Few years ago, I was introduced by a family friend to a lady who just started building her personal brand on social media. She was looking for a magician to help her grow her followers. During our first conversation, her demand was simple, and clear, “I want you to get me, 100,000 followers, within in the next one month”. Since I wasn’t a magician, that was the first and last time we spoke.
What mindset do you think her attitude demonstrated; a growth mindset or a fixed mindset? You may say it’s a growth mindset because she wanted to grow fast. But what she really demonstrated was a fixed mindset. You see, when we talk about growth and fixed mindset, people often imagine someone that is still using Hotmail, or someone that is stuck in some old habit unwilling to change. But you also demonstrate a fixed mindset when you are attracted to shortcuts rather than the process of growth.
We often overestimate the importance of a single event like running a marathon; and we underestimate the importance of little daily actions like waking up and running 5 miles every day. When we think about weight loss, we want to lose 30 pounds in one month. When we think of business, we want to make a million-dollar in one year. By thinking in terms of result instead of the process, we fall victim to a fixed mindset. We deceive ourselves to believe that we are thinking big; whereas what is really happening is that we are demonstrating our fixed mindset. We don’t want to go through the natural process of learning and growing. We want shortcuts.
What other ways do people demonstrate a fixed mindset versus a growth mindset? In this video, we look at four different ways to distinguish your mindset, what influences your mindset and what to do if you have a fixed mindset. Before we get to it be sure to subscribe to After School TV for more insightful videos like this.
Result Vs Process
Do you often wonder why old people are more resistant to change than young people? There is even a saying that “youth and age will never agree”. Because while the old wants to maintain the long held proven way of doing things, the young is primed to challenge and disrupt it. Truth is that as we get older, we begin to accept that anything valuable takes time to build. Be it a relationship, business or career.
It takes a lot of mental strength to cultivate new habits, and stay through the long process of building something from bottom up. If you want to start a YouTube channel for example, the mere thought of starting from zero subscribers and zero view can be defeating for majority of people. Even when you are determined to take the chance, you are naturally tempted to look for a shortcut to jump from zero to at least 1,000, then 10,000 and 100,000.
One of the main reason people usually don’t start and stick with what they want to do is because the thought of going through the usually slow growth process can be defeating. So we spend the time we are supposed to be putting in the daily little effort on running around looking for shortcuts. This here is the fixed mindset because your mind is fixed on the result and not the process of growth.
You have a growth mindset when you are focused on the process of growth. You understand that results are an accumulation of daily little effort. It’s not the results that set you apart; rather the dedication to daily practice. You are not a writer because your article was published in a popular magazine. You are a writer because you show up and write every day. You are not an artist because you painted a beautiful portrait of Monalisa. You are an artist because you show up and paint every day. Fixed mindset focus on the result; Growth mindset focus on the process of developing the habit to show up consistently.
Natural Talent Vs Practice
I used to work with a talented employee. He had the natural talent for what he does. But his talent was evidently raw. It was obvious from the job he delivers that he needed to work on his natural talent. I tried as much as I could to get him to study and develop his talent. But he wasn’t willing to improve. After months of trying, I had to find a replacement.
Talented people are often like the beautiful damsel, who had been told all her life that she is a beautiful princess, perfect the way she is and a price to be won. She doesn’t see any need to improve any other thing about herself or engage in intelligent conversation because; in her world, she is too beautiful to try. Like beauty, talent can be a huge asset if refined from its raw form to pure gold. But when you rely too much on your talent than the discipline it takes to learn and refine it, you develop a fixed mindset and stagnate.
People with fixed mindsets adore talent. They believe in the enormous power of natural talent. They believe people who are gifted at something do not have to try so hard at it. This mindset makes it difficult for them to work on improving themselves without questioning their own talent. So they prefer to avoid difficult learning situations. But people with a growth mindset understand that talent, in its raw form, is overrated. It must go through fire to come forth as gold.
Approval Vs Development
Have you ever met someone who looks well packaged, good to look at and admirable? Then you try to have a conversation and they barely have any real knowledge or life experience about anything? This is what happens when people are more focused on gaining other people’s approval than actually developing themselves. When your attention is focused on your appearance and you give little attention to actual development, you have a fixed mindset.
Now, this comes in many other ways. Another instance is someone who is fond of talking about their previous success. They expect to get approval for the little success they achieved in the past without having any new goals. People with fixed mindsets seek approval; people with growth mindsets seek development and let their work speak for them.
Failure Vs Learning Opportunity
Michael Jordan had a period in his life when he was missing a lot of important shots during games. He fluffs 26 potentially winning shots. This was someone the world considers today as the greatest basketball player of all time. He took his failures as feedback to practice and work on his weakness. By the end of his career, he had the best shooting techniques on the court. People with growth mindsets see setbacks as opportunities to learn something they don’t know; while people with fixed mindset see setbacks as dead ends. If your attention is fixed on the result, you are more likely to see setbacks as failures. Your lack of focus in the process will derail you from evaluating your actions to find out what you might be doing wrong.
What Influenced Our Mindset?
Two primary entities determine whether we develop growth or fixed mindset. One is our parents or the adults we grew up with. According to Carol Dweck, researcher and author of the book, Mindset, mindset development begins at birth. Kids generally have growth mindset. The adult in the child’s environment – usually the parents – plays a huge role in determining whether the child maintains its desire to grow or adopts a fixed mindset. Parents influence the mindset of their children.
The other entity that influenced our mindset is the school system. When education is focused on the result of tests and exams and not on the curiosity and process of learning, it shouldn’t be surprising how the majority of people developed a fixed mindset.
What if you have a Fixed Mindset?
Just like we can work-out to develop bigger muscles, we can retrain our brain to adopt a growth mindset. It wouldn’t be an easy process just like building six packs isn’t easy but it can be done.
Start with taking your focus away from results and start focusing on the process. If you have been picturing yourself standing and speaking before a large audience but are held back by the fear of speaking in public; join a speaking club and start with your first speech project. Then focus on developing the habit to speak once a month. Like the lady who wanted 100,000 followers in one month, focus instead on forming the habit of posting interesting content once or twice a day. Focus your goal on developing little daily routines than on getting the end result. Stop faking it to your friends and to strangers on social media, and actually start being the person.
A fixed mindset may prevent you from failing in the short–run, but in the long–run it hinders your ability to learn, grow, and develop. When you let the results define you — your talent, your grade, your job, your performance, or your appearance — you become the victim of a fixed mindset. But when you dedicate yourself to showing up each day and focusing on the habits that form a better identity of who you want to be, that’s when you learn and grow. That’s what a growth mindset looks like in the real world.
If you found this video helpful, remember to like and share it with someone. If you are yet to subscribe to After School TV, now is a good time to hit the subscribe button. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!