Over the last few weeks, I have touched on quite a few things related to the way we think. I have talked about mindset (which is a term for the way we think). I have gone over the concepts of growth mindset, and its counterpart, fixed mindset. In fact, last week’s episode was mainly focused on fixed mindset. As well as clarifying those concepts, I also covered the key differences between those two mindsets, along with some essential points about growth mindset, and fixed mindset.
Related reading: Fixed mindset definition
If you are not familiar with them, I suggest checking out the last few posts/my podcast. Having clarity on these fundamental principles will be hugely beneficial to improving the way you think, not to mention the positive impact it can have on your life.
That said, if you have listened to last week’s podcast episode on fixed mindset (which I hope you have), you now know what fixed mindset is, and why it is not good for you. The goal of the last episode was to give you clarity on fixed mindset, and help you clearly see the contrast between the general thinking pattern (a.k.a fixed mindset), and how it is different from a growth-focused thinking pattern (or growth mindset).
Understanding and getting clarity on fixed mindset gives you an important perspective on what NOT to do. It also helps you become aware of what you might be doing when it comes to the way you think that is not good for you. This is an extremely important part of personal growth and improvement. I cannot stress just how important this is. After all, if you do not know what you might be doing wrong, how can you improve them?!
This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why having a fixed mindset is so common. So common that it is the default mindset for most.
Yes, fixed mindset, unfortunately, is the default mindset most people have. It is incredibly unfortunate but this is how most adults think. Now here’s something really key I want to point out to you – fixed mindset might be the default way of thinking for most, but no one is actually born with a fixed mindset.
We are all, in fact, born with a growth mindset.
Don’t believe me? Then here’s a glaring example for you – you will never see a baby give up trying to walk just because it fell several times (if not lots of times). You don’t even need to look at other babies, just consider your own case. If you did that, give up after you fell a few times, you would never have learned to walk!
The fact that you can walk today is a testament to the growth mindset that drove you when you were learning to walk. That focus on growth, rather than what is possible and what is not, is what enabled you as a child to overcome the challenges of walking, and learn how to walk. The same principle holds true for nearly everything children learn how to do, it holds true for nearly everything you learned how to do.
Children hardly ever, if ever, call it quits.
Yet, that is exactly what most people do as adults. If something does not work out after a few tries (or even one try!), most people throw in the towel. This behaviour is new, it is not our innate behaviour or thinking style – this is learned behaviour.
This is a mindset people learn during their formative years, while they are growing up.
Fixed mindset is a mindset developed based mainly on what they learn from the people around them while they are growing up. The parameters and metrics like possible and impossible are not known to children – we learn about them while we are growing up.
The fixed mindset is actually not our natural mindset. It is NOT how we think when we are born, it is not how we think when we learn to develop our essential motor and life skills as children, and it most certainly is not the mindset that we have that enabled us to learn to survive and grow up.
Our natural mindset is a mindset focused on learning and progress. Our natural mindset is a mindset focused on growth.
So, just in case it is not abundantly clear by now, growth mindset is our natural state.
That is our original mindset.
We just forget about it along the way.
It is very normal to pick up a limiting mindset. Things happen – often things that are not very pleasant, things that make us reevaluate our possibilities. We learn about subjective boundaries of what is possible and what is not, be it from teachers, parents, those around us, the media, and so on. We learn about what our limits are supposed to be. We learn about what we are, and are not, supposed to be capable of. We learn about what is and is not. realistic. And so on.
From the time we start making sense of things and start thinking, we pick up a lot of things about our world and our reality, many (if not most) of which limit our beliefs of what is possible. But as you learned in the last weeks, the limits of our own possibility are often subjective, as impossible is nearly always a matter of perspective. If you believe something to be impossible, it will absolutely always be impossible.
Related reading: Why you need to examine your perspectives
But when you believe that something is possible, or even that it can be possible, then you open up a whole world of possibilities. This is how Neil Armstrong and the others achieved the impossible and stepped foot on the moon. This is how Roger Bannister ran the humanly-impossible 4-minute mile. And this same lack of belief in what is possible is also what helped Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to reach the peak of the Everest.
It’s all in our minds. Good or bad, possible or impossible, probable or improbable… the way we think is ultimately what defines each of those labels for us.
So if you take away just one thing from today’s episode, I want you to understand this – learning about growth mindset is not really about installing a new mindset, or a new way of thinking. Rather, it’s about going back to our roots, it’s about going back to our natural state of growth, and progress.
We all have it within us, it’s simply a matter of getting back in touch with that state of mind.
It’s about reminding ourselves what we have forgotten.
On that note, if improving the way you think is something you want to learn more about, check out my latest book “How to Think Better in 7 Days“. You can get your copy from Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes&Noble.
That’s it for today. I hope you found this guide useful. Share your thoughts and notes in the comments section below. Also, if you have any suggestions or requests for future episodes, feel free to add them in the comments.
Keep working on your mindset, because that is one crucial factor that affects every area of your life.
A better mindset always equals a better life.
So, think better.
I’ll see you again next time. Have a great week!
These are the show notes/abridged transcript of my latest podcast episode – What Children Can Teach You About Growth Mindset. You can listen to it (and the other episodes) here: Growth Philosophy podcast.