Have you ever looked a tiger in the eye? I’m speaking metaphorically about the ability to face a new challenge with the mindset of a winner. Mindset is an established set of attitudes held by someone, and it truly is the new baseline in the psychology of success.
Psychologists believe that all people fall into two different categories, growth mindset or a fixed mindset. The differences between these two archetypes are the internal dialogue or belief systems about our abilities and potential, which determines our behavior and, in turn, our success. Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck, synthesized in her remarkably insightful book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, “An inquiry into the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives (Dweck, 2016).”
A person with a fixed mindset believes that we are born with a particular set of talents, attributes, personality, intelligence, abilities, and motivation and can’t be changed. The fixed mindset archetype believes that they should avoid challenges and potential failure in order to maintain a sense of intelligence and skills.
Those with a growth mindset believe that challenges and failures can lead to learning opportunities and stretching their abilities. A growth mindset centers around the idea that inherent qualities, skills, and abilities can cultivate through effort and determination.
These mindsets are formed from a very early age and manifest a lot of our behaviors, attitudes, and feelings about success and failure both personally and professionally.
The fascinating thing about the two schools of thought is that they can be changed! People with a fixed mindset can learn how to develop and implement a growth mindset. Teachablility and open-mindedness can help discover that one thing leads to another, challenges and failure does not mean defeat, but rather a starting block for learning and evolution.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR OPPORTUNITIES FOR GROWTH
Mindset matters, as we all have weaknesses. The best method for overcoming your weaknesses is to first acknowledge them and then tackle them head-on. If you have a pension for procrastination, start by setting manageable and realistic goals. You can also change the internal dialogue. Try taking a kindness approach with yourself and think about how “tomorrow you” feels when you “put off today what you can do tomorrow.” If you put off something that takes five minutes, you can add on the time that it took you to consider the idea of putting it off, and the 24 hours (or more) until you finally did the task. That is not the best use of your time or mental energy.
Taking the time to work on your shortcomings does not mean you are trying to be perfect. It means that you want to be just a little better today than you were yesterday.
CHALLENGES AND FAILURES LEAD TO YOUR EVOLUTION
Taking on challenges and new opportunities are simply part of being human. When presented with a challenge, you also enjoy the potential to learn more about yourself and grow. The fear of failure can prevent you from developing both personally and professionally. Remember, fear is false evidence appearing real.
YOUR BRAIN CHANGES THROUGHOUT YOUR LIFE
Your brain continually creates new patterns, connections, and adjustments based on new experiences and things it learns. Thanks to neuroplasticity, your brain has enormous growth capacity and potential for change and training. Learning is not always linear or rushed. Sometimes we need to make mistakes to learn valuable lessons.
Life is about focusing on progress, not perfection. Perfection is unattainable, and it is a limiting belief. Success comes from a willingness to learn and make mistakes, stretching beyond your comfort zone, and taking risks. So when you find yourself at a crossroads with the smell of change in the air, don’t be afraid to look the tiger in it’s eye and roar with the conviction that success is your destiny and failure is not an option.
Dweck, C. S. (2016). Mindset the new psychology of success. New York: Ballantine Books.