What is Mindset?

The theory of the two 'Mindsets' was first considered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist, Carol Dweck, who carried out decades of research on why some people achieve their potential and others don't. Mindsets are beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities. In different situations we think with our 'fixed' or 'growth' mindset. The first being where we see our abilities & intelligence as set in stone, something we are born with, a fixed quantity which cannot be changed. In a 'growth' mindset, we acknowledge natural talent as a starting point, however see that intelligence is malleable and something that can be greatly improved upon over time, through hard work, perseverance and deliberate practice. Research has shown that your mindset can change as it is largely to do with what YOU think you are capable of achieving.
If success means you are smart, then failure means you are dumb. That’s the fixed mindset. Dr Carol S Dweck

So what's the difference?

Firstly, it’s helpful to look at the two mindsets and try to recognise both of these attitudes within ourselves. Yes that’s right, you have a fixed mindset! Don’t panic, you also have a growth mindset, we simply think differently towards different areas of our lives. A good example is those who might see Maths or Music as a natural talent, you are either good at it or you are not. Whereas with specific sports, you may have experienced some improvement over time and could view the struggles faced with a different belief & exhibit more resilience. Incidentally, are you the polar opposite and don’t think you are very ‘sporty’?

Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset

In a growth mindset you might view your brain more like a ‘mental muscle’ and focus on incremental bits of success. Therefore becoming less concerned with being judged and more interested in growing, you try to:

  • Learn wherever and whenever we can.
  • View hard work, practise and seeking advice as vital ingredients for progress.
  • Persevere longer with more difficult tasks and try to learn from your mistakes.
  • Grasp new opportunities… nothing ventured, nothing gained!
Fixed Mindset

Fixed Mindset

To try and reach our potential, we should be aware of our fixed mindset, recognise it and try to change the way we think in that moment about our learning. In this ‘fixed’ attitude, we might:

  • Need to look smart at all times and at ALL costs (even if it means cheating!)
  • Expect immediate success, things should come naturally, effort is seen as a weakness.
  • Hide from our mistakes, blame unfairly or run from difficulty.
  • Become risk averse for fear of failure… nothing ventured, nothing lost.

In Summary

The Live-N-Learn ethos isn’t promoting a “can do” attitude, we are more “I can’t do it YET!”. We focus on encouraging personal responsibility, resilience and changing attitudes from the ‘fixed mindset’ to a ‘growth mindset’. Are we saying that anyone can become a rocket scientist or an extremely gifted and talented footballer? No, what we are saying is that everyone has this amazing capacity to improve on most aspects of their lives. In order for that improvement to occur and potential realised, there has to be an acknowledgement that hard work is required and a willingness to hang in there with a passion when setbacks occur.

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives. Dr Carol S Dweck