Do You Have a Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset?

by Drago on September 27, 2013

in Uncategorized


Monday Morning Motivator

The Adam Ad Group

Quote Of The Week – We must all suffer from one of two pains: the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The difference is discipline weighs ounces while regret weighs tons. (Jim Rohn)

Word Of The Week – Tergiversation (ter-jiv-er-say-shun) : evasion of straightforward action or clear-cut statement : equivocation
eg :
Ken’s speech was marked by tergiversation and gave few indications of where he really stood on the issue.

Proverb Of The Week – To answer before listening that is folly and shame. (Proverbs 18 verse 13 The Bible)




Do You Have A Growth Mindset or Fixed Mindset?


This week weshare a great message from ex-NHLer, coach and author Ryan Walter. Ryan’s message about the “How of Happiness” and how it affects our leadership and performance is a powerful reminder about how important it is in terms of what we feed our minds. Thoughts do become actions, I can attest to this being a former professional hockey goalie. It was a constant mental battle to overcome nerves, fear and anxiety at time before big games and when I didn’t, my play on the ice was reflective of my thoughts.

In today’s message we focus on some ideas that help us INFLUENCE our thinking in order to increase our performance and happiness.

But before we get into the HOW… let’s remind ourselves why what we choose to think plays such a large role in creating this happiness that consistently generates high-performance. I would like to recommend a couple of great books that I have read on this subject: Mindset by Carol Dweck and Mindfulness by Ellen Langer.

I would also like to give you a little glimpse into the future… my next book will be called MYnd Shift. I am convinced that the context (or how we position our thinking) we create with the thoughts we allow…. controls our lives. Perspective is everything.

Happiness comes mostly from how-we-choose-to-see-life.

One key concept that always migrates to the forefront of my research around happiness and high performance, is the idea that our subconscious minds cannot differentiate between reality and non-reality.

“In one experiment, Japanese researchers blindfolded a group of students and told them their right arms were being rubbed with a poison ivy plant. Afterward, all 13 of the students’ arms reacted with the classic symptoms of poison ivy: itching, boils, and redness. Not surprising…until you find out that the plant used for the study wasn’t poison ivy at all, just a harmless shrub. The students’ beliefs were actually strong enough to create the biological effects of poison ivy, even though no such plant had touched them.

Then, on the students’ other arm, the researchers rubbed actual poison ivy, but told them it was a harmless plant. Even though all 13 students were highly allergic, only 2 of them broke out into the poison ivy rash!”

Dr. Marcel Kinsbourne, a neuroscientist at the New School for Social Research in New York, suggests that our expectations create brain patterns that can be just as real as those created by events in the real world.

Ali Crum and Ellen Langer teamed up to perform an experiment on the cleaning staff of seven different hotels. “They told half of the employees how much exercise they were getting every day through their work, how many calories their daily activities burned, how similar vacuuming is to a cardio workout, and so on. The other half of the cleaning staff, as the control group, was given no such good news.

At the end of the experiment, several weeks later, Crum and Langer found that those who had been primed to think of their work as exercise had actually lost weight; not only that, but their cholesterol had also dropped.”

The first key to staying happy is to feed our subconscious with the type of information that generates the life that we want to live. Worry less about how to get it… focus our minds on the end-goal of who we want to BE and what we want to ACCOMPLISH.

What changed? Expectations!

In her foundational book, Mindset, Carol Dweck explains the difference between the Growth mindset and the Fixed mindset. “A growth mindset is not dismissive of innate ability; it merely recognizes, as Dweck explains, that ‘although people may differ in every which way – in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments – everyone can change and grow through application and experience. Her research has shown that people with fixed mindsets miss choice opportunities for improvement and consistently underperform, while those with a ‘growth mindset’ watch their abilities move ever upward.'”

“In another of her studies – this one in Hong Kong – Dweck showed how growth mindsets lead people to maximize their potential, while fixed mindsets hold us back. At the University of Hong Kong, classes, textbooks, and exams are all in English, so you have to speak the language well to be successful. But many students are not fluent in English when they start classes, so as Dweck says, ‘It would make sense for them to do something about it in a hurry.’ To these students, her team of researchers posed the question: ‘If the faculty offered a course for students who need to improve their English skills, would you take it?’”  

“Then they also assessed each student’s mindset: Did they think their intelligence was fixed and couldn’t be changed? Or did they think they could improve their intelligence? It turns out that the students with a growth mindset were the ones who gave ‘an emphatic yes’ to the opportunity to take the English course, while those with a fixed mindset chose on the whole to skip it. Those who simply believed in their own power to change followed a course of action that maximized their college performance. The others, given the same opportunity, squandered it.”

Dweck proves what most of us know instinctively. How many times have we observed hockey players or very talented athletes who constantly under-performed and therefore consistently lost jobs to other athletes with less talent but more drive? Growth mindset triumphs over fixed mindset every time.

Richard Branson’s words relate well to this subject: “My biggest motivation? Just to keep challenging myself. I see life almost like one long University education that I never had – every day I’m learning something new.”

Getting unstuck from the FIXED mindset increases our happiness dramatically, choosing the LEARNING mindset throughout our lifetime opens up huge opportunity.

There is a third simple action we can all take to stay happy. It is highlighted in the following experiment, as describe by Dr. Atkin:

“In one experiment, 46 students were given $20 to spend. The ones who were told to spend the money on others (for instance, by treating a friend to lunch, buying a toy for a younger sister, or donating to charity) were happier at the end of the day than the ones who had been instructed to spend the money on themselves.”  

“In his book Luxury Fever, Robert Frank explains that while the positive feelings we get from material objects are frustratingly fleeting, spending money on experiences, especially ones with other people, produces positive emotions that are both more meaningful and more lasting.”  

“…When researchers interviewed more than 150 people about their recent purchases, they found that money spent on activities – such as concerts and group dinners out – brought far more pleasure than material purchases like shoes, televisions, or expensive watches.”  

People who consistently focus their energy and resources on other people stay happier.

There is so much more research, but these few highlights reinforce some remarkable principles we can apply to stay happy and consistently perform at a high level.

In summary, three keys to daily happiness and high performance are:

1- Create your own reality (your expectations) and feed it constantly to your subconscious.

2- Choose the growth mindset over the fixed mindset.

3- Focus as much of your energy as possible on others.

If your business needs help breaking free from the fixed mindset, give us a call. We’re here to help!

Have a great week unless you choose otherwise.


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