Even small changes require us to see ourselves differently. For example if you want to give up smoking it’s helpful to build an image of yourself as a non-smoker. To do this, you might imagine the things you will do once you have quit. For instance, being a non-smoker could make evenings out more sociable and warmer. Instead of going out in the cold to stand by yourself with only a cigarette for company, you could be chatting happily with friends.
Creating a purposeful self-image can be helpful when making positive change, but equally how you see yourself can be a hindrance. If you think of yourself as someone who does not have the will power to overcome an addictive habit, such as smoking, then progress will be even more difficult. Understanding the beliefs we have about how humans are and ourselves, can be the key that unlocks positive change.
Dr. Dweck has been studying self-theories for over 30 years. Her work on mindset provides valuable insights on how our beliefs about ourselves can hold us back when we want to change the things we do or improve our skills. Dweck identified two common beliefs, fixed and growth. People with a fixed mindset believe their talents and their weaknesses are innate so no amount of practice will help them improve. In contrast, people with a growth mindset see whatever talent they are born with as just the beginning. They know that with practice they will improve. Dr. Dweck discovered that growth mindset people are less stressed and more successful than fixed mindset people. So it pays to adopt a growth mindset.
Do you have a fixed mindset that is slowing you down?
Ask yourself if you agree with these statements:
1.Your IQ can not be increased very much no matter what you do.
2.You are born with talent, it doesn’t really change much.
3.If you make a mistake everyone knows you are not as talented as you should be.
If you agree with all of these you just might have a fixed mindset.
To shift your mindset Dweck recommends that you start by noticing the things you say and think. Once you have identified fixed thoughts, make a conscious effort to switch to a growth approach. For example, view setbacks as an opportunity to learn rather than evidence of your lack of talent or other people’s failings. Similarly, criticism can be seen as useful data in developing an action plan to build your skills.
If you are ready to start your personal evolution then checking that your mindset is not holding you back is a great place to start. To find out more about switching your mindset from fixed to growth go here: Mindsetonline
To learn more about personal evolution and thriving see POSE Thriving Programs