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Mindset: What Do Your Beliefs Reveal about You?

Mindset: What Do Your Beliefs Reveal about You?

Which of the following sentences do you identify with the most?

  1. We are born with a certain amount of intelligence and it isn’t something that can be changed. We either have particular abilities, or we don’t. We can’t just acquire talent for things like music, writing…etc.
  1. We are capable of changing who we are, learning new things and improving our intelligence. Studying, working hard, and practicing new skills are all ways to develop new talents and abilities.

Either of these sentences reveals something about your mindset. However, before we jump into what type of mindset each of these sentences signifies, let us first explore what mindset means in the first place. 

What is a mindset?

A mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how we make sense of ourselves, our abilities and the world around us. It influences how we think, feel, and behave in any given situation. 

According to Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck, it is our mindset that plays a significant role in determining achievement and success in our lives. In her book,  Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dweck coined two terms to describe two different mindsets, fixed mindset and growth mindset.

A fixed mindset is believing that our basic qualities, like intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. People with a fixed mindset spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success–without effort. Dweck describes people with this mindset as people who are consumed by proving themselves, whether in the classroom, in their careers, or in their relationships. Every situation is an opportunity to confirm their intelligence, personality, or character and evaluate their success and wins.

Whereas a growth mindset is believing that our most basic abilities and qualities can be developed and cultivated through dedication and hard work and that brains and talent are just the starting point. In the book, Dweck describes this mindset as the passion for stretching oneself and sticking to it especially when it’s not going well. People with this mindset have a strong interest in learning and improving their abilities. They constantly work to evolve their beliefs about themselves and the world which creates a powerful impact on their lives and helps them thrive during some of the most challenging times.  

Dweck describes this mindset best through the following exclamations, “Why waste time proving over and over how great you are,” she writes, “when you could be getting better?”

How is mindset formed?

Research has revealed that mindset is formed in early childhood mainly through praising and labeling. It found that praising a child’s talents or labeling them as “smart” promotes a fixed mindset. It sends a message to the child that they either have an ability or they don’t, and that there is nothing they can do to change that fact. While praising the child’s attempt emphasizes the effort they’ve put in to accomplish a task. It implies their success is due to the effort and the strategy they used, both of which they can control and improve over time. 

By this point, you’ve most likely guessed which of the sentences listed in the introduction refers to which mindset. If you chose sentence number 1, fret not!! Dweck’s research suggests that people are capable of changing their mindsets as it’s not set in stone. Stick around to our next blog post to learn how to shift your fixed mindset to a growth one and ultimately advance on the path of achieving your full potential. 

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