How do you think about your intelligence, ability and talents?

Do you believe these qualities are fixed? Or that they can be cultivated throughout your life?

Your mindset is your attitude and way of thinking, and includes the beliefs you have about yourself and your capabilities. According to researcher Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindsets – fixed and growth. And we can all be one or the other depending on the circumstance we are facing.

People with a fixed mindset believe that you are born with a certain amount of brains and talent, and not a lot can change that. “People adopting a fixed mindset perceive outcomes as the ultimate measure of what people are capable of achieving” either you are smart or dumb, musically gifted or tone deaf etc. (McQuaid & Kern, 2017). People with a fixed mindset want to avoid failure and tend to abandon efforts when goals turn out to be harder than expected (Boniwell, 2012). A fixed mindset may also cause someone to be grounded by fear so they are less willing to take on new challenges.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset see their innate qualities as things that can be developed through dedication and effort. They understand that no one has ever accomplished great things – not Einstein or Tiger Woods – without years of hard work and learning. People with a growth mindset “respond to failure with an attitude of mastery and keep trying, instead of thinking that they are not good enough” (Boniwell, 2012). These people put in extra time to grow and develop, aim higher and therefore achieve greater results. People, who adopt a growth mindset, also know that failure and criticism is an opportunity to learn.

Your mindset plays an important role in determining how you respond to challenges and approach goals. It can affect your confidence and be the very reason why you find it hard to stick to good habits (like exercise and eating well) or developing new skills.

So how can you change the things you believe about yourself and achieve your ambitions?

You can try to eliminate your fixed mindset when stepping outside your comfort zone and view any challenges or failures as a chance to grow, develop and thrive. And know that believing you can improve is much more important than the outcomes achieved, which I highlighted in a previous post. I encourage you to get into your growth mindset and embrace it!

For more information on mindsets, you can read Carol Dweck’s book, explore her website and take this test.