The founder of Ford, the great American car company, had a deep understanding of the impact of our beliefs, conscious and unconscious, in every aspect of our lives. “Whether you think you can do a thing or you can’t do a thing, you’re right” was a famous quote by Henry Ford. He was undoubtedly an optimist, with what Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck would call a ‘Growth Mindset’.
In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dweck defines Growth Mindset as follows: “In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
The other side of the coin is a ‘Fixed Mindset’. According to Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort.”
Over a decade of research into neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to form new neural pathways, and neurogenesis, the formation of new nerve cells, supports Dweck’s research into mindset.
The first step to getting a growth mindset is finding what your values are. You simply can’t have a growth mindset if you’re trying to work in an area that goes against your values. From there you can cultivate the growth mindset.
Here’s 7 ways to get you on the path to a Growth Mindset:
1. Find what inspires you, what you are passionate about. Inspiration is the key. No-one can be motivated and passionate without inspiration.
2. Be pro-active not re-active. Take action, don’t procrastinate. Feel the fear and do it anyway.
3. Exercise encourages neurogenesis and helps physically shape your brain into a positive mindset. Chose the exercise you enjoy and get out and do it every day. Remember, if you don’t enjoy it, you won’t be motivated to do it.
4. Push yourself. If you’re passionate about something you’ll want to go above and beyond your perceived limits everyday..
5. Be flexible. Take a leaf out of Bruce Lee’s notebook:
“Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it into a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” ~ Bruce Lee.
6. Quit complaining Complaining is a sure sign you’re getting stuck in a fixed mindset.
7. Lose doubt and expect success. Don’t let helplessness take hold of your mind. If you’re stuck, ask for help. You’ll see the results.
Find out more about fixed vs growth mindset here.