I recently read the book Mindset by Carol Dweck which tells you there are two mindsets that people have:
- The fixed mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities (ie intelligence, talent, character) are natural and fixed traits.
- The growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. A person’s true potential is unknown and unknowable and it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil & training. 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
As much as our culture talks about individual effort and self-improvement, deeps down, we revere naturals. We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as relatively ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary. – Malcolm Gladwell
I noticed that I have a growth mindset in some areas of my life, while in other areas I have a fixed mindset. This is particularly true for a lot of my right brained activities. I get frustrated with myself when I’m painting, drawing, or playing piano, and I can’t get it right the first time around. Instead of telling myself that I will improve through hard work and effort, I often put it away (sometimes for good).
I had played piano ever since I was a little kid and had lessons for over 10 years. I quit during college and couldn’t pick it back up as easily after years of hiatus. My piano then became a stranger to me and was tucked away in my parent’s basement collecting dust. I never touched it again. Maybe I just didn’t want to face the reality that it might take a lot more effort and practice to get where I used to be. Or worse, I was bad at it. I secretly believed that if I was naturally good at something, I didn’t have to try as hard.
In an effort to adopt a growth mindset in more areas of my life, I decided I was going to kick some old habits. Last week, I started reteaching myself piano. Some say it’s like riding a bike, and you never really forget. Well, THIS GIRL forgot how to ride a bike. Fo’real.
It can be really frustrating when you feel like you are starting back at square one, but with enough practice I began seeing the fruit of my labor. Even Jacob was telling me he sees a huge improvement (though husbands rarely will tell their wives they’re no good at XYZ. Happy wife = happy life.) I taught myself how to play the UP song (sheet music here) last week to get me warmed up, and now it’s time to roll up my sleeves! I am determined to finish the last piece I had worked on before I quit. It has been a bucket list item FOREVER. Anyone recognize this piece?
I’m grateful that we all have the capacity to grow and that a change in attitude / mindset can help you grow in so many areas of life.
A few other areas of life that the growth mindset can be applied to:
- Relationships: “Your qualities, your partner’s qualities, and your relationship’s qualities are things that can be developed with a growth mindset. A good, lasting relationship ones from effort and working through inevitable differences. In the fixed mindset, the ideal is instant, perfect, and perpetual compatibility.”
- Marriage: “Every marriage demands an effort to keep it on the right track; there is a constant tension between forces that hold you together and those that can tear you apart – John Gottman (BTW we love his marriage book and we look back at what we highlighted every so often).
- Children: Instead of praising your children for their talents or abilities, you should praise them for their efforts. “If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy effort, and keep on learning. That way their children don’t have to be slaves to praise.”
- Drawing: I’ve seen a lot of people use this book, Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, and drastically improve their skills. I actually ordered this, and it should be on its way!
In what areas of your life could you begin adopting the growth mindset?
Linking up with Treasure Tromp today (go link up your recent post there). This is week 37 of practicing gratitude. 15 more weeks to go! You can see my other gratitude posts by clicking on the banner below: