I have written before about the importance of attitude.
The contrast between the growth mindset and fixed deterministic mindset is just another example of the importance of attitude and mental models for perceiving how the world works and can work. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset is a valuable reference to understand the importance of mindset to living the best quality life.
The Growth Mindset presentation provides:
- a framework on how the growth mindset relates to how our brain operates
- problems associated with our lizard brain fears
- how a growth mindset can help us deal with our fears and problems
- the benefits of adopting a growth mindset
- an action plan for achieving results with a growth mindset
It could be useful to refer back to another article I wrote on focused goals for several references on dealing with the lizard brain. This is an ongoing battle that is not to be underestimated. The lizard brain can not be shouted down, argued with, or ignored. Some say this just gives it more power. The recommended approach is to calmly listen to the lizard brain and unemotionally acknowledge that this is a point of view (usually based mostly on fear) that may not be accurate, whose risks could potentially be minimized by planning and action, and that alternatives are possible which may be better than avoiding the fear. This is similar to some techniques that are advocated in learned optimism (disputing limiting beliefs and energizing yourself to take action). This is also summed up in the excellent book Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.
Growth Mindset Chain of Events
Nigel Holmes has done an excellent graphic contrasting the fixed mindset with the growth mindset and how a series of decisions with a different mindset can lead to a cascading chain of events that leads to divergent life paths. One way, the fixed mindset, leads to a limited life based on fear. The other, growth mindset, offers the potential for ongoing growth.
The chart, A Matter of Mindset, contrasts the vicious cycle and virtuous cycle that can occur with different mindsets in a business context. Just like in systems theory the feedback loop caused by the mindset difference can cause a self reinforcing downward or upward spiral that ends up with vastly different results.
Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) +
Opportunity (good things coming your way) + Action (doing something about it)
= Making your Luck
The Compound Effect makes a compelling argument that achieving success is more about the life trajectory you set yourself on by many small decisions you make each day. The compounding effect of these decisions tends to be underestimated because the results escalate over time rather than being instantly observable. Decisions influenced by a growth mindset attitude will eventually lead to results that are vastly different than those achieved by playing it safe and being limited by the fears of the lizard brain.
Growth Mindset Action Plan
If you are convinced of the benefits of the growth mindset as summarized in the attached presentation and chain of events how do you get started? Here are some suggested action steps:
- Take the mindset test online to see what your current mindset tendencies are
- adopt the growth mindset by practicing techniques to migrate towards this way of thinking
- seek stage time (opportunities to practice your craft) by embracing uncertainty, seeking new experiences, and broadening your repertoire.
- Read Carol Dweck’s Mindset book and use the resources on her web site to strengthen your implementation of the principles.