Why Your Mindset Can Be An Invisible Glass Box (And How To Break Free)
The Glass Box
You could have lived your whole life up until this moment never realising that you were living inside a glass box of your own creation. That glass box is your mindset, the beliefs you hold about yourself, your experiences and what you can control determines your successes in every single aspect your life. The incredible thing is that this isn't a life sentence, you can choose a new perspective and create a phenomenal life by consciously making these changes.
Carol Dwecke Ph. D. author of Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential. “The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things that you value.”
What your attitude to failure tells you about your mindset
Mindset opens with a study Carol Dwecke did on students and how they manage difficult problems. The results astounded her and directed her life’s work.
“Confronted with the hard puzzles, one ten-year-old boy pulled up his chair, rubbed his hands together, smacked his lips, and cried out, “I love a challenge!” Another, sweating away on these puzzles, looked up with a pleased expression and said with authority, “You know, I was hoping this would be informative!”
She was baffled by these children’s responses. She had always thought you either coped with failure or didn’t- not that you may actually enjoy failing, this realisation inspired her to study these differences for more than 20 years.
“What did they know? They knew that human qualities, such as intellectual skills, could be cultivated through effort. And that’s what they were doing—getting smarter. Not only weren’t they discouraged by failure, they didn’t even think they were failing. They thought they were learning. I, on the other hand, thought human qualities were carved in stone. You were smart or you weren’t, and failure meant you weren’t. It was that simple. If you could arrange successes and avoid failures (at all costs), you could stay smart. Struggles, mistakes, perseverance were just not part of this picture.”
She dissects talent, skills and abilities in detail and shines the light of reality into previously unreachable areas, exposing them for what they are.
You do not have to be “born” talented, gifted or with a particular knack for something to achieve phenomenal success and greatness in your life. You can excel in a chosen field it takes dedicated practice, effort and time.
Intelligence and personality can be developed.
So which child is most like you?
The one who constantly feels the need to prove their worth, value and intelligence?
Or the one who views challenges as a chance to learn more and improve your skill set?
What Is A Mindset?
A mindset is defined as “a habitual or characteristic mental attitude that determines how you will interpret and respond to situations”. It is the view you hold about your personality, intelligence, creativity, moral characteristics, skills and abilities and whether you have any control over them. These beliefs about yourself hugely impact and drive your behaviour.
“Many people think of the brain as a mystery. They don’t know much about intelligence and how it works. When they do think about what intelligence is, many people believe that a person is born either smart, average or dumb-and stays that way for life. But new research shows that the brain is more like a muscle-it changes and it gets stronger when you use it. And scientists have been able to show just how the brain grows and gets stronger when you learn. The brain forms new connections and “grows” when people practice and learn new things. When you learn new things, these tiny connections in the brain actually multiply and get stronger. The more that you challenge your mind to learn, the more your brain cells grow. Then, things that you once found very hard or even impossible-like speaking a foreign language or doing algebra-seem to become easy. The result is a stronger, smarter brain.”
Dwecke cites many, many years of her own and others research into fixed vs. growth mindsets. She explains the effects that these mindsets have on individuals’ work, social life, relationships, learning, attempting new tasks and reaching an almost “superhuman” level of achievement in their field -be it the arts, sport or business. She offers case stories and studies of people with these different mindsets and the huge effect that they have in helping or hindering their progress toward their goals and in their life. She even explains why so many of us give up on something after ‘giving it a go’ and not excelling to the level we’d hoped in the limited time frame we set. This book opened my eyes.
You may not only hold one view of yourself, you may not solely operate from a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. You may hold a fixed mindset belief in some areas and a growth mindset in others of your life. This is often based on your experiences and the way influential adults interacted with you.
Do You Have A Fixed Mindset?
“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset--creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character—well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.”
It’s the belief that your lot in life, the cards you were dealt are pretty much the way they are and there’s little that can be done to change them.
“When an undesired outcome occurs one with a fixed mindset would see what happened as a direct measure of their competence and worth. This is what they’d think about their lives: “My life is pitiful.” “I have no life.” “Somebody upstairs doesn’t like me.” “The world is out to get me.” “Someone is out to destroy me.” “Nobody loves me, everybody hates me.” “Life is unfair and all efforts are useless.” “Life stinks. I’m stupid. Nothing good ever happens to me.” “I’m the most unlucky person on this earth.”
Reading these statements you will begin to understand which mindset you operate from and perhaps which areas of your life are negatively affected by your mindset toward your skills and abilities.
Operating from a fixed mindset can lead to:
You can see how self-limiting this mindset is and how it prevents you from reaching your true potential and becoming your best self. You can choose your mindset toward your life, your skills, abilities and yourself.
“Life is 10% what happens to me. 90% how I (choose) to react to it” part of this fantastic idea and quote from Charles Swindle that follows.
“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness or skill. It will make or break a company...a family… a relationship..a church...an organisation....a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past...we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and that is our attitude...I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it. And so it is with you...we are in charge of our attitudes.”
Do You Have A Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is the belief that the hand you’re dealt is just a starting point from which you can grow and develop.
“This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way—in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments—everyone can change and grow through application and experience. Do people with this mindset believe that anyone can be anything, that anyone with proper motivation or education can become Einstein or Beethoven? No, but they believe that a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.”
It is the belief that with continued effort, time, learning from mistakes and ongoing practice we can better our abilities. That we can rise to levels we previously only thought possible for those more skilled/talented than us. Incredible stuff!
What A Growth Mindset Looks And Sounds Like:
Cultivating and practicing this mindset of growth sets you free. You stop being a prisoner of your current skills, abilities and traits. You rise to meet challenges you are presented and you believe deep down that you are capable of more than you can imagine. You know that taking steps every single day toward what and who you most want to be is the way toward achieving it.
How To Break Free: Tips For Practicing A Growth Mindset
Some quotes to inspire you:
“It’s not (just) about the result it’s about building the identity of the type of person who gets to enjoy those results.” James Clear, habit, psychology and productivity writer at jamesclear.com.
Margaret Paul Ph.D. “We did not come to this planet to protect against failure. We came to fully and joyfully manifest ourselves, offering our love, gifts and talents to each other and the planet. Today, why not devote yourself to effort and excellence?”
What if today, reading this is the turning point in your life in which you let go of self-limiting beliefs ? It can be if you choose it.
It can be so much easier and save so much time and difficulty if you have someone in your corner, holding your hand, motivating and encouraging you. You can create massive change in your life and I'd love to help you achieve it as quickly, enjoyably and awesomely as you possibly can. Click here to apply for a free Health Transformation Session with me to see if my services are right for you.
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Want to read more of Carol Dwecke's awesome work, grab her book mindset here. (I am not an affiliate, I just love sharing helpful stuff :)
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