It’s not your mind, it’s your mindset that is the root cause for thinking you are bad at something.
Your mindset is your supertool.
- It affects your process of learning, both in school and in your adult years.
- It influences the way you interact with people, by being proactive or having a passive or even victim role.
- It shapes your attitude towards your skill set, and what you believe you “must” or “can not” be good at.
- It impacts the ways in which you experience events in your life, discover the world, embrace knowledge, and understand others.
- It controls the way you view, lead, and experience your entire life.
Yes, it’s THAT powerful!
And now that you start thinking about it in this way, you’re much better off trying to understand how you can shape it so that it can serve you better through life.
Where can you begin?
Read the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol Dweck. It explains in detail how we adopt a certain mindset about our abilities very early in life, due to the environment and messages we receive from our parents and teachers when we are still very young. These messages are then “baked in” to our understanding of how we “should” function in the world, what our strengths are, what our weaknesses are, and what we should stay away from. You will learn the difference between two mindsets and how much they can be either empowering or detrimental to our personal growth:
- a “fixed mindset”: the belief that our qualities are set in stone, that we can only have a certain level of intelligence, personality type or moral character. For example, you believe you are only good at pursuing intellectual endeavors, but are really bad at athletics; or that you are great at math and accounting, but have a really hard time learning a new language.
- a“growth mindset”: the belief that we can develop our qualities through deliberate and continuous efforts, and that we can change and grow with our life experiences. For example, you had a hard time in your math class in grade school, but you want to get a graduate degree in business which will require math skills, and you won’t let your previous experiences deter you from getting your degree.
Some ideas to help you develop a growth mindset:
- Always be curious: learn something new every day, whether it’s about the history of the world, how things work, which foods and activities keep you healthy, which habits can help you become a better person, or which books you can read that will teach you something valuable.
- Surround yourself with people who have a growth mindset: they are the ones who have a can-do attitude, who exhibit positive and optimistic behavior, and who are working hard every day on making themselves better people. Conversely, stay away from those who are constantly negative, critical in always pointing out what they or others are lacking, and who spend too much time talking about others and not enough time on themselves.
- Don’t limit your learning experience: just because it’s not taught in school or at university, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t spend time learning about it. Go to the library and pick up books on a topic that is interesting to you. Take an online class in the evening, or watch free tutorials on YouTube on how to develop a skill you think would be empowering to you.
- Keep your mind open to possibilities. What if you conquer something important that you thought you’d never consider a year ago? What if, in the process, you open doors that will take your life in a new direction, that will fill you with optimism and energy? You don’t know just how limitless you can be. By developing a growth mindset, you will change your view of yourself and your abilities. It’s the investment of a lifetime!