Updated: Mar 26
John Maxwell says change is inevitable, growth is optional. The question is, why do some people see challenges or change as an opportunity to grow whilst others give up?
This can be explained by growth and fixed mindsets. The important thing to note is that mindset is on a continuum. That means you don’t have to put yourself in one box or the other - you have the ability to alter and choose your mindset. So I invite you to become curious about which end of spectrum you're currently on and know that you have the power to change.
The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. - Carol Dweck
Assumes that our character, intelligence, talent and creative ability are static. “I am.. X, Y, Z” forever! In this state, failure is seen as permanent and when feedback is offered individuals see this as a negative. They tend to defend themselves because critique is viewed as a personal attack. Individuals with a fixed mindset choose easier tasks, avoid challenges and utilise minimal effort as they see that their talent is rigid. As they go through life, obstacles are seen as a reason to give up. There is a focus on measurable accomplishments and individuals in this state are threatened by the success of others.
It may show up in thoughts as:
"I’m not a... runner/academic/public speaker etc”
"They left me because.. I have a character flaw".
"I’m poor and can’t do anything to change this"
"I will never improve.."
Believe that the hand they’re dealt is just the starting point for development. That is, their character, intelligence and creative ability can be improved through practice or experience. Failure is seen as an opportunity to learn and feedback is welcomed - it’s an opportunity to cultivate growth! With this mindset you are more likely to embrace challenges, use more effort and see obstacles as a reason to discover another solution. Life is a journey of continual improvement and other peoples success is not a threat, it's empowering to see others achieve and shows that anything is possible.
It may show up in thoughts as:
“I’m willing to try.. run/learn/lead etc”
“I'm ready for the challenge”
"Glad that I had the experience , now I know what I want"
"I’m excited for... something new!
"I’m always improving and growing.."
The best way to treat obstacles is to use them as stepping-stones. Laugh at them, tread on them and let them lead you to something better. - Enid Blyton
Your mindset plays a huge role in how you approach many areas of your life and your willingness to persevere and value progress. How does this how up in your life?
Remember if you are seeing some themes of fixed mindset come up for you – that’s human! Being aware is the first step and know that you can choose to move towards a growth approach. Stay curious and play around with reframing your thoughts as they come up. How about swapping “I have to..” to “I get to..” OR “I’m not good at this” to “I’m not good at this yet”. Be gentle on yourself in this process and you may start to notice a shift.
If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward. -Martin Luther King
Ready to lean into ways to alter your mindset but don’t know where to start? Coaching is a beautiful space to discover how to embrace change, learn and grow. Reach out for a complimentary call and start your Wholehearted Journey!
Dwyer, C 2007, Mindset The New Psychology of Success, Ballantine Books.