Mindset – Be the Change you want to be
"It is hard to fail, but it is worse never to have tried to succeed"
Mindset – Be the Change you Want to Be
Every January we are bombarded with articles like ‘New Year, New You!’ ‘Be The Person You Want To Be!’ We are told that making simple changes to our diet or exercise habits, for example, will transform who we are. Information like this while well-meaning is also impractical. Obviously, it is impossible to change who we are. But one change that is practical and more importantly possible is adjusting the way we think or changing our mindset. So change your mindset to be the change you want to be.
What is mindset?
Mindset is a set of ingrained attitudes and opinions we develop from birth. It is your internal frame of reference for the way you view yourself and the world around you. Your mindset frames how you think about failure, how you react to setbacks, how you approach your goals and how you motivate yourself. With the right mindset, you can reach your professional and personal goals, become more resilient, realise your potential, recover from setbacks, and move from survival mode to thriving. According to Professor Carol Dweck, the thought leader in this field, there are two types of mindset- fixed and growth.
Fixed versus Growth Mindset
Those with a fixed mindset believe that they have a fixed set of skills that can’t be expanded on. It is a general belief that we are born with our lot, that we are naturally good at some things, not good at others and that’s just the way it is. Fixed mindset people say things like ‘I’m just not good at that,’ What’s the point in trying?’ or ‘Can I not just do that?’ They believe that talent alone creates success and that talent cannot be improved.
People with a growth mindset look at things very differently. Abilities are viewed as possible to develop through effort and hard work and that it’s never too late to learn. Failure is ok; they see the value in trying, and see new ventures as exciting challenges. People with a growth mindset are resilient, develop a love of learning and say things like, ‘Sure, I’ll give it a go!’ and ‘What’s the worst that could happen?’
We all have goals or New Year resolutions we want to achieve. These goals may relate to your career, relationships or education. Dweck believes that the journey towards achieving them can be just as satisfying as actually achieving them. The problem is those with a fixed mindset are reluctant to even start the journey.
5 Practical Steps towards a Growth Mindset
So what can we do to begin adjusting our mindsets from fixed to growth? Here are five practical tips to launch your process
Define what change means to you.
Spend fifteen minutes today writing down, recording, taking pictures, starting a storyboard that defines to you exactly what you mean by change. Forget about what others think and stop fearing what you should do. Instead, listen very carefully to yourself and hear what you want to achieve. As you do this, remember it is ok to dream big.
Devise a timeline.
Outline dates and pockets of time within which you can accomplish your goals. Be realistic and practical. Try not to set deadlines for times that you know you are on holidays or have very busy timelines at work. As you do this remind yourself that change is slow, that it requires effort and that it is hard BUT effortful thoughtful change is immensely powerful.
Achieve long-term goals by completing short-term steps. Divide your year into six-week sections. As you do this outline in precise detail what you are going to accomplish within each six-week section.
60 Seconds A Day
As your journey toward change begins, it is easy to get distracted. To avoid this dedicate 60 seconds or one minute every day to checking in with your goal. No excuses everyone has 60 seconds per day. That’s the equivalent of 365 minutes in total during 2017 to keep you on task. Ask yourself every night ‘What did I do today to help me reach my goal?’ or ‘What held me back from reaching my goal today?’ followed by ‘What can I do differently tomorrow?’
Failure is not final.
Lean into your mistakes and learn from them. No success is overnight, and no success is everlasting. Anybody who achieves something does so only through sustained, deep and effortful commitment. Remember everybody experiences setbacks but don’t let them define you. Learn from them and move on.
Changing how you think and the behaviours arising from your thoughts does not happen overnight. Moving from a fixed to a growth mindset requires both courage and effort. But by gradually adjusting your mindset to embrace failure, to learn from it, to love learning, to accept change and grow with it your confidence steadily builds. As it does your approach to your relationships, education, work or sport also changes. You become happier, more productive and more likely to achieve the goals you set for yourself in 2017 and beyond.