Monday, March 8, 2010

Change Your Mindset-Change Your Life

I just finished reading "Mindset: The new Psychology of Success" by Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D. The concept seemed simple. Some people have "fixed mindsets". They believe that we are what we are. We are as intelligent, artistic, athletic, moral and competent as we are, and we need to spend our lives proving it to the world. Each time that we fail to prove it, well, we are "failures". Other people have "growth mindsets". You start with basic assets and through effort, you improve on them. It is the trip, not the destination that matters. These people even have different brain waves in studies. People with a growth mindset thrive on challenge. Those with a fixed mindset run from challenge because it presents a risk of failure. Fixed mindsets opt for success over growth or improvement.
Teachers and parents can create fixed mindsets by telling kids that they are smart, athletic, etc. That things come naturally to them. So then, if and when they do not, the kids are failures. It is better to praise effort than aptitude. They can always try, but they can't always win. And rarely can they be flawless which is what the fixed mindset requires.
Relationships can suffer from a fixed mindset when one "friend" uses you as a vehicle to confirm their worth (e.g. the jokes at your expenses).
Fixed mindsets cause failed marriages when one or both parties expect instant communication and compatibility-without effort. After all, isn't that what true love is?
In break-ups, the one thought with fixed mindsets is revenge because they have been judged to be a failure, so the beloved now has become the enemy. They have to defend themselves by attacking someone else. They cannot tolerate the thought that they may be at fault.
The same happens with parents. If your parents didn't love you enough, were they bad parents or were you unlovable or bad?
The bottom line is that you have to recognize that your beliefs are holding you back, and that only you can change them. It's hard to do when you realize that your entire way of thinking and everything that your parents told you was wrong!

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