Do you ever feel like you have two different brains pulling you in very different directions?
You know you should be doing one thing but end up doing the complete opposite. You say you want to achieve this but yet all of your actions say otherwise.
- You know you should making healthier choices
- You know you should be exercising regularly
- You know you should be saving more money and spending less
- You want success so bad that it hurts!
So why does it seem like everything you try doesn’t work?
The answer might just have to do with your mindset.
We like tangible things. Stuff we can see, touch, smell, hear, and taste. Your mindset doesn’t fall into any of those categories so it can be difficult to believe that a simple change in the way that you think can change your life in such dramatic ways.
In today’s article you and I will talk about the two very different mindsets a Stanford Psychologist has found that help guide your actions, which one you use more often, and how to get into a mindset that produces results.
A Fixed Mindset vs. A Growth Mindset
So what are these two mindsets? Well, if that big title and picture don’t give it away I don’t know what will.
The fixed mindset is one in which you believe you either are or are not good at something. That talent alone creates success, regardless of effort.
Characteristics of someone with a fixed mindset might include:
- Trying to hide flaws in yourself so that you can not be judged or labeled (aka: the perfectionist)
- Focused on outcomes and goals like losing 20 pounds in 2 months
- Sticking to activities and other things that you know, understand, or are comfortable with. Often afraid to try new things because you’re afraid of looking foolish, failing, or struggling with it.
- Avoid challenging activities because your performance or outcome in them defines who you are as a person.
- You ignore feedback or get defensive when feedback is given to you
- Threatened or often jealous of others
- You search deep inside yourself to find passion and purpose (guilty of this)
- You might say things to yourself like, “I’m just not good at math.” “This is just who I am I guess.” “That’s just not me.” “I’m too old for this.” “I’m the type of person that…”
- You always feel like you know what you’re doing and never need help from anyone.
The growth mindset is one in which you believe that anyone can be good at anything and that your skills and abilities are because of hard work, practice, and action.
Characteristics of someone with a growth mindset might include:
- Always trying to learn something new. Especially something unfamiliar or confusing to you.
- Focused on the process of achieving goals and not the outcome like preparing healthy meals every day and working out consistently and not losing 20 pounds in 2 months.
- The belief that your passion and purpose come from handwork. Like Mark Cuban says, “Don’t follow you passion, follow your effort.” (1)
- You have a list of things you need to improve or get better at
- You accept and learn from criticism
- You’re inspired by the achievements of others
- You may say things like; “I am capable of.” “I have the ability to.” “I can learn to.”
In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Stanford Psychologist Carol Dweck explains that basic qualities such as intelligence, talents, ability, success, and creativity are not fixed traits and that all of us have the capability of improving, growing, and achieving things we might have originally thought of as out of our control.
Dweck and her assistants conducted a study between 2 groups of elementary students. Group 1 was praised for their hard work, while Group 2 was praised for being smart.
Both groups were then given the chance to take on a very challenging assignment. The smart group was very hesitant to accept the challenge while the hard-working group was very open to try.
Of those participating in the challenge the hard-working group ended up performing better than the smart group. The smart group was stuck in the fixed state of “being smart.” If they struggled with the challenge or did not do as well as expected it would define who they were – or no longer smart. Their fixed mindset kept them from success.
Her research over the years has shown that those with a growth mindset do better in school and in sports, are more motivated, makes more successful CEO’s, are more satisfied in relationships, and make for better parents, teachers, and coaches.
Fixed or growth? The choice is yours.
You Have A Choice: Who Do You Want To Be?
If you don’t think you’re capable of achieving something how hard do you think you’ll work for it?
Not very, right?
If you’re constantly telling yourself you’re not motivated, it’s not who you are, you’re just not good at this or that, or you’re so busy you just don’t have the time the effort that you’ll put forth towards that goal is going to be minimal.
Beliefs like this and excuses are just ways to soften the blow on the ol’ ego. It makes failure and lack of effort acceptable.
Speaking to yourself like this prevents the growth and learning that you’ll need to succeed.
In a survey I sent out to the LimitlessCOMMUNITY a few months back I asked what was keeping you from achieving your health and fitness goals.
I couldn’t believe three of the answers that kept popping up.
- I’m lazy (literally, that was the answer)
- I’m not motivated enough
- I’m a procrastinator
All three of these things have nothing to do with who YOU are as a person. All of them are choices.
- You’re Caucasion, Asian, African-American, or some other ethnicity.
- You’re a man or a woman
- You’re a human being
That’s who you are. You’re not lazy, you’re not unmotivated, and you’re not a procrastinator. Those are choices you’ve made – You’ve decided to be those things. You can decide to NOT be them.
