Fixed Versus Growth Mindset

Today I want to talk about a fixed versus a growth mindset. Everyone comes to a point when they ask, “Is this it?” Maybe you stagnated on a financial plateau. Perhaps you worked yourself to death on the corporate ladder only to get stuck in unhappiness and boredom. Or maybe you’ve hit rock bottom and despair. 

There’s Something About Rock Bottom That Forces Us to Look Up.

When you hit rock bottom it shocks your soul. It moves your body to a different place, a place of metamorphosis, a place where you are ready for change. You realize that you deserve happiness and to live the life you want to live.

Maybe you’ve been told you won’t amount to anything because of your grades. Maybe you have a disability or illness that you’ve been told you’ll never get over and be able to be anything great. 

You must take charge of your life. It’s your job to take life by the horns. Stop simply letting life simply happen to you. People have their opinions, but, as they say, opinions are like buttholes, everybody has one. External validation is helpful but it’s up to you to decide your fate, no one else.

Fixed Mindset

Let’s say that you’re told that you’re not smart enough to ever amount to anything for whatever reason. So you take that into your soul and believe it. You never try to become anything or learn anything or start anything because that’s what you’ve decided to believe about yourself. That is a fixed mindset.

In a fixed mindset, you believe life is happening to you. You play the victim. 

Growth Mindset

Let’s take the same scenario. You were told that you’re not smart enough to amount to anything so you shouldn’t even try. But instead of believing your teachers, your parents, society, or whoever told you that you weren’t intelligent, you believe they are wrong. You take on the belief that you are intelligent. Maybe you believe that you have a different type of intelligence than others or that your brain simply works differently, but you believe you are intelligent all the same. So, you set out to push yourself to show that you are smart and that you can do something in life. That’s what is called a growth mindset.

A growth mindset involves taking responsibility for your own life. You stop believing that life happens to you and start believing that life happens for you. You play the heroine. 

Your Parents Started Your Mindset

Your parents probably said some things that helped you to set some of your fixed mindsets. They didn’t mean it that way (most likely) and didn’t know it would hurt you. It wasn’t their intention to hurt you. Most parents raised you to the best of their ability. But they still messed up sometimes. They told you something that made you a perfectionist or made you believe money wasn’t easy to come by. 

The great thing, though? You can decide that those words aren’t true.  You can change those fixed mindsets.

How Our DNA Works in Mindset

A DNA code is a DNA code. We all have weaknesses and strengths written in our DNA. However, the way the DNA expresses depends on our environment. Believing that “It comes from our DNA” or “We are a victim of a DNA and we can’t change it” means you are believing in a fixed mindset.

From zero to seven years old, children record everything around them. They record absolutely everything and absorb it like a sponge it into their subconscious. This can lead to a fixed mindset (“You’ll always be a naughty child”) or a growth mindset (“That was a naughty thing to do. I know you can be kinder than that, and I still love you”). Parents think that “Oh, they are kids, they don’t listen.” But they do, and this can lead to some bizarre behaviors later on because of everything they absorbed in their subconscious.

We hold our kids to a double standard. We talk about or do something, but tell our kids not to do it. If you don’t want your kids to do something, don’t do it yourself, if at all possible. Fixed mindsets can start here. Not to mention it’s hypocritical.

It’s Not All or Nothing

A fixed mindset believes that you either are or you are not. Take math for instance. Many people believe that you are either good at math or you aren’t. There’s no try. There’s no study to be better. There’s only, “You’re so good at math!” or “It’s all right. Not everyone can be good at math.” 

I’m here to tell you that this isn’t true. You can study. You can practice. You can get better at something. You see, smart is a tag, a stereotype. It makes you feel like it’s a skill you can lose. Instead, think of it this way. People are learners. We’re meant to experiment and try. Will we fail? Sure, if you count getting it wrong as failing. But we are meant to get back up and try it again.

How being a learner different than being smart? You see, if you are smart and you fail, your ego gets hurt and you decide, “Oh, I’m not smart anymore.” But, if you are a learner and you fail, you decide, “That was the wrong way, but let’s try it again a different way.”

You Can Learn Anything

A fixed mindset teaches you that the cards you were dealt the first day in your life and going onward are the way your life is supposed to be. So, if you can’t sing, it’s supposed to be that way. No use taking lessons. A fixed mindset decides that you have to live a certain way for the rest of your life and there’s nothing you can do to change it.

A growth mindset teaches you that you may have been dealt some cards the day you were born, but they are not your destiny. You can’t sing and you want to learn? You sign up for those classes, practice your tunes and pitches, and join a choir. A growth mindset shows you that you can do anything, you can learn anything, and you can make your life anything that you desire. 

You are intelligent. Through hard work, discipline, and learning, you can design your life and live it on your terms.

Growth and Fixed Mindsets Can Coexist

Your brain can have elements of a fixed and growth mindset. Maybe you know that you’re intelligent and that you can learn anything, but you believe that money is hard to make. That’s a fixed mindset concerning money.

You can operate from both, depending on the situation and the environment. This is normal. So what makes us go between a fixed and a growth mindset? It’s our nervous system. 

You can change your circumstances. You can use self-mastery to hack your neuropathways to rewire your mind and genetics. You can change your life for the better. 

Google is Your Best Friend

We live in a time where we are the most connected to our whole world. You can literally learn just about anything from your phone or computer for free. That’s right, you can search for anything on Google.

Do you want to learn law or physics? Google it. Do you need to learn finances or Swahili? Google it. You can learn anything on Google.

Start Your Self-Development Journey

Self-development can change your life and make you a better person. Many still regard self-development as a cult and joke about it, but it isn’t. The truth is people are scared of change. We need change in our lives. 

To start your journey, you need to understand yourself at a physiological level. People sometimes don’t care about their bodies. They eat foods that aren’t good for them, don’t exercise as they should, and do all number of things to their body that hurt instead of help it. However, we need to treat ourselves better. Our body is the body that carries our spirit through this life. To get from where you are to where you want to go, you need to take care of yourself. Once you start understanding yourself, you can start operating from a different point. Caring for our bodies is fundamental to self-development. Our nervous system is part of that body.

Our nervous system is here to defend us. It keeps us from being hurt. Once you start realizing that these situations in life aren’t here to hurt us but to help us learn, you start modifying the mental pathways that lead to mindset.

An essential step is to fix your diet. It’s hard to change your life if you feel like crap. Find out what your body doesn’t like – grains, dairy, corn syrup, shellfish – and cut it out. Try to cut out other processed foods as well. Their chemicals and additives can take your energy and your mood.

Be patient with yourself. It’s taken you twenty-five-ish years to get to where you are now. It’ll take some time to get you where you want to be. A week of exercise isn’t (unfortunately) going to get you where you want to be. Stick with it.

It Takes Time

Catalina Patane says:

“I want people to know that you’re not going to wake up one day and decide, ‘I’m ready to be in a growth mindset,’ and things just change. Change is a process. Focus on the progress of the journey. We set our minds on the result. We forget that everything is a process and takes time and effort. This is when frustration comes into play. It’s hard to change. There’s no question about it. If someone says to you, “You’re going to take a pill or do this program and be a totally different person,” they are absolutely wrong. Everything in life is a process. In order to accomplish things, you need help. Look for coaches and mentors. Immerse yourself into the information. Look for help. There are all kinds of free information online that you can use to start thinking about changing.”

Remember, Google is your best friend.

*This blog post was taken from The Virtually Free Podcast with Amy Demone with special guest Catalina Patane. Listen here.*