Switching from Fixed Mindset to Growth Mindset

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Growth mindset will eventually lead you to success, no matter where you come from and how resourceless you are.
Growth mindset will eventually lead you to success, no matter where you come from and how resourceless you are.

Lately, we have all been reading and hearing a lot about the fixed mindset and the growth mindset- a term coined by Carol Dweck almost 30 years ago. It got me thinking, what is that one thing that keeps us away from achieving the so-called growth mindset, which to me, is the fundamental prerequisite to achieving a truly fulfilling and meaningful life. But hey! Before I tell you what that one thing is, let me warn you that this might sound pretty cheesy or even superficial in the beginning but if you are as desperate as I was to change my plight and a shortcut seeker like me (or I would rather call myself smart ?), you might want to give it a try.

So, here is what I found- we create our own reality through our minds. You might have heard or read things like “thoughts are like seeds” or “what you think you become” or “you are your only limit” and guess what! that is actually true. So, it turned out that that one thing is our internal belief system on which our subconscious mind operates.

What is fixed and growth mindset?

A huge number of psychotherapists, researchers, and motivational speakers agree that all it takes to build a successful and fulfilling life is to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. According to Carol Dweck (Dweck, C.S. & Leggett, E.L. (1988). A Social-Cognitive Approach to Motivation and Personality), people belonging to both types of mindsets do not differ in capabilities and competence. They only differ in terms of goals. The growth mindset chases learning to further enhance its expertise. While the fixed mindset is driven by performance goals in pursuit of avoiding negative criticism about its competence.

My definition of the person having a fixed mindset is that he believes in what he sees, experiences, and taught, therefore he always thinks and acts with a finite approach keeping in view the limitations and boundaries that he is encountered with.

On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset believes in the infinite. She is an unflinching optimist, a dreamer, who is immune to the word impossible. She achieves everything she sets her mind to because she knows that fear and doubt are the creations of the mind especially when we think of going into the unknown. Our survival instincts try all the tricks to make us abort the idea of doing something that is unknown to our own brains. All the negative what-ifs, all thoughts about ‘what could go wrong’ mostly have very little to do with reality and more to do with our baseless fears.

So here is a list of minor adaptations that I found insanely useful in achieving the growth mindset.

Build a direct and strong connection with the Almighty:

Seek all that you want from the Almighty God.
And your Lord says, “Call upon Me; I will respond to you.” -Holy Qur’an 40:60

First thing first, seek all that you want from the One who is in control. You got to have blind faith that He listens and responds to you and no matter what you choose to accomplish, He is got your back. Open up to Him, you will find no better companion as He will never shame you for your past mistakes and will instead cover you with His infinite mercy and love.

Heal and Cleanse yourself:

Be very mindful of your own toxicity. We as humans are quite quick at pointing fingers at others and find great satisfaction in judging and labelling people around us. We have double standards when it comes to identifying which behaviours or words are hurtful or demeaning to us compared to others.

To deal with this problem, I carry a check before uttering the words or labelling somebody in my mind. What I do is that I imagine somebody or the same person I want to address to, saying the same words in the same tone (that I intend to use) to me and see how it feels. I find it immensely useful because it has not only helped me deal with my own toxicity that I was not aware of but also saved and improved my relationship with many people in my life.

Also get rid of anger, envy, and jealousy. Forgive yourself and other people who have wronged you (yes! You got it right) even without an apology. Always speak the truth, no matter how hard or risky that may seem sometimes. It will benefit you spiritually as well as materialistically in numerous ways. Plus, in my experience, there is no better way to uplift your self-esteem and self-image than sticking to the truth. Once you have cleansed yourself and made peace with who you are in and out, your surroundings, and your past, you are ready to set forth the journey to greatness.

Carry out an honest analysis of yourself.
Carry out an honest analysis of yourself.
Focus on the inside instead of the outside:

We carry immense treasures within us, including solutions to all our problems, and remedies to all our maladies. Despite that, most of our lives are lived in hopelessness because many of us do not really know how powerful our minds are and some of us, who are aware of this fact lack the know-how to discipline their thoughts and harness their minds. The moment we take control and decide to become master instead of the slave of our own mind, contentment and peace find its way to us. Train your mind to think only useful thoughts i.e., thoughts that serve your goals because repeated thoughts eventually become our beliefs that form our reality. In my opinion, our words and thoughts are far more powerful than we think. A single negative thought can cost you the work of a whole day, that is why keeping them in check is crucial.

