Mindset is everything

‘It’s always about a growth mindset. That’s what us four always talk about…growth mindset. It’s the fact that you know that you can get better, even at our age, even with our accolades, even with what we’ve done in our careers. We still feel like we can improve.’[1] LeBron James New York Post

Your mindset is crucial when it comes to approaching a task, adopting a certain characteristic, behaviour and how you see yourself etc. The list is endless. A growth mindset is having the belief in your capacity to learn and grow, to ultimately change and improve the way you perceive and approach tasks. Robert Stemberg, Professor of Human Development at Cornell University, says that the major factor in whether people achieve expertise “is not some fixed prior ability, but purposeful engagement.”[2] Individuals need to be mentally and intellectually stimulated to achieve in life.

A person with a fixed mindset believes that intelligence is set: you are naturally good at things, and never in control of your abilities. A person with a growth mindset believes that skills and talents are developed: you are good at things because you worked for it, and are always in control of your abilities.

A growth mind set provides the foundation for learning. Effort, challenges, mistakes and feedback are the keys. Effort is necessary to achieve and accomplish tasks. Challenges help set goals for individuals to aim for. Mistakes are necessary for learning, and lastly, feedback is constructive and helpful. These four keys have a direct impact on each other. One needs to remember that attainment and success are a process which requires continuous energy and determination. It is indeed a rewarding struggle.

A person with a fixed mindset doesn’t see effort as necessary or useful. They back down from challenges or avoid them. When they make mistakes, they get discouraged, and when they get feedback, they do not find it helpful, or they get defensive or take it personally. People with a fixed mind set shy away from these 4 keys to learning and growing. People with a growth mind set on the other hand, find effort useful as it leads to growth, they embrace challenges, persevere through them and see them as an opportunity to develop. They learn from their mistakes, and appreciate and implement feedback.

A growth mindset is important because if you have confidence in yourself, your skills, abilities and mentality, you will understand that your effort is everything when it comes to strengthening yourself as a person. There are numerous ways to develop a growth mindset. To begin with, you must accept and embrace your flaws. Use them to mould you into a better version of yourself. Don’t allow them to be the reason as to why you are held back in life. There are too many people trying to hold you back already, you shouldn’t be one of them. Look at your weaknesses, realise they exist and that everyone has weaknesses. Don’t hide away from them. Your weaknesses are opportunities for you to challenge yourself and self-improve. You’re not a failure. Remind yourself of your positive qualities, the ones that you like and admire. And no that isn’t being self-centred. When it comes to understanding yourself and your mindset when approaching certain tasks, remember that you are unique, and you have your own distinct abilities and capabilities, thereby do not compare your path in life to another person’s. As an individual you are always growing, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Your mind grows too. And with each mistake that you make in life, comes a moral. When you stumble on your feet or trip over a curb onto the floor, you jump back up. Why? Because it’s not the end of the world. You fell over but overall, other than just a slight graze on the knee, you’re okay. You’re not going to stay on the ground because you know that you have your life to live. But you also know that next time, you will be more cautious of how you walk, as well as your surroundings. Learn to see your falls in life like this. If you are by yourself and you fall over, you’ll get back up on your own two feet without anyone else there to help you. Realise that at times you are all that you need, and you are more capable than you give yourself credit for. And it’s not about how quickly you get back up from your fall, but rather, how well you get back up to ensure that you don’t hurt yourself again. Learning skills and self-development require time, determination as well as reflection.

A person does not have either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. You are not one or the other. These mindsets exist on a spectrum. You might approach different tasks and situations with a fixed or a growth mindset, but you have the power to shape and mould this. How we see ourselves, and our beliefs comes from our mindset.

[1] https://nypost.com/2016/03/23/lebron-plots-of-teaming-with-carmelo-in-nba-mega-foursome/?utm_content=buffer49227&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

[2] Carol Dweck, Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential (Robinson: Great Britain, 2012) p.5.


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