Our mindset has a profound impact on our life because it determines how we interact, behave, perceive, and engage with the world around us. We seldom, however, give our mindset a second thought, perhaps assuming that it’s innately inborn and something beyond our control. Many people assume that we either have a positive mindset that sees the glass as half full, or a negative one that sees it as half empty. Fortunately, and because of neuroplasticity over time, our mindsets can change and grow.
In our day-to-day lives, our mindset determines how we approach challenges and obstacles. Do we see things from a more negative viewpoint, or do we see challenges as opportunities to grow and learn? The good news is that you can develop and change your mindset in any situation because you have one phenomenal component in your life: choice! You can choose how to see your world around you. Your mindset is the belief you have about something, and we all know that our beliefs aren’t always correct. Beliefs are concepts we deem to be true without having any empirical evidence, but we have the ability to change our beliefs and therefore our mindset.
According to leading mindset researcher Professor Carol Dweck, there are two distinct mindset types.
The Two Different Mindset Types
1. Fixed mindset
As the word indicates, a fixed mindset person believes that our abilities and qualities are predetermined. This means that we’re born with certain predispositions that we cannot change or control. A fixed mindset focuses on winning and achieving for the benefit of being acknowledged and respected by others. A fixed mindset approach requires constant validation from others. If the person perceives that he/she won’t be able to achieve an outcome because of the lack of capability, this translates into them not putting in the required effort because they doubt their success. If failure does occur, the person doesn’t try again but gives up and believes that they aren’t good enough.
2. Growth Mindset
On the other side of the spectrum is the growth mindset – here the belief is that a person’s qualities and abilities can grow and develop with effort, experience, discipline, and engagement. The focus is on learning mastery and competence in self-selected areas. Results and outcomes don’t determine who we are, or what our potential is; rather they’re an indication of the amount of effort we apply right now. If the person doesn’t succeed the first time around, they develop the thinking style of “not yet, but soon”. They get up, contemplate how to approach the situation differently, and try again. Their emphasis is on the process applied not the actual outcome.
You may be wondering why it matters which mindset type you have. It matters profoundly because it clearly affects your ability to achieve goals, performances and being successful. Our mindset type can hinder or enable us, and this determines which strategies we’ll apply. It dictates how we respond to setbacks, the energy and effort we use to tackle situations, and in the end our success in goal attainment. Statistics show that a growth mindset is successful more often and is able to maintain that level consistently.
Mindsets in Organisations
If we take this concept one step further and assume that companies operate in the same frame as individuals, we can then conclude that companies have a certain primary mindset culture. Let’s hypothetically assume that a company has a fixed mindset culture, which is shown in its structures, policies, processes, operational activities and task execution. Outcomes and targets are distinctly measured and not attaining them means failure. Mistakes are punished, people are labelled as incompetent, and no learning is taken from mishaps. Leadership cascades that energy into its workforce, which may hamper employees from being self-motivated, creative, innovative thinkers, learners of mistakes, and eager to experiment with new ways of doing things. Growth is overshadowed by the company’s habitual system.
If the above concept is true; should leaders not be focusing on changing their company’s mindset? Companies like Apple, Google, and Virgin actively apply a growth mindset culture and we know what phenomenal success they’ve achieved. Perhaps it’s time to review what parts of your company are stuck in a fixed mindset and which aren’t.
Make the shift to a healthier growth mindset culture where you can learn from mistakes, and focus on the processes you apply rather than the final outcomes.
Dweck, C. S. (2006). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: The Random House Publishing Group.
Resilience is an essential component to our overall wellbeing. Not to mention that it is a fundamental strength to have when engaging with dynamic change situations. We might think it is an inborn trait and that everybody has it, but that is a false assumption.
Resilience is core strength to obtain in this ever changing world, where seldom one day is the same as the next. Adversity and flexibility are survival tools and we need resilience when the going gets tough. When things do not play out the way we planned or hoped for. That adds to many days.
Resilience is standing up when we get knocked down, to dust ourselves off after a fall and have the energy to try it all again. We do this because we believe that the end result is worth it! We want to give it all and we know that a setback will not stop us from trying again and again.
A growth mindset and resilience are like mother and daughter. I guarantee you that you will experience failure in life situations and that you might detour before you reach a goal, but it is all about your mindset during the process. Focusing solely on the final destination, the outcome is draining and often a recipe for disaster. The smarter method is to concentrate, plan and work on the multiple processes that lead to the desired outcome. For these continuous forward-moving mini-steps we require resilience, as the path is seldom smooth.
The brilliant news is that resilience can be learnt and developed, but how? As a starter by asking these questions:
- Why not? We often find millions of excuses of why it will not work but let us for a moment think why it could work?
- Design and create a personal “pick-me-up” mantra that you can repeat to yourself over and over in tough times. Do not sensor it, even if you think it is cheesy. If “Just do it” works for you GREAT. Program yourself for success. What is your personal positive mantra?
- Develop a reliable and supportive social system around you for those moments when you cannot do it yourself. A person who you can lean on for encouragement and motivation. Who gives you the strength to try again, because they know you can.
Resilience is a mental mind muscle we all own but in some of us it is more prominent. Visualize resilience as your personal six pack. Some of us have really worked our tummy abs and have developed an admirable six pack whilst others have opted to relax the muscle and make it is less visible. Fact is we all possess these stomach muscles; we just need to train them consciously. Resilience is exactly the same, an impressive six pack. Train that mental mind muscle and become more resistant to life’s “punches.”
Sound all too easy? Guess it is when you commit to develop your resilience muscle.
Before we leave you to train that resilience-six-pack the question might be “What’s in it for me?”
Here are 5 reasons on how you can benefit from resilience.