It all depends on you and your mindset. Fixed or Growth… YOU decide.
How To Change Your Mindset
There’s a good change you have both a fixed and growth mindset, I know I sure do.
When it comes to health and fitness, career, and personal finances – I’m all growth baby!
When it comes to relationships with women… ummmmmmm, fixed. Insert sad face right here – but I’m working on it (using this post) 🙂
So how can you get in that growth frame of mind and out of the fixed one?
Step 1: Believe It!
Actually believe that you can do it and that you deserve what you’re after. If you doubt that you can achieve your goals and/or don’t believe that you deserve then why the heck should you work hard for them?
Practicing the art of positive affirmations is a great way to get yourself in the right frame of mind.
Step 2: Change Your Environment
French Psychologist Alfred Binet is often credited as the inventor of the IQ test. Which is thought of as a way to measure unchangeable human intelligence. However, Binet and his colleagues developed the test to help develop new educational program that would benefit children that were struggling in the Paris public school system.
He did this because he was a firm believe that environment and specific educational practices could bring about extreme changes in a child’s intelligence. Binet held strongly to the idea that your genes and environment worked cohesively to bring about change. (1) He had a growth mindset.
So how can you use this to your advantage?
Lets say developing healthier lifestyle habits is a goal of yours but you’re struggling. You often end up cheating on your diet and blaming it on your lack of willpower and motivation. However, at a second look you notice that you haven’t done a great job at setting yourself up for success.
- Your freezer is still full of frozen dinners and ice cream
- Your fridge is full of beer and left over pizza
- You cupboards still contain hot Cheetos and Takis
Then you head to work and notice the Kit-Kats in your desk drawer and the donuts in the break room
Temptation is everywhere. Make success easier by changing your environment.
- Perform a kitchen makeover
- Block Facebook, Email, and other distracting sites so that you can focus on your side project
- Sleep with your running shoes on so you get in those miles first thing in the morning
Step 3: Tiny Wins!
Prove to yourself that you can do it through tiny victories. It’s definitely possible to go all in and get great results. It’s also very possible to try to change a bunch of things at once and get great results. However, you’re much more likely to be successful if you make one small change at a time.
Something we do in the LimitlessBODY Blueprint is practice one healthy habit every couple of weeks (or at least until you prove to yourself that you can be 90% consistent with the habit). For example, if you’re looking to drop body fat and step up your fitness game for a week or two you’ll just practice not drinking your calories and that’s it. All of your focus will be on that one single goal.
You’ll start to build confidence, motivation, and momentum moving forward.
Step 4: Progress Not Perfection
In her book The Progress Principle, Teresa Amabile tells us setting aside just 20 minutes a day to work on and make progress towards something meaningful to you can release dopamine in your brain which triggers the reward and pleasure centers.
Teresa suggests blocking out a minimum of 20 minutes each day to making progress towards something meaningful to you. First thing in the morning is an ideal time to do so to avoid your willpower being depleted through various activities during the day.
If health and fitness is an area of your life you’re looking to make progress in you could try these 10 minute exercises.
Trying to start your own business? How about setting aside 20 minutes everyday to work on it.
Have you always wanted to start a blog? Sit down and write for 20 minutes eat day.
Step 5: Give Yourself A Pat On The Back For Effort Not Results
This goes along with falling in love with the process and not the reward. Give yourself some credit for showing up, doing the hard work, and putting forth a beast mode kind of effort.
Forget the scale for a minute.
Don’t stress about your dead lift weight or 5K time.
Did you work your ass off and give it everything? If so, job well done.
Closing Thoughts & What You Can Do Next
I’m going to leave you with a personal story. It took me 5 years to finally try Krav Maga, a form of self-defense and physical training developed by the Israeli army. I had always wanted to give it a shot but constantly told myself “I’m not an aggressive person.”
I wouldn’t set foot in that place, even though I constantly talked about how bad I wanted to try it, because I was afraid of embarrassing myself.
My own psychology, the way I talked to myself, and my fixed mindset kept me from walking through that door. Scratch that, I chose to not walk through that door.
Then one day, five years later, I finally was convinced by my buddy Sean to join him in a class. Guess what, I did suck, I did embarrass myself, but the world didn’t end and I had a great time.
So my question to you is this.
- What have you been reading up on, studying, and researching but taking no action on?
- What have you been scared to do but keep putting off and making excuses about why you can’t start?
- What are you afraid to fail at?
- Where have you been telling yourself you’re too old, too young, too slow, or too weak?
You have a chance now to complete change your mindset and decide that you’re good enough, strong enough, ready enough, and beast mode enough 🙂 to get started.
Are you ready to learn? Willing to make mistakes? But willing to succeed? #growthmindset