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It's time to mind your mind
What is “mindset”?
Mindset is your set of attitudes and beliefs that govern your responses in a given situation. Many of those beliefs will be subconscious and they will create the filter through which you interpret what’s happening around and to you at a given time or relating to a given task.
Translation: mindset is how you’ll go about approaching something in your life.
“Mindsets are just beliefs.
They’re powerful beliefs, but they’re just something in your mind,
and you can change your mind.”
~ Carol Dweck
You’ve probably heard the sentiment that “you can’t control what happens to you, only how you’ll respond to it”. Mindset is the filter that creates that response.
The good news: you can learn to shift your mindset, which means shifting your responses.
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One of the most famous frameworks on mindset (though not the only one) is Carol Dweck’s work on Growth Mindset.According to Dweck:
In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point.
This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.
This may sound simple, but in application it’s powerful. From this view point all we achieve over time can be broken down to smaller and smaller component skills and parts ~ if we’re patient, tenacious, and focus on what’s in front of us we can work on gradual change and build success with time.
Growth vs Fixed Mindset
Dweck says mindset is a domain-specific spectrum. On one end is growth, the opposite is fixed. A fixed-mindset is one where we think success is pre-determined by our innate talents. Weren’t given that talent at birth? You can’t succeed.
Hallmarks of the fixed mindset are phrases like “I can’t do it” or “that’s how it is”. These sentiments imply there’s a boundary on what’s possible. The idea that maybe someone else can, but not me.
You can have different mindsets in different areas of your life.
On the one hand you might know you’re a rock-star in the garden and see challenges as opportunities to learn new skills, but totally shut down when you and your partner hit a roadblock. You could be willing to work in the gym to gain more physical fortitude, but tell yourself that nutrition change “just doesn’t work for me”.
Changing Your Mindset From Fixed to Growth
Here’s a full episode from the Better Than Fine podcast on mindset and how to shift it:
A few key takeaways from that episode on how to shift your mindset:
Focus on process over outcome. Celebrate process wins (like when you’re consistent or work through a block of some kind) instead of only outcome wins.
Learn to let go of perfectionism. Focus on what’s “good enough” and let yourself feel satisfied, then focus on something else.
Seek out feedback. One hallmark of a growth mindset is the response to feedback. Because those with a fixed mindset feel threatened by struggle they respond negatively to feedback. Those who want growth seek feedback out. Use your response to feedback to gauge how growth oriented you’re becoming.
Recognize fixed mindset phrases… then add “…yet”. Fixed mindset phrases are statements of your limitations like “I can’t do this”. By adding “… yet” to the end you immediately reframe your limitation into an opportunity for growth.
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Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The new psychology of success. Random House.