting into Growth Mindset and Tapping Into You Full Potential
1. Set Clear Goals
Failing to set goals can lead to delays and set you off track from the end result you are working toward. It’s important to set SMART goals, so that you can keep yourself on track for what lies ahead in your learning journey. The acronym SMART stands for specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-based.
2. Focus on Effort and Deliberate Practice.
Put in high-quality effort toward your goals. Be intentional, work hard, let motivation fuel your fire, and don’t settle for half-hearted efforts. Deliberately focus on your own learning and growth.
3. Persist Through Mistakes and Failure.
Embrace the mindset: "Hard is Good". Mistakes are inevitable and failure is unavoidable. What matters is not whether you failed trying something, what truly matters is how quickly can you bounce back and get back on track. However, it’s not just a matter of perseverance, you need to pivot accordingly not to repeat the same mistakes. Learn from those mistakes and try again. This is persistence in a nutshell and you know how to do that. Furthermore, we have all done it in the past. YES YOU ALL HAVE THIS SKILL GENETICALLY PROGRAMMED IN YOU, you just need to remind yourself. Once upon time we were all babies that were trying to figure out our first step...we were stumbling and falling over and over again... and guess what... you have mastered the skill of walking. And in this same way you can master anything you put your mind and effort to.
4.Stop comparing yourself to others, instead Learn from Other People’s Mistakes and use their successes as inspiration
There are at least two reasons why comparison is simply ineffective.
First, as Tim Hiller said, “Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle, or your middle to someone else's end.”
Second, what you tend to do is compare your insides ( your inner struggles, your mood in that moment, your personal insecurities) to other people outsides ( which is simply a fake facade we all as humans put up in the effort to make other people see us in a way that seems more desirable)
5. Stop trying to prove yourself to others, it’s time to focus on improving yourself
It feels good to be praised and appreciated by other people. However, when you derive your worth from seeking outside approval instead of accepting your true self, you end up being insecure and miserable. Spending your life trying to prove yourself to people is essentially setting yourself up for failure from the get-go. As continually trying to prove your worth and relying too much on other people's approval prevents you from being truly happy with yourself. The amount of time and energy you spend comparing yourself to others and looking for approval could be spent on pursuing goals that actually add value to your life
Basing your self-worth and success on the thoughts of others is unhealthy and ultimately ineffective. The truth is, the people in your life who are worth proving yourself to are often, ironically, the people who don’t want you to prove yourself to them. They care for you, trust you, and love you for who you are. Besides, most people aren’t as concerned with your shortcomings as you think. They are often too worried about their selves to focus so much on the people around them.
In the context of creation, you are a small part of life with immense possibilities. So, focus on improving yourself and realizing those possibilities, not wasting your time and energy on proving anything to anybody.
6. Shift from the blame-game to self-reflection
Self-reflection is essential to learning, because it lets you ask yourself questions, think deeply about your processes, and reevaluate your strategies. Self-reflection uncovers lessons we can only learn retrospectively and can lead to new positive insights.
7. CHANGE Your perception of SUCCESS
Key to embracing this equation is to remove black and white notions of success and failure. Success and failure are not on the opposite sides of the spectrum. The reality is, all your failures are the stepping stones for your successes. If you don't fail, you don't learn. If you don't learn, you don't grow. If you don't grow and never feel challenged, your life becomes stagnant and you sabotage your abilities to self-actualize and reach new levels of success. Once we transcend such stress-inducing factors as win or lose, make or break, we are in turn placed in a better state of mind to focus our attention on what truly matters and perform at an optimal level. Some good questions to ask while training in having a growth mindset include, What was the effort like? How was the process – did you enjoy it? What did you learn about it? How can you implement the takeaways going forward? As Dweck said “in the growth mindset, failure can be a painful experience. But it doesn’t define you. It’s a problem to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.”
8. Start working with a Coach.
Athletes, performers, CEOs, and presidents know they need a trained professional or even a team of experts to help them determine the best direction and to provide objective support and feedback. Without this, it is almost impossible to achieve excellence. No athlete would consider going to the Olympics without the support of a coach. The extra edge the coach provides makes all the difference. Why shouldn't you have this same advantage in your own personal and professional life?
Sign up for one of the coaching packages — you’ll be amazed at the results you can achieve with the right support and accountability!
The bottom line is, Fixed Mindset sabotages your chances for self-actualization and an opportunity to develop your Full potential. Both mindsets are available to you and the choice of where to put your attention and energy to is yours. Remember what you practice grows stronger and the neurons that fire together will wire together.
So, choose Growth Mindset that will allow you to tap into your potential and become the best version of yourself.
Want a little more inspiration, watch the TED talk below by Dr. Alia Crum.