Okkkayyy, so I know you come here for fashion inspiration, makeup tips, and home decor typically. Today we will be talking about the seemingly vastly different topic of mindset.
I think you will find, however, that it’s all relative. What we believe is the basis for everything that we do and pursue in life.
In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Carol Dweck shows that there are basically two categories of thought surrounding mindset. Most people fall mainly into one of these two categories, though there may be some areas where they overlap.
The two categories are fixed mindset and growth mindset. Fixed mindset people believe that things like character, intelligence, creative ability, and even interpersonal skills are innate and unchangeable. Either you have it or you don’t. And if you have to work really hard at something then you don’t have it.
Growth mindset people believe that there is potential for growth in all of those categories. They also see the necessity of hard work as an opportunity for expertise rather than a statement of identity.
The implications of these two mindsets are far-reaching. The fixed mindset person will avoid taking risks simply to avoid failure. For these people failure is not an option. Failure is not viewed as a learning opportunity but rather as an identity statement.
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Our Society Breeds the Fixed Mindset
Dweck used education as a setting for her research often throughout the book. I want to share with you an example from my upbringing.
A’s were the name of my game in high school. I got praised/rewarded by them and for them but didn’t have to do a thing to earn them. It wasn’t hard for me to complete my work, turn it in on time, and ace tests without studying. By my senior year, I wasn’t doing any homework at home. Instead I was getting it done in the class before it was due or during my one free period.
And then I got two A minuses. Or so I’ve thought for the last 12 years. I found one of my report cards while I was home recently and they were actually B pluses. We’ll come back to this.
My parents punished me for these “A minuses” because I wasn’t reaching my potential. Although I’m sure the punishment was not harsh, this deeply affected me. I couldn’t fully explain why until reading this book. Now, I don’t blame them because they didn’t know. Based on the fixed mindset this makes sense, if I got an A in everything else, a B+ was a failure in comparison.
Here’s the clincher.
This class that I got a B+ in (that was so traumatic for me my mind switched them to A minuses for the last 12 years) was Advanced Placement English. I worked harder at that class that all of the others combined. When I think back on the class now, I have such fond memories of it. Our teacher was incredible and treated us like college students for that hour. He lectured briefly and then we were free to move about the building to work or hang out with our friends.
Up until this point, I had never engaged with literature in such a way. We were encouraged to see both what the author was attempting to portray and our own personal interpretation of the work.
I did do homework at home for that class and I had to study immensely for grammar/writing tests. A seed was planted that blossomed into a love for reading beyond my comprehension and writing there in Mr. Ball’s class.
I’m not crying, you’re crying!
Everything in me doesn’t want to admit that I’m tearing up while I write this, but I think you should know the immense impact the fixed mindset has on our lives.
That B plus overshadowed my love for writing. I defended my grade by saying I just wasn’t that good at English. Grammar just wasn’t my thing.
But that hard-earned B plus actually proved that I was good at learning English. That I could meet it’s challenge with great effort. There was so much potential in me to develop my knowledge of writing and grammar beyond that class.
The Fixed Mindset Followed Me…
Throughout college I could easily ace Gen Ed courses and had to work extremely hard for my B’s in Nursing courses. I labeled myself a bad test taker and believed that I was a failure for being a B student.
But what if?!
What if I had believed that a hard earned B was better than an easy A?
What if I had praised myself for my effort rather than beating myself up for it not coming easier?
What if I had not labeled myself a bad test taker (nursing test questions are stupid btw – all answers are correct you have to choose the best one/ highest priority) but seen each test as an opportunity to learn and taken risks on different study methods?
My husband thinks I should have gotten “x,y,z” done while he was at work. Which I interpret as “I am a bad wife.” Even though, I really could have gotten at least “x” done even with children and blog responsibilities. Admitting that would mean I was a failure.
My kid starts hitting me after I’ve said “leave your brother alone!” 15 times at the grocery. “I am a bad mom.”
This is hard, I’m feeling faint, I can’t push through this. “I am a bad exerciser.”
…into my career.
I only work PRN hours and I can’t recall the anatomy of the heart in random conversation. “I am a bad nurse.”
This is so HARD. “I am a bad businesswoman.”
I got a B+ in AP English. “I am a bad writer.”
This is ridiculous.
It seems that way doesn’t it?! There are so many obvious alternative responses to my blanket identity statements of failure.
I can see the effects a fixed mindset in sooooo many more areas of life. Do you relate to this on any level?!
If you do, don’t worry, there is hope for those of us who think we are set in our ways. We will be diving into what growth mindset is and why I think it’s worth your time to explore this concept next week!
In the meantime, examine how you talk to yourself. What are you believing about yourself in regards to your character, intelligence, creativity, and people skills?!
Also Carol Dweck’s book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success is only $8.79 on amazon. I HIGHLY recommend you read it if you are in education, a parent, or any other type of leadership position. This research has the power to transform any work environment, school, church, home, etc.