Stop taking it so personally:

It took me a long time to understand that how people behave or what they say to me has mostly nothing to do with me. I used to be the one who would stay depressed for days or cry the whole night because someone was mean towards me. So, my musing souls, if someone is mean to you instead of being counter-mean or giving yourself up to your emotions, take a step back and evaluate the situation. You would find in most instances that it just reveals how sick and unhealed that person is that he is even bleeding on other people. Rest assured that his behaviour or words in no way represent you or your worth.

Use positive affirmations or visualize:
Use affirmations as repeated thoughts become beliefs.
Repeated thoughts become beliefs.

As I said earlier, this may seem cheesy in the beginning, but it is a very powerful tool. It is similar to my concept of meditation, where we disconnect ourselves from the world for some moments and say out loud things we want to achieve by using complete sentences. Or we visualise the desired outcome. Or we do both. According to the many advocates of this philosophy, the best timings to practice it are right before going to bed and right after waking up, when our minds are not fully alert. But one can do it as many times as one wants.

Counter the negative thoughts:

We all struggle with the negative voice inside us to some degree and it’s perfectly alright if it occurs seldom. But if this is something that dominates your mind, you need to do something about it because the quality of our thoughts determines the quality of our lives eventually. One tried and tested way to deal with a negative thought is to counter it (as soon as you realise that you are thinking a negative thought) with a positive one. Especially, if you are a fearful person (like I used to be) or have the tendency to quickly jumping to negative conclusions or think of cons more often than pros, you need to practice this more vigorously. If done with consistency and motivation, in no time you will become the master of your mind.

Get started with whatever you have:

Do not wait for anything, no matter how little you know, how unclear you are about the process, just start. As Rumi says, “as you start to walk on the way, the way appears”. Do your own skill audit, be mindful of your calling because we all have one and get started at something. To put it simply, calling is an idea or topic you are most passionate about. You do not need to start big; it could be as simple as starting a blog, starting an online course, an online shop, volunteering to a cause that you deeply care about and so on. Once you feel like you are moving towards your goals, or being productive and useful, you will be even more motivated to do more and will as a result accomplish more.

Dream big:
Those who dream big, achieve big.
Those who dream big, achieve big.

Carve out a magnificent view of your desired life. Do not let your current reality and other people’s opinion lower your goals. It is absolutely true that we all are capable of achieving everything we set our minds to. So, why put limits on our own potential?

Let the money and life flow:

Flow is very important when it comes to money and overall life. The less you try to cling to something, the more it stays with you. Spend whatever you have wisely and joyfully, don’t hoard it. And the same is true about life- the less rigid we are about trying different strategies or adapting our plans to reach a certain goal, the more successful we become. I am not asking you to change your destination, but you should be able to adjust your sails so that the boat you are sailing takes you to your intended place.

Practice gratitude:

Instead of complaining about the hard life you are given and holding yourself or other people responsible for the things that did not go well or as planned in your life, try to look at the many blessings that you are bestowed upon. You would notice that you did not even work for or ask for many beautiful things and people in your life.

Believe it or not, gratitude will not only make you peaceful and contented as a person but also attract more positive things and people into your life as the saying goes, “you attract the energy you give off”.

Summing it all up:

A fixed mindset can only take you so far. If you will not prepare to venture into the unknown, you will be surrounded by sameness wherever you are. We grow when we let go of the stuff that holds us down. So, identify yours and bid it adieu. Sometimes it is not easy to even name the restrictions that our own mind has put on ourselves because we start taking them as unfortunate inevitabilities. So, take your time and work through it calmly but continuously. Failure does not exist if each time you pick yourself up and move on from there.

About the Author

Hi, I’m Sumera. I am a marketer and an economist by profession. I like to read about social, cognitive, and behavioural psychology. The topics such as inequality, racism, women empowerment, child abuse, and intersex rights are very close to my heart. Since I like to eat healthy (except for a daily dose of dessert that I cannot live without ;p) and stay physically in shape, I make sure to make time for a walk or jog daily and eat natural products like fruits, vegetables, and yogurt.

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6 thoughts on “Switching from Fixed Mindset to Growth Mindset

  1. Saima

    Its amazing. Very well written

    1. admin

      Thanks love.

  2. Amir

    Very nice

    1. admin

      Thank you Amir.

  3. Dr Khalid gill

    Wah Bai wah
    Motivational speech

    1. admin

      I hope you liked it :).

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