In the final instalment of May’s mindset month, I couldn’t ignore writing about the growth mindset, something that is really popular in the education world and is being adopted more and more in businesses too.
In 1988, Dr. Carol Dweck and colleagues studied students' attitudes on failure. They noticed that some students rebounded quickly while other students seemed knocked by even the smallest setbacks. After studying thousands of children’s behaviour, Dr. Dweck coined the terms fixed mindset and growth mindset to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence. When students believe they can become smarter, they understand that effort makes them stronger. Therefore, they put in extra time and effort, and that leads to higher achievement. Those who believe their abilities are flexible are more likely to embrace challenges and persist despite failure. This model of the fixed vs growth mindset shows how cognitive, affective, and behavioural features are linked to one’s beliefs about the malleability of our intelligence.
Of course, some of this needs to be taken with a pinch of reality salt. I relate it to my desire to be one of Justin Timberlake’s backing dancers or one of Aretha Franklin’s backing singers. No matter how much effort I put in and how much I believe I can become one of these esteemed performers, it’s not realistic and isn’t going to happen. However, the notion of believing that I can achieve something realisable and that my brain is not a fixed state is the point: and perhaps it’s more about feeling that something is achievable than being able to achieve it whatever.
How can you help your mindset grow? Embrace challenges rather than avoid them. Keep trying, even in the face of setbacks, rather than giving up easily. Learn from criticism rather than ignore useful feedback. And, instead of feeling threatened by other people’s success, be inspired by them. This will lead to having a greater sense of free will and the ability to reach higher levels of achievement, not a deterministic view of the world.
If you’re curious about your mindset, have a look at this: http://blog.mindsetworks.com/what-s-my-mindset.
Do you ever find yourself in a spin of ‘busyness’? Doing things all the time, perhaps in a robotic way, and regularly feeling overwhelmed? Maybe in being so busy you are missing the small, joyful things in life… How about being less ‘busy’ and experiencing life in the moment?
Brigid Schulte, in her 2014 book, Overwhelmed, writes incisively about this trend, “So much do we value busyness, researchers have found a human ‘aversion’ to idleness and need for ‘justifiable busyness.’” I find this fascinating, having been a committed ‘busy’ person for a number of years – and now feeling that it’s time to change. It’s time to do less, simply.
But how to do this? Well, it’ll be no surprise to regular readers of my blog that the first on the list of things to help is to be outside more. Not staring at a screen can help – so get outside and stare at the sky, at wildlife, at the trees, whatever you like. Go for a walk or a wander, with no particular focus, just walk. Be idle – not lazy and lethargic, but not powered by a compulsion to be doing something all the time. Rest. Embrace the unstructured, not the ‘planned to the nth degree’. Put your phone down and leave it alone, or treat it like a landline: there for phoning people and receiving calls only. Be less serious and more playful. Be friendly and attract conversation.
Get more out of life by doing less and silence your inner automaton.
Week 3 of mindset month already! This week’s focus is on trying a grateful mindset.
When things are difficult or we’re feeling a bit mopey and run down, it’s tricky to keep feeling grateful for how things are. It can feel clunky, false or a bit ‘worthy’ when we try to list the things for which we are grateful. But it’s the act of focusing on what you have already that is the trick, and you don’t even have to prefix it with a hashtag (‘Blessed!’ ‘Proud!’) for it to work.
If it feels like an uphill struggle, try asking yourself “What could I be grateful for?” Ideas will eventually come and the attitude of gratitude will become easier. The aim is to gently adjust a negative mindset, where you focus on the things that are wrong, to one of increased positivity and a better overall mood.
I’ll start the ball rolling… I’m grateful for my family (one of whom is a very grown-up nine years old today!), friends, my interesting work, and how my body copes with all that I ask of it. Over to you! I’d love to hear your thoughts.
In this week’s mindset blog, I’m thinking about how, when confronting a problem or a difficult situation, many of us face it with worry or negative thoughts. This is a well-trodden path and is really familiar, so we keep doing it. On the outside, it looks like the situation is being faced, when in reality on the inside it isn’t being dealt with effectively. And that is when it feels like ‘failing’.
Changing mindset here can really help, as the best way to deal with a situation is to start by calming the mind. Only a calm mind can find the answers to problems.
As humans, we need to understand that every problem has an answer, and that when our minds are relaxed, we can rely on ourselves to find the answer that is already there.
May is mindset month, when each week I’ll be focusing on a different mindset that you can adopt in your life if it seems to fit.
First up, the idea that acquiring things will make you feel secure. “If I have more of x, I will feel better!” But for many people, the reality is that the more they have, the more fear there usually is of losing it, and the further they are from feeling calm and peaceful. Desiring things can also be the cause of conflict. When we want something and cannot get it, we become frustrated; so learning to be free from desire is learning how to stay peaceful and calm. How does this sit with you? I’d love to hear your thoughts.
News of April’s dedication: Sue completed her mammoth walk around the Isle of Wight (70 miles) over the Easter weekend; Lisa paddled her way along the canal to Westminster from Devizes in just over 26 hours; and Nora completed the London Marathon in 3 hours 44 minutes – 6 seconds off her personal best. Huge congratulations to you all!
Hi, I'm Joanna from Clean Well-Being.
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