Is Your Mindset Secretly Making You Miserable? Here’s How to Fix It


Is your mindset secretly ruining your life?

And if so, is there a way to fix it?

Michael Jordan wasn’t considered the best basketball player of all time when he was starting out. In fact, he was cut from his varsity team when he was a sophomore. Instead of giving up, Jordan became even more determined, and spent hours upon hours practicing on the court and improving his skills.

When people look back, they say it was obvious that he was an amazing basketball player, but hindsight is always 20/20.

What made the difference was his mindset, and what will make the difference in your life is your mindset.
The Two Mindsets: Fixed vs Growth
In her book, MindSet: The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck introduces two different mindsets: the fixed mindset, and the growth mindset. The fixed mindset puts their emphasis on talent. They avoid challenges, because they believe each failure reflects on who they are as a person, so they never want to “look bad.”

This leads to excuses, blaming, and defensiveness whenever feedback is given or something goes wrong. It halts learning and leads to anything but success.

The growth mindset on the other hand focuses on learning, effort, and working hard. People with the growth mindset focus on learning from their mistakes, they claim responsibility and they constantly strive to improve.

Are You Stuck in the Fixed Mindset?
So, how do you know if you’re stuck in the fixed mindset? You’ll know because you avoid challenges, you give up when things aren’t going right, and you think thoughts such as “I’m just not good at this, so I might as well give up.”

It’s the belief that you should be great instantly and that you cannot improve or get better by effort, so what’s the point in trying. Growth minded people experience frustration, but they keep moving forward and doing their best. They aren’t perfect, they just realize it takes time to get better.

What About Context?
You can have a growth mindset in one context, such as learning, but have a fixed mindset in another context, such as social situations.

For example, you may believe that you can get better at anything if you apply yourself and study. But when it comes to social situations, you’re stuck being the shy and awkward. Now, does this mean that you can magically become outgoing and energetic? Maybe not, but it does mean that you can improve and get better.

Carol Dweck discovered that shy people with the growth mindset were just as nervous as the fixed mindset people, but they saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to grow.

They had fun and they improved, while the fixed mindset people accepted their seemingly bad luck and tried to avoid social situations altogether.

Can You Change Your Mindset?

If you’re stuck in the fixed mindset, you probably believe that mindsets cannot be changed, and that’s when a change will help you the most.

Ironic, isn’t it?

Change is possible, but it happens slowly (in most cases). The first step is to become aware of how your mindset is holding you back; notice where you want to avoid challenges, criticism, and feedback.

Then start looking at how you can begin to improve. If you want to do work you love, it happens one step at a time. Most people never start because they don’t know exactly where to go, but the truth is that you don’t have to know, you just have to start now.

You’ll get better, smarter, and faster.

Does This Mean Talent Doesn’t Exist?
Denying talent would be foolish. Some people are naturally better than others, but mere talent does not guarantee success. Many who have been talented have not been willing to put in the effort to improve, while many that haven’t had talent have worked hard and gone onto become world class. This doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to become world class. What it does mean is that you can go after your dreams. But know that it will take hard work. However, the harder you work, the more you learn, and the more you learn, the closer you get to your dreams.

There are no shortcuts and no quick-fixes, so start learning today.

Written on 1/15/2011 by Henri Junttila. Henri writes at Wake Up Cloud, where he shares his personal tips on how you can live the life you know you deserve. When you feel ready to take action, get his free course: How to Find Your Passion (And Build a Business Around It). Photo Credit: wolleydog

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