What if I fail? Oh but darling, what if you fly?! How can you get from a fixed mindset where you think that nothing can be changed, to a growth mindset where you will learn anything you like? Here are some actionable steps.
I am a failure
I’m sure everybody has that little voice in their heads that talks down on you, saying to you that you are not capable of doing anything. Are you not sure? Let me illustrate by these examples:
- Are you sure you can do it? You don’t have any talent
- What if you fail? Then you’ll be a failure
- If you really had the talent, this would have been easy
What is a fixed mindset?
Do any of these thoughts seem familiar at all to you when you want to try something new? And do they hold you back to do what you really want to do? Just because you are afraid of doing it? This is called having a fixed mindset. In a fixed mindset, you believe that your qualities are a fixed trait and cannot change. People in a fixed mindset usually only document the intelligence and talents that they have, rather than really working on developing and improving them. You can also believe that you only need talent to succeed and that effort is not required.
Grow like Hugh Jackman
For example, you are watching a music show on the tv and you think: “wow they can sing very well. I can never sing that well. I don’t have any talent for it, so I’m not even gonna try.” Just because they can sing really well, doesn’t mean that you can’t either. With a lot of effort you can definitely sing. Of at least have a lot of fun singing. And get this: Hugh Jackman had the thought of not being able to sing. Or dance. Or take a role in a musical. When Hugh got the opportunity to apply for the role of Gaston in the Beauty & the Beast musical production, he had just 4 weeks to prepare himself. He didn’t have singing or dancing lessons before and in just 4 weeks with a lot of effort, he got himself where he wanted to be. And look at him now! So if he can do it, so can you!
What is a growth mindset?
So just to be clear and have a good overview, what is a growth mindset then? When you have a growth mindset, you have an underlying belief that your learning and intelligence can grow with time and experience. You believe that you can get smarter and better by putting in a lot of effort and time to create your own succes and achievements. Things that you will think with a growth mindset are:
- I’m not sure I can do it now, but I think I can learn to with time and effort.
- Most successful people had failures along the way. Basketball wasn’t easy for Michael Jordan and science wasn’t easy for Thomas Edison. They had a passion and put in tons of effort.
How can you get a growth mindset?
1. Recognise your own fixed mindset thoughts
Thoughts that are in the fixed mindset categorie will often pop up when you are trying to get out of your comfort zone. When you challenge yourself to do something new. Instead of just doing it, you hold yourself back by thinking things like: “I’m not smart enough to do this”. If you become aware of these thoughts, just let them come by gently and write them down. You can even try to find out what the reasons are that you think that you won’t be able to do this.
2. Make your own choices
Yay you recognised that you have a fixed mindset about something. That is one step in the good direction. So what are you going to do about it? Are you continuing to keep on criticizing yourself or are you going to be kind to yourself and start doing the things that you really want to do? I mean, I don’t want to tell you what to do, but if I were you, I would choose the latter one. The choice is yours of course! So you think that you are not smart enough. Well, I am sure there are situations in your past where you were smart enough. Can you think of one? How did you succeed in that situation? And can you apply those things in this situation to become smarter as well?
3. Talk to yourself with a growth mindset
When you first try this out, it can be really hard and it is easy to give up. To try and grow more into a growth mindset, try treating yourself as a good friend would do. What would you say to your best friend if she says to you that she is not smart enough to finish this course? Use that advise on yourself as well or say: “I don’t know enough about this course, but I’m willing to learn”. Another way is to use the word “yet”. It will not limit yourself of totally blocking and stopping yourself from doing that thing, but encourage you to learn and try and keep growing.
Remember that you and your brain always develop and grow through life and that you can learn anything you want by putting in the effort and have that goal you want to achieve clear on your horizon. Reflect and improve and see what other people are doing so that you can learn from them and their possible mistakes.