The idea of writing this blog came to my mind when sometime back, Somesh (name changed) came to me for a counselling session. His story is quite interesting. When he finished his graduation and was in his early twenties, he had two choices. Either to study further or build his own business. His choice was the latter one. His business was growing in the initial 2 to 3 years. He purchased his car, got married, enjoyed a few trips abroad and was happy. But after the honeymoon period was over, his business became stagnant and later started diminishing. He blamed his team for the failure as the business growth was dependent upon the growth of the team. Now in his forties, he has a family to protect and grow, but he is struggling hard for a normal living.
Let us now recall altogether a different case of Arunima Sinha. When she was a college student and in her early twenties, she was thrown out of the train by some miscreants and remained on the adjoining track for the whole night from which several trains passed over. In the process, she lost one of her legs. But when she got discharged from the hospital with one artificial leg, she did not go home. She went straight to Bachendri Pal to get her approval and blessings for conquering Mount Everest. With her hard training and infinite zeal, she became the first female amputee (with a prosthetic leg) to climb Mount Everest. She is now a Padma Shri awardee, a motivational speaker, and an author. By now, she has climbed the highest peaks on all seven continents. And, she is just in her early thirties.
Friends! Guess the one thing that is common in both the stories.
Yes, you guessed it right. It is the: MINDSET.
WHAT IS MINDSET?
A mindset of a person is the collection of preconceived notions from the influencers around him/her i.e., family members, teachers, personal experience and media etc. In other words, it is a set of beliefs a person has that moulds his or her state of mind.
This way, a set way of approaching situations and problems in life is established notwithstanding the real facts. It is the mindset that makes a person successful or a failure.
There are two predominant types of mindsets:
- FIXED MINDSET: People with a fixed mindset believe that their intelligence, talent, ability and other traits are fixed and cannot be improved no matter what. This is like: God has put these traits in a fixed amount and can’t be changed. Therefore, they do not accept challenges and fail to reach their peak performance.
- GROWTH MINDSET: People with a growth mindset believe that with the right efforts it is possible to improve and expand their circle of influence, ability and all other traits needed to achieve success. Therefore, they quickly adapt to new challenging situations in life and achieve new heights.
As an example, lets recall the story of a Salesman who was posted in a small town to sell shoes. He observed that no one in the town wears shoes & therefore nothing can be sold there. The management replaced him with another Salesman who got delighted to observe the same as there was the scope of sale to 100% population. He achieved a record sale in that town.
HOW IS THE MINDSET FORMED?
It is during childhood that a person starts developing a mindset. As per Dr Eric Berne, a child unconsciously takes some decisions depending upon the environment and treatment he gets from the elder ones. He minutely observes the behaviour of people around him, their words, and their emotions even if these are not exclusively communicated to him. This way his mindset starts developing.
Later on, the impact of the society in which he is brought up and its social and cultural values can supplement his mindset data. Also, other data from family members, teachers, neighbours, friends, TV channels & social networks, etc., which he gathers especially during the early years of life are stored in his brain and help build his mindset.
The brain is intelligent enough to observe the thoughts that come to one’s mind repeatedly. These thoughts are ultimately saved in the file named: MINDSET. For the rest of their life, a person follows what is stored in this file without examining the correctness of the data.
HOW MINDSET AFFECTS OUR LIFE
A person with a fixed mindset:
- Thinks that he is working already at his best capacity. As such, there is no scope for further improvement.
- Believes that if God has not given him some specific talent, then it is needless to work upon it.
- Can surrender to circumstances easily and give up.
- I will have an “I can’t do it” attitude.
- Will require approval for whatever he does and will not accept criticism as feedback for improvement.
- Will not do anything where failure or rejection is expected.
- Cannot be a good team player.
With such a mindset a person will always stay in the comfort zone. Since accepting new ideas will force him to do something more, he will continue to work with old systems and therefore block his progress. Thus, a person with a fixed mindset will always operate much below his actual potential. As such he will miss great opportunities in life and will never know that with a little bit of extra effort, he could have achieved much greater heights.
Now, let us see what a person with a growth mindset will do:
- Will believe that he has an innate ability to learn and improve.
- He can work hard to get mastery of new ideas and developments.
- Will have a capacity to adjust fast to new situations in life.
- Will take mistakes or failures as stepping steps for moving ahead.
- Will believe that challenges will make him more skilled and stronger.
- Will never quit or surrender to circumstances.
- Will become a good team player and a leader.
With a growth mindset, a person will realise his true potential. He will adapt to the changing environment fast and keep growing. He will be a good team player and develop leadership skills. He will remain open to new opportunities and venture into altogether new areas hitherto unknown to him. He will therefore fly high in life and enjoy it to the fullest possible.
IDENTIFY YOUR MINDSET
The characteristics of each mindset are given in the above paragraph. Think over each point seriously and decide where you find yourself. Be honest in your evaluation. If required, take help from your spouse or close friend/relative with whom you spend a good time. You will find that prominently you will have either a fixed or growth mindset.
STEPS FOR DEVELOPING A GROWTH MINDSET
The moment you recognise that you have a fixed mindset, your journey towards growth starts. The following points can additionally help you on this path:
- Start believing that hard work is important and will lead to better results. With hard work, you will move towards your goals. Do a little bit extra and slowly you will find yourself putting in a great effort.
- In case you want to achieve something big, you may have to come out of your comfort zone. Do not bother with small discomforts initially. With small progress, you will forget the level of discomfort and move ahead.
- Focus on small tasks and finish them. This will make your mindset to take on new challenging tasks.
- Accept new ideas. Be prepared for small changes. Learn new things by putting in little effort. Slowly you will start loving changing patterns.
- Positively take criticism. Be proactive and not reactive.
- Build your physical and mental health. Do exercise, eat healthy food and read motivational books.
- Keep enjoying life, stay happy, sleep well, exercise, and build a friendship with successful people and you will be on the way to a growth mindset.
Friends! A growth mindset is a key to success. Arunima Sinha is not alone, innumerable people are doing unbelievable things in all walks of life. Believe that God has put only the basic qualities in your brain. You are supposed to improve them with little but consistent efforts. Decide firmly to break barriers on your way to a Growth Mindset. You deserve a better life. And definitely: with efforts, you can change and witness your new, exciting and progressing self.
P.S.: Well! How did you like this post? Pl put your thoughts in the comment box. Leave your mail id in the comment box for a free consultation.
Sanjay K Mathur
Excellent Mama. I still remember how you have helped me to move ahead from victim mind set to growth mind set in my early days of studies, and that was first steps towards happy life.