Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck has taken decades of research on achievement and discovered that a simple shift in mentality makes all the difference.
In a nutshell, anything in the world that is worth doing – including living in the grey – is more achievable if approached as a skill to be mastered rather than a fixed ability that we have or don’t have.
This mindset is called the growth mindset. People with this perspective believe that the brains and talent they are born with are just a jumping off point and can be developed (remember Strengths Finder?); it just takes dedication and hard work. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is crucial for great accomplishment.
In contrast, people with a fixed mindset believe their basic qualities (talent, intelligence) are fixed traits that cannot be changed. People in a fixed mindset spend their time documenting their talent/intelligence instead of developing. Dweck says, “they also believe that talent alone creates success – without effort. They’re wrong.”
Are you in a growth mindset?
Making the change from living a black-and-white life to living in the grey is not an overnight transition, it is a growth process. Think of it as similar to building muscles- it will take time (and lots of effort)! Anticipate setbacks and plan for them, but do not be demoralized by them. Recognize that at some point in making this change in your life, you will likely fail. Don’t wallow in your failures. Just keep in mind that setbacks and failures are just a part of the process.
The growth mindset reminds of us this great song by Kanye West:
Let me know
Do I still got time to grow
Things ain’t always set in stone
That be known let me know
Seems like, street lights, glowin
Happen to be just like moments, passin
In front of me so I hopped in, the cab and
I paid my fare see I know my destination
But I’m just not there
(video from YouTube user KennYiet)
[Image: Adam Selwood]