Times are tough, and depending on your mindset, times are always tough. Or they can be challenging; times that you can learn from, become stronger from and learn about yourself, recognising your accomplishments.
If you had to pick one of the following two options, what type of person are you:
Someone who is constantly faced with obstacles and problems. They get you down and you wonder when life is going to give you a break, just for a while, before the next disappointment.
Someone who rolls with the punches. You might stuff up and make mistakes, but you learn from them and see problems as challenges and opportunities to learn.
Can you guess which might mean you have more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset?
Psychologist Carol Dweck is a leading researcher in mindset. She studied the behaviour of thousands of children over a 30 year period. Not only did she coin the terms fixed Vs. growth mindset, she was fascinated with student attitude towards failure.
“The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.” — Carol Dweck
Having a growth mindset means that we believe our basic qualities and abilities are not set in stone and can be developed through effort. This is opposed to a fixed mindset, where we think the opposite - that we’re born with a certain amount of skill or talent and that’s that…”you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
Well, speaking as someone who spends most of his down time with dogs, you definitely can!
There is huge crossover between having a growth mindset and building resilience. Check out my 7 techniques that will give your resilience an immediate boost!
Here’s the science bit: we’re learning more and more about the brain every day. Advances in neuroscience indicate how the brain is so much more flexible than we previously thought. The connections between neurons can develop with our experience. New connections can be formed and existing ones can become stronger. These significant insights tells us that our actions can indeed make a difference when it comes to our thought patterns.
Love him or hate him, when Ed Sheehan was asked about how he achieved his huge success, he answered “When people say you are so talented and you’re born with natural talent, I say ‘no’. You have to really learn and really practice.”
Having a growth mindset does great things for us both personally and professionally. As healthy thinking habits become second nature, confidence grows not only in ourselves but in our ability to improve. We’re all faced with trauma and challenges through life, and these become much more manageable with a proactive outlook.
Just like our physical strength, if we want to be mentally strong then we have to do something about it. There are some simple* techniques that, when practiced daily, can have an immediate difference on our positivity, outlook and mindset.
*spoiler alert - as I’m regularly saying, ‘simple’ doesn’t always mean easy. As with any development, we need to put in the time, effort and commitment to see real change!