You are driving along highway I-25 on your way home from work. When you look up you happen to notice the sky. Observe the picture below, and capture your initial reaction. What are your first thoughts? How does the picture make you feel?
If your first thought was, “Oh no! There is a storm coming in! This is going to dampen my plans for tonight!” Know that this is a fairly normal response. In fact, many people, approximately 40% of the population according to a survey conducted by Carol Dweck, an American Psychologist, in 2006, would respond similarly. She concluded that almost half of the population have an established fixed mindset.
Fixed Mindset 101
What is a fixed mindset you may ask? Well, guys, it goes along with that adage, “Is your cup half full, or half empty?” It is this notion that our lives are set for us. It is the belief that your traits are fixed, and we have no control over them. A common saying of a fixed mindset is, “it is what it is” (check out my article “It Could Be Better!”) Hey, I am no innocent soul. Truth, we all have fixed mindsets on certain things. For example, I am very afraid of heights. SO MUCH so, I insisted that I couldn’t look over the Hoover Dam in Nevada because, “I could fall!”
A Great Opposite
On the other side, we have a growth mindset. Individuals with growth mindsets think about the world as half full. This can be challenging at times, because when it is half full it could seem that much more empty. Right? Well, let’s take another look at that picture. I challenge you to think a little differently about that storm that is coming in. Upon seeing the rolling in of the clouds, we could respond by saying things, such as, “I hope that storm brings on the rain;” or “it looks like we may be having an indoor bbq! We can do some indoor games!”
A Happy Medium
My place is not to say either is right or wrong here. I am not in the position to assume anything or place a label. But we are here to reflect on ourselves, our life, and our well-being in order to become the best ‘us’ that we can!! When it comes to stress and frustration, I find that it is clear to note that people that are able to carry the growth mindset are more likely to have better days.
How can I have what they got?
In reference to daily perspective, thoughts, and intelligence, there are ways that we can begin to change our outlook, these are tried and tested strategies I have used myself, I use with my beautiful students in the classroom, and my fellowship friends (those that I have worked with spiritually).
Begin by self-reflection.
Like I mentioned earlier, even that 40% of the population probably carries a bit of fixed mindset. Ask yourself what areas do you find most difficult or ‘blocking’ your way to success. For me, it is as simple as my phobia of heights. Once they are identified, they become manageable and changeable.
Recognize the why behind the fixed-nesses
Try to look for reasons why this has become such a challenge for you-is it fear based? Is it lack of confidence? Do you feel like it could be a personal attack? Perhaps you are thinking that you are not built for the challenge or you are not ‘smart’ enough? Is it just too much of a risk and too problematic?
Breath new life into them
Now that we know fixed mindset traits are rooted in fear, anxiety, lack of self-belief, and could even be rooted in behavioral traits that were carried on from childhood or even past lives (more on that another day!), we can reframe them by channeling our power of manifestation. We can literally breathe new life into them. Instead of “oh man, today is cloudy and dreary” think “I can see the light of the sun peeking through the clouds.” Instead of thinking, “I was never smart enough to be an engineer” say, “I am interested in seeing what it would take to become an engineer.” And, one more for practice, instead of saying “it is what it is,” know that “it could be better when I work to make it better.”
If you would like to take a self assessment on your mindset, you can preview the same survey that was given by Carol Dweck. Have fun with this! As always, share your wonderful kernels of thought with us! We want to hear how you are working to break away your fixed mindset by breaking through!