To begin with, I want to tell you a story.
I was working and living in Moscow at the time. And once I shared with my team my concerns about one complicated task that appeared on my schedule. Talking about it, I said the phrase: “I don’t know how to do it”, and then — I don’t know why — but I added one more word to this sentence — “yet”.
I don’t know how to do it yet.
Suddenly the president of my team interrupted me and said: “This is so cool, that you added this “yet”. That has just completely changed the meaning of the whole sentence. Once you say that you can’t do something, it means that you gave up. But when you say that can’t do something now, that means you believe you’ll be capable of doing it in the future”.
So, yet is this small word that separates desperation from an opportunity. And this difference in reacting to complicated and difficult tasks takes us closer to discussing the growth and fixed mindsets.
I guess, no one will argue that the belief system of a person drives his/her behavior and defines our perception of success anticipation. This phenomenon was fully examined in the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success written by Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck.
People with a fixed mindset are more conservative and hardly can change their life beliefs. That makes them hard to act in a fast-changing environment of the modern world. A fixed mindset assumes that our personality is given and static, which makes a possibility of success rather a genetically programmed feature.
People with a growth mindset are more flexible and believe that success depends on actions. Therefore, anyone can be great at anything if they put efforts to it. A growth mindset allows seeing opportunities and a springboard for growth everywhere, even in failures.
There is a big list of differences between fixed and growth mindsets: in the ways of perceiving challenges, overcoming obstacles, putting efforts, dealing with criticism and others’ success. But to my mind, the main one is in the way people with fixed and growth mindsets face uncertainty. Because all of mentioned above is connected to unpredicted manifestations of our world. Everything changes very fast and the ability to adapt to it without stressing out too much sounds like a good definition of a growth mindset to me. People with fixed mindsets perceive challenges as a threat and try to avoid them. And together with challenges, they avoid opportunities that people with the growth mindset see. Opportunity to meet new people, to get out of a comfort zone, to acquire new skills, to know something new and so on.
People with fixed mindsets usually behave as if they already know everything when people with growth mindsets always strive to learn from others. And I’d like to encourage you to perceive everything you hear or learn from a position of the growth mindset in order not to deprive yourself of possibly working solutions. Growth mindset lets you first try something new and then decide whether it fits you or no. And if you stop seeing a threat in a challenge, you’ll immediately succeed in your life.
Growth mindset will help you to find your way and achieve happiness in this mad uncertain world.