Posted on April 28, 2014 by Debra Burdick
What is mindset? According to the Oxford American Dictionary mindset is “the established set of attitudes held by someone’. Psychology professor, Carol Dweck, through more than three decades of systematic research, has been figuring out why some people achieve their potential while equally talented others don’t. The key, she found, isn’t ability; it’s mindset – it’s whether you look at ability as something inherent that needs to be demonstrated or as something that can be developed.
If you think you can only succeed if you were born with talent, then you don’t work to improve. If you don’t work to improve you don’t improve which reinforces your negative attitude about it. If you think you are poor at math, then you probably don’t stick with it long enough to learn how to master math problems. If you think no one would read your book then you don’t write it. If you think you don’t deserve to make more money, than you never ask for a raise or raise your fees.
On the other hand, Dweck discovered that you can learn to adopt the belief that you can develop your ability and that doing so increases your performance. She showed that sticking with something and not giving up before you master it is not only possible, but increases the likelihood you will succeed.
What is your mindset about your life and work? Take some time to think about what attitudes you hold that may be holding you back or, even better, moving you forward towards unlocking your potential. Write down things you have tried but given up on. Make a list of things you think you are really good at next to a list of things you don’t think you can do. Question yourself about why you think you are good or bad at something. Think about where your attitude came from. For assistance with this process contact Deb at www.TheBrainLady.com.
Perhaps a teacher made a negative comment on one of your papers and from then on you believed you were not good at that subject. My daughter took art classes from a local artist when she was in her teens. She would come home from class with amazing artwork but she would then point out everything that was wrong with her pictures. She said the teacher thought she wasn’t good at art. When I discussed this with her teacher, the teacher told me that my daughter was one of her best students with huge potential and that her negative comments were meant to teach her more about her craft. But my daughter stopped taking art classes, despite her obvious talent, because of how she interpreted her teacher’s comments. She adopted the attitude that she wasn’t good enough to continue – the exact opposite of the truth. It took lots of discussion to help her adopt a more positive attitude about her artistic talent.
Look at how your attitudes about things may be impacting your success. Did you make a career or business decision based on your mindset that you couldn’t succeed? Did you try something once and give up before you really mastered it? Is there something you feel passionate about but don’t pursue because of being held back by your mindset?
Adopt a more positive mindset and see what happens. Think about what you are trying to accomplish. Make a list of things you would like to do if you knew you couldn’t fail. Then pick one and imagine how you would feel if you already achieved it. Picture yourself succeeding and really feel the feeling. Pay attention to the feeling and keep it in front of you every day. Then take action that moves you towards your goal. Watch what happens as your positive mindset triggers you to try harder, learn more, and keep at it until you succeed. Don’t give up. Notice the people, resources, circumstances that seem to appear almost miraculously just when you need them to help you reach your goal. It’s as if your positive mindset becomes a magnet attracting everything you need for success.
I would love to hear your personal experiences with this topic.