- Cope better with pressure and stress
- Feeling more energized at work or with life
- Improve focus and attention span
- Enhancing personal self-development and growth
- Build stamina to commit, engage and perform
We are constantly being bombarded by the media and social networks with tips and advice for making New Year’s resolutions. You can’t open any social media platform these days without seeing recommendations on goal setting, planning, resolutions, statistics and self-improvement advice. The suggestions are endless… “try this, stop that, and change this…”, and the list goes on!
Research shows that more than half of the population do not make New Year’s resolutions. I’d like to know how that figure can be true if we look at the information flood in the media? Also, a meagre eight percent of people successfully accomplish their resolutions. The generation who are under 30 seem to be the most successful with thirty-seven percent of them who are successful with their resolutions. With such a low success rate, I find it hard to believe that we still continue with this “mindless” tradition.
Let me transgress for a moment and explore the origin of this tradition. New Year’s resolutions date back 4000 years to the ancient time of the Babylonians who celebrated New Year for three months from January to March. During this time, the Babylonians promised their Gods that they would dutifully repay their debts and return borrowed objects to their rightful owners. These intended gestures were so that the Gods could bestow blessings and good fortune onto the people. Fast forward to the 21st century and this religious tradition has shifted to us making promises to ourselves on self-improvement and development.
Studies have shown that self-improvement focuses on four main topics. Forty one percent of people resolve to enhance their personal development and education, followed on the heels by forty percent promising to improve their money matters. Then there are thirty-four percent who focus on health and weight topics and twenty-two percent on cultivating healthier relationships.
Also, the origin of the word “resolution” stems from the 14th century Anglo-French and Latin language and directly translated means “to break down into small parts”. Taking the lead from this definition, it provides a possible answer as to why by the end of January our positive intentions have petered out and lost energy.
Perhaps the answer lies in our mindset thinking? Our New Year’s resolutions might be hairy, audacious goals that we truly want to achieve, but with an unrealistic timeframe. It took us time to master our existing habits, and obviously, they cannot be undone in 10, 30 or even 90 days. We consciously, or sub-consciously perhaps, repeated the negative habit on a very regular basis, which allowed pathways to be developed in our brain. If we look at neuroscience, the evidence suggests that neurons that fire together wire together. To replace negative with positive wiring, we must undergo two simultaneous processes. Firstly, we must stop thinking and doing the negative stuff so that with time the neuropathways starve and die-off. At the same time, we should very diligently and regularly engage in new positive behaviour to get new pathways connecting with each other. This process of the new neurons starting to fire together can take anything from ninety days to six months, depending on the conscious regularity. Only after six to nine months does the new positive habit become automated and part of our natural behaviour.
A second reason for the high New Year’s resolution failure rate is that we are not crystal clear of the underlying reason, the WHY, for the desired change. The WHY factor is a very important and often overlooked component and is the motivation driver that keeps us focused and committed when we have wobbles, self-doubt, exhaustion or feel overwhelmed. Start with understanding the WHY for the New Year’s resolution. Write down reasons and benefits WHY you want to pursue change.
There is nothing wrong with wanting to change for the better and setting resolutions, however it’s a mindset to keep throughout the year. Going back to the Latin origin of the word “resolution” (break into small parts) we should consider breaking down our resolutions into monthly ones. At the end of every month we should take stock of the progress made, the learning experienced and then celebrate our wins. It’s important to do all three of these elements every time.
New Year’s resolutions are positive intentions and promises for our own self-betterment and improvement, so let’s move the success ratio upwards.
The year is just about done! You’ve survived another twelve months that at some times felt like time was flying past and other times was dragging. For some, 2016 was a magical year while for others a challenging one. Either way, we’ll all agree that it was an adventurous year filled with unexpected events, surprise outcomes, joyful moments and heart-breaking sadness. Like a good soap opera… a bit of something for everyone.
December is usually a time for reflection where we look back over the past year, and look forward to the new one. We savour moments, events and people who made the year unique and special, and think about personal changes that we need to make or things that we want to do differently next year. We all have dreams and goals; some are large and will take proper planning while others are small. Then there are those niggly behaviours that we want to change; we want to stop this or that and start something else. Both involve that dreaded word “change”!
Planning on setting goals
Even with the best intentions, we sometimes don’t move forward towards change. We’ve got the willpower and desire, but external factors get in our way. We need to learn to prepare and expect these external factors and work with or around them. You may not be able to control your external environment; however, you can control how you choose to perceive them.
Are these factors excuses or opportunities?
Are they moments to be flexible, and realign our thinking so that we can achieve our goals?
The path to goal attainment is like a treasure hunt. You know you’ll get to the finish line but on the way, you encounter challenges, detours and obstacles. That’s life – it doesn’t flow in a straight line.
As you reflect on what changes you want to make next year, take some time to answer these 10 questions will crystalize your way forward and help you stick to your New Year’s resolutions:
What precisely do I want to change?
- What will I gain from the change?
- Out of a score of 1 to 10, how much do I value the outcome?
- What are my options to reach my goal?
- How am I going to track my progress?
- Whose support can I count on?
- What will indicate that I am stuck?
- When am I going to start?
- What action am I going to take in the next 3 hours, 3 days and 3 months?
- Who is going to partner with me and hold me accountable?
Often, we don’t have the discipline to hold ourselves accountable. It’s human nature to find reasons when we start going off track. We don’t have the willpower to stay outside of our comfort zone, and it takes loads of energy to persistently do something differently and progress is at a snail’s pace.
When you’re working towards stretch ‘Everest goals’ it is advisable to have a coach and mentor by your side. It’s important to do this right from the start and not only when it gets tough. Find someone to cheer you on, be your sounding board and raise you up when you are feeling low.
If you need assistance in setting your 2017 goals or want a coach to support and motivate you, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively contact us for our coaching package specials.