Mish says, “Your mind got your body where it is today. So change your mind to change your body.” For some people this can be a confronting statement, but it’s true.
Our mindset affects our ability to learn, and how we think about ourselves, and our life. But how does our mindset really affect our lives? And how do we change it?
The Fixed Vs. Growth Mindset
Carol Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford University Psychologist, has completed decades of research on the topic of success, achievement and the power of our mindset. Her book ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’, explains that success isn’t just about our raw talent or God-given abilities – it’s actually whether we approach tasks (and life) with a fixed or growth mindset.
What does that mean exactly?
The Fixed Mindset
In Dweck’s own words, “In a fixed mindset, students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that, and then their goal becomes to look smart all the time and never look dumb.”
The Growth Mindset
Says Dweck: “In a growth mindset students understand that their talents and abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching and persistence. They don’t necessarily think everyone’s the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.”
Why Is A Growth Mindset More Beneficial?
A growth mindset is one that thrives on challenges and sees failure not as a negative, but as an opportunity for growth and learning. These benefits are obvious, but most of us have experienced a fixed mindset in certain (or many) situations. When it comes to losing weight or getting fit, we’re all bound to come up against setbacks – the key of the growth mindset is to learn from them, and keep on going.
People with a growth mindset don’t let the results define them. It’s all about focusing on the process – not the end result. Rather than focusing on losing 20 kilos, plan to make healthy eating choices every day. Instead of worrying about running a half marathon, commit to consistent training several times a week.
Can I Really Change My Mindset?
Good news for all of us! You CAN change your mindset. No matter where you are in life, you can learn to use a growth mindset. Says Dweck: “Although people may differ in every which way, everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”
Aim to challenge yourself, regardless of the end result. Mish believes in setting SMART goals that are achievable, challenging and focusing on consistency and flexibility. Dweck agrees: “Why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset.”
How Do I Change My Mindset?
Tune into that inner voice! Work on challenging that inner voice that says, “You can’t run” the next time you tie up your sneakers, or “Why would you bother – you’ll never look like a supermodel” when you sign up for a class at the gym. When that voice says something negative like “Why even try that – you’ll fail”, answer it calmly but firmly with “I’m going to see how far I get before I fail.”
Try to do this as much as you can (you might find your inner voice is quite the chatterbox). Write down some favourite phrases of your inner voice in a notepad or journal. Add your responses, so you’ll have the tools ready when you need them. The key to doing this is consistency. The brain is just like any other muscle in your body – you have to keep working it to make it stronger. Even if you challenge just five of your thoughts each day, that’s 35 thoughts per week, or 140 a month!
It’s the actions you make daily that will build the person you become. Commit to making positive changes every day, and learning and developing new habits, and you’ll be showing the traits of someone with a growth mindset.