Change your mindset. It’s all about mindset. Those are just words that you will often hear that give you the inclination that mindset is everything.
But do we really know how strong that phrase is?
While I was reading everything about mindset, I remembered and realized one thing (and other things).
I’ve been teaching myself the wrong advice in my life.
I should have a fixed mindset if I’m aiming for something.
Now, I have always loved Psychology especially back in college and I had a good grades as well, but that doesn’t brand me to be a master in psychological things.
So missing the right definition of a fixed mindset is beyond me -maybe it was taught, mentioned in class and I forgot everything about it.
Writing this now, I could only deduce that I was thinking having a fixed mindset means I should have a fixed goal, a set of goals to pursue.
But boy was I wrong!
Later on, we’ll discuss why mindset is everything, the types of mindset and how it helps us achieve our goals or how it will discourage us.
But first, what is a mindset by the way?
So what is mindset?
Scientific explanation and definition might bore you, so let’s make it as simple as possible.
Mindset is a mental disposition, it is your mentality, in short. It is a set of beliefs and thoughts that affect how you react to things and handle situations.
And there’s a definition of mindset I got from this website that really gave me an ”aha” moment – ”Mindset is habits of mind formed by previous experience.”
It is quite vague and it can’t be compared professionally to the definitions of mindset you will find on Psychology Today and other big websites but after reading a book by Carol Dweck about mindset, I could only agree with this simple definition.
Have you failed an exam?
Won in a chess competition or any competition in your life?
Such situations in life will have an impact on your thinking and may affect how you handle challenges and situations in the future.
If you failed an exam, it may discourage you not to study again because anyway, you have once lost an exam.
Sometimes, it will encourage you to learn even harder next time.
If you won any competition in life, it is either you are contented with it being a champion once in your life or you will still join other competitions because you want to develop your skills.
After being confronted by different situations in life, two mindsets are formed.
It is either you’ll have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.
Sometimes, you will have both depending on the situation.
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Different types of mindsets: Fixed mindset and growth mindset
Fixed mindset lets you think your abilities and intelligence are set in stone and unchangeable.
A growth mindset lets you believe your abilities and intelligence can be improved through effort, perseverance and learning.
By looking at the simple definitions of these mindsets, you will already know which helps you achieve your goals and which one hinders you from achieving them.
When you were a kid, you were very eager to learn, you have lots of whys.
But as you grow older and maturer, you encounter difficult tasks already but some stop learning when they think they can’t do that anymore.
At the age of three, a child develops a mindset already while according to Erik Erikson’s theory of psychosocial development, autonomy versus shame and doubt stages occur at the age of 1-3.
As a child already, you are faced with the decision if you’re going to do a task on your own or still depend on your parents.
Some children make it – they will then gain autonomy and confidence.
Some don’t and that’s how shame, doubt and feelings of inadequacy occur.
Maybe that’s why some of us have both a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. But it doesn’t mean you can’t change your mindset or views about things and situations.
If it is unclear, just read on.
7 reasons why mindset is everything in achieving your goals
– You are eager to learn
Do you think successful and skilful people are born with the skills that they have today?
Did they come out of the womb investing in stocks already or were you told you’re already counting when you were merely a month old?
Of course not.
Some successful people we know today built their success from hard work, and perseverance and yes, they coupled it with the right mindset.
When you have a growth mindset, you are aware of your shortcomings and imperfections.
You don’t try to hide them or fake your abilities until you make them.
Since you are aware of it, you are more than willing to learn those things which you’re lacking.
Instead of getting discouraged by not knowing certain things, you overcome them and work on them.
If you have a goal in mind and want to pursue it, but you know you lack skills and abilities, then instilling a growth mindset in your mind will help you reach your goal if you’re willing to exert effort.
Fixed mindset people have always the need to prove their abilities but people with a growth mindset don’t have to prove them, but rather they focus more on improving themselves.
Invest in yourself – learn things and skills you may need in the future.
– You don’t back down from challenges
Remember the question if you once failed an exam?
If you have the right mindset, failing an exam will not even dissuade you from trying again. In fact, it will even drive you to work harder to make yourself better and better.
You see failure as a chance and opportunity to learn more, take the risks again and face another challenge.
However, if you won in any competition, with the right mindset, you will be more fueled and encouraged to try even harder challenges and competitions.
But if you are someone with a fixed mindset, you will be contented with having won once and won’t try to compete in other competitions.
When you have the right mindset, any misfortune in your life aside from failing an exam is not a reason to back down and give up.
– You are not afraid to fail
Isn’t sad and frustrating just to hear yourself or your mind saying, ”I should have done this or that.”?
Once you said that in your life it only pertains that you wanted something so badly but didn’t even try to pursue it.
But what has stopped you from pursuing it by the way?
I could name a lot of reasons for that but I will give you one for now – it’s the fear of failing.
Perhaps you once failed in your life. You’ve tried one business and it went bankrupt.
You told yourself, ”That’s not for me and I won’t try again.”
And that mindset is already engraved in your brain – like carved in stone.
But with the right mindset, you are not afraid to take risks because what matters more is you will learn along the way while you work on developing your skills and abilities.
But there are instances too that somebody refuses to try a different venture.
