In her revolutionary and creative book, Mindset; The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck pointed out how some people acquire a Fixed Mindset – believing that they have very little control over the direction of their lives, while others develop a Growth Mindset – recognizing that their efforts play a huge role in how their lives will evolve.
Those who develop a Fixed Mindset are often quite bright and aware of that fact because they have been praised for their intelligence. But they learn from an early age to not risk making mistakes or facing challenges that may cause others to perceive them as not being so intelligent. Those with Growth Mindsets, however, have childhoods that were marked by being praised for trying. Even if their efforts did not always lead to success, youngsters with a Growth Mindset tend to become lifelong learners and more creative and productive than their Fixed Mindset counterparts. Their brains actually develop differently over time.
In the decade or so since Dweck introduced the concept, the term, Mindset, has taken on an expanded meaning and is used in various ways. We can speak of Positive and Negative Mindsets, Winning and Losing Mindsets, Youthful and Old Mindsets, etc. The core principle, however, is the same. People become oriented in certain characteristic ways, based on their systems of beliefs and reinforcements – and ultimately their brains change to to the point where there behaviors become predictable.
When faced with a problem, some perceive it as a challenge to be addressed and conquered while recognizing that not every effort will lead to success – but every effort will be a learning experience. Others will choose the safest possible route – playing not to lose rather than playing to win, and missing out on a lot of opportunities to be successful or to learn from the experience.
What is your Mindset? At The Mental Health Gym, we have cast our lot with the Positive Mindset. Being active and taking the risk of building the best possible you is really a lot of fun – and often very rewarding.