The Two Mindsets
According to Dr. Carol Dweck, L&V Eaton Professor of Psychology and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, there are two types of mindset. A fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
The Fixed Mindset
In a fixed mindset, people believe their qualities are basically traits they are born with and they cannot change. They believe that effort is something unnecessary and you either have it or you don't, they tend to give up easily when faced with a challenge, when they receive feedback they typically get defensive and blame others for the problem. Essentially, they think it is, in fact, like Maybelline, maybe you're born with it. You are born with an innate talent whereby effort is not required and this talent will, by itself, lead to success.
The Growth Mindset
Alternatively, those with a growth mindset believe that there is a direct link between their learning and intelligence and the effort and time they spend working on it. They believe there is always room for improvement, challenges are merely detours on the road to success, effort is something that must be given in every instance, feedback is an opportunity to learn and improve and when rejected or faced with a setback, they realise they were not giving it their all the first time.
Can Mindset be changed?
So, why does this matter? Well, as Enda McNulty of McNulty Performance and author of Commit! Make your Mind and Body stronger and Unlock your full potential so eloquently puts it "a fixed mindset locks you into your current life".
Therefore if you want to want to change your current life, then you will need a growth mindset. Why? Because a fixed mindset is going to lead you to continue to think and behave in the same way and when you think you can't do it, you won't do it; even if the best opportunity in the world comes along, you are going to be thinking "I don't know if I can do this..." and puff! the opportunity will be gone.
However, when you believe you can become smarter, run faster, lift heavier, change your attitude, make better choices, then you realise that the effort you put in has an effect on your success, so you will put in extra time and continue to learn and grow.
"Every time you make a new choice that is in alignment with your future
you are priming your brain to install the neurological hardware
to think, act and feel like the future person you want to be"
- Dr. Joe Dispenza
How do you change your mindset?
Now that we know mindset can be changed, how do we go about it? Well, there are multiple ways to do so.
All right, let's get the shameless self-plug out of the way... Hire a coach.
Hire a Coach
Working with a coach is possibly the quickest way to start seeing results because you have someone observing your behaviour, giving you direction, and checking in with you regularly, not to mention, a valuable resource to resort to when you have a question.
Doing it by Yourself
If you can't afford to hire a coach or don't have someone who is willing to help you out for free, then you can coach yourself. The first problem you are going to face is being honest with yourself, nobody wants to look themselves in the mirror and say things like: "I'm lazy" "I'm broke" "I sleep too much" "I'm fat" whatever the truth you have to face, this is the first step. Self-Awareness is the first step, you need to know where you are before you decide where you want to go.
The first principle is you must not fool yourself
and you are the easiest person to fool
- Richard P. Feynman
The biggest roadblock you will face...your physiology
No, I am not talking about the fact that you can't do it! REMEMBER! We are in a growth mindset now, not a fixed one.
Once you have faced the first step, it's going to get tougher. Now your mind is going to start really trying to stop you from changing. Why? because the brain is extremely lazy. Our brains ultimate goal is to preserve life and to do so whilst expending the least amount of effort.
It's why we have habits. Habits are when your body knows how to do something faster than the time it takes your conscious mind to think about it.
Think about all the things you do on a daily basis from breathing to walking, amongst others that you do unconsciously, all these things require energy.
Can you imagine your to-do list if you had to spend energy consciously acting on all of these items? I mean I'd rather not think about it.
So, if that's the case why don't we just change our habits? Well, if you have tried to change your less than desirable habits to better ones, you know just how difficult it is to do so. This is down to something known as myelin. You can think of myelin as an insulating layer (like an insulated electrical wire in a plug) around your nerve fibres which allows electrical impulses to transmit quickly and efficiently along the nerve cells from the brain to the muscles of the body. The more you perform an action, the more myelin wraps itself around the particular nerve cell related to that action or behaviour, allowing the signal to travel faster and faster.
Remember the saying practice makes perfect? Wrong; practice makes permanent. This is why habits are so hard to break, because myelin can only wrap, it cannot unwrap, but you can form new habits and start building up new myelin on your desired habit and make this new habit stronger and faster than the old one.
Okay, Brian! I'm with you but what do I do now?
Here are some quick actions you can take to get started on changing your mindset.
- Grab yourself a note pad and pen and write out 100 things you want to achieve in your lifetime, don't overthink it, just start writing your most absurd goals out, doesn't matter if you think you can achieve them or not, nobody is going to see this list. Just write them out.
- Pick 10 of those goals that mean the most to you. If you can, try pick 3 major ones (10+ years to achieve), 4 medium sized (5-10 years to achieve) and 3 small goals (1-3 years to achieve)
- Now that you have your goals set. Let's examine why you want to achieve them. I recommend my clients used the 5 why's exercise. The 5 why's operate like so:
1. Why do you want to achieve your goal
2. Why does [your answer] matter?
3. What difference will [your answer] make?
4. Why does [your answer] matter?
5. Why is that important to you?
You get the point, but let's put together an example to help you understand it better. Say someone wants to write a book.
What do you want to achieve?
I want to write a book.
Why do you want to write a book?
So that I can share what I have learnt with everyone.
What difference will sharing what you have learnt make?
My learnings have helped me change my life.
Why does changing your life matter?
Because I think there are people out there who want to change their lives too.
Why is that important to you?
Helping someone change their life is important to me because I want to contribute to the world, to have an impact, a legacy.
Why is having an impact and leaving a legacy important to you?
By leaving a legacy, I know my life was significant and it meant something.
Did you catch it?
We just unveiled that being significant is important to this person. Significance. It was never about writing a book. Writing a book is just the means by which they achieve their deeper goal or underlying motivation.
Try it for yourself, you don't have to share it with anyone. I mean, you can even say this is stupid Brian! Crumple it up and throw it away but I don't think you will, I think you will find this exercise really really useful.
When you don't feel like sitting down to start writing a few pages on your new book, you will be able to call upon your deep seeded motivation and remember why this is important to you.
The best way to predict the future is to create it
- Peter Drucker
Now that you got your very own motivational battery on stand by, it is time to take action. Understand, that no amount of exercise, quotes or mantras will help you manifest your goals into your reality without work.
So, I ask you what actions can you take to get started today? What can you do today to get moving towards your goals?
Let me know in our social media channels comments or DM me on Instagram I can't wait to hear the big things you and your new mindset are going to achieve!