Your own beliefs and internal voices have a powerful influence on your present and future achievements. We’ve often heard the adage, “if you think you can or you think you can’t, you are right”, and this truth can affect us more often than we may realize. One way to look at your beliefs and see where you can improve is to examine your mindset. Do you have a “fixed” mindset, or a “growth” mindset.
A “fixed ”mindset means that you inherently believe that your talents, skills and intelligence are fixed traits. You believe you already have all of these assets you will possess. On the other hand, a “growth” mindset means that you believe that these talents and abilities can be developed through effort, and that new talents and abilities can be learned.
Maybe you’ve never examined your mindset, and never thought about whether you believe your traits are fixed or malleable, but it can pay to work on developing a growth mindset. As you go through life, there will be new skills you will want and need to learn, and your mindset will have a big impact on whether or not you’ll actually learn and develop these new skills.
I will give you a simple example from a client of mine. Helen had never had any natural artistic ability when it comes to drawing or painting. She tried a few times as a kid, and quickly internalized the fact that the subjects were fairly unrecognizable compared to that of her peers. So, she chalked it up to something she wasn’t good at and moved on. She developed a very fixed mindset about her artistic abilities.
Recently, a friend of Helen’s convinced her to attend one of those “sip and stroke” parties at an art gallery, where a teacher instructs the class on how to complete a painting. She was prepared for a disaster, but went along to have some fun. The teacher deconstructed each aspect of creating the painting they were assigned for the evening, showing them how to complete it step by step. Helen had a great time, and at the end of the night was pretty amazed at her painting. It was a reasonable rendering of the intended picture, and she could see a definite reflection of her own style in my painting. Helen was happy with it, and it hangs on her wall.
Helen doesn’t have any delusions that she might be the next Picasso. But, she now has a growth mindset about painting. She can be taught, and can get better. So, she will try again. The very fact that Helen will try again guarantees that she will become more adept at painting than she ever would have if she had never decided to try.
Take this simple example and apply it to something in your life that you really want to accomplish. Take a look at how you have viewed your skills in this area and how much faith you have put in your ability to improve those skills. If you have a fixed mindset about anything that you wish to accomplish, you are holding yourself back.