There’s a very successful woman, praised by many. Let’s name her Daisy (if you’re Daisy, it’s purely coincidence).
Covid happened. She lost her executive position since the company went bankrupt.
She’s a smart and skilful lady. Everybody advised her to apply for another job or build her own business.
Daisy refused and preferred to wallow in the disappointments her life had caused her.
Why is that?
She’s afraid to fail and lose the glorification she had received when she had an executive position.
Don’t be like Daisy and have a growth mindset in pursuing your dreams or other ventures.
– You don’t let others define you
When you are a kid, perhaps you experienced being bullied in school or even at home by your own family.
Just because you failed a test, you’re branded a loser by your classmates or parents.
As an adult, we face some setbacks in life too.
Just because you failed to send a proposal, you’re branded by your boss as somebody incompetent for the job.
If you have a weak mindset, you would believe it and let it influence your thoughts.
That you’re being called incompetent will forever instil in your head, hindering you to try to correct that and improve yourself so you will have better performance in the future.
With the right mindset, you can better yourself and you won’t let any situation or individual define who you are and what you’re capable of in the future.
You might be a loser in the school who always failed every exam but you have worked so hard that you didn’t let a single moniker or a couple of test results dictate you if you are going to be a successful person.
– You have a different perception of success
How do you define success?
Is it having a lot of properties and thriving businesses on seven continents?
Obviously, if you have achieved that, then you’re indeed a very successful person but if you are an ordinary person who rides a subway every day to work, aren’t you successful too?
For some, success is subjective. What success for you is different from others.
Now, you’re still struggling to reach your goals and when people see that especially people with a fixed mindset will see you as someone lacking in resources and abilities, therefore you are not yet successful.
People with a fixed mindset tend to forget the word yet as mentioned by Carol Dweck in her book.
You can say, ”I don’t have a house yet,” which means you will get there soon. But for some people when they hear this, ”I am not famous,” they would think you will be forever that way.
Whatever it is you’re working on now – to be famous, to have a thriving business, to have a house and lot, to be a guru at something if you have perseverance and apply efforts to reach that certain goal you’re a success in the making.
You are a masterpiece in progress no matter how you struggle right now because you’re not yet finished.
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– You don’t take shortcuts
There’s no shortcut to success.
Perhaps you’ve heard that once or twice before.
If you want something in life, work hard for it and that’s the only way.
Some people stopped in trying or working for their dreams and ambitions because when they think of the struggles, hardships and challenges along the way, they shrink down.
Yes, it is not easy but it is the only way.
You will recognize individuals with fixed mindsets when they have dreams but they work for it and expect that their dreams will come to them.
It is more than laziness, pessimism and lack of confidence.
If you have the right mindset, the growth mindset, you know too well you have to work hard, and struggle your way up to success because there’s really no other way.
You view effort as a process to your end goal and not some burden to make your life more difficult than ever.
For people with a fixed mindset, efforts and struggles are imperfections. Instead of working hard for their goals, they’d rather revel in something that they have now where they are the best than be exposed to judgements and critics.
If you have better plans for your future, you shouldn’t settle with a single fixed mindset that you have to sweat in blood to get them and just be contented for what you have now.
Yes, contentment is also good but you must not say in the end, ”I should have done that before.”
– You are not afraid to be vulnerable
So what if you’re scrimping?
You’re struggling to get by but you know in yourself, that you won’t scrape a living for the rest of your life.
Because with your right mindset and attitude towards life and difficulties, you will get out of your messy situation.
You don’t let get it on you what other people think and say about you.
Yes, it might hurt, you’re human but you will overcome.
You shouldn’t bathe in belittling words instead you will use them as inspiration to move on and become a better version of yourself.
People with a fixed mindset are afraid to be judged, labelled, and seen as a failure because their confidence is not that strong that what they do is always stay on the safer ground.
A ground where they walk on and people who worship them kiss it. And they don’t want to lose that for a moment of being vulnerable by trying something new or something more challenging.
If you have dreams and goals, you pursue them – no matter how hard it seems and no matter how people underestimate you.
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How does a mindset break you?
Your biggest enemy is yourself and your thoughts.
Train your brain to have the right mindset about certain things in life before your thoughts and the wrong mindset control you.
A fixed mindset inhibits you from the things that you never thought possible. That’s why some people say this famous phrase, ”I should have…”
If you don’t have the right mindset, you’re fragile to critics and back down the moment somebody clipped your wings while other people put you on the pedestal.
Having a fixed mindset lets you exaggerate things that happened to you.
You have missed your train to work.
Your mind is in turmoil already.
You would tell yourself, you’re such a lame.
It’s just a train. Many trains will still arrive and situations like this happen to some people too.
If you don’t want to be stressed over things, switch your mindset and only you can train your mind.
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Mindset is everything: Conclusion
So there you have it, why mindset is everything and how it helps you achieve your goals in life.
But having the right mindset can’t only be applied to achieving your goals and endeavours in life.
Every day we are faced with challenges and our best combat to stay sane is having the right mindset, the growth mindset.
It doesn’t mean too that a growth mindset forces you to take action every single time like get your goals, achieving your dreams, travelling the world, changing yourself today and etc.
It still depends on you since you know your abilities and capacities and not everything that can be changed should be changed, according to Dr Carol Dweck and her book.
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