Mindset- a common theme in the self-improvement realm these days. What is mindset? Mindset is the established set of attitudes you hold. Your mindset impacts not only your day-to-day successes, but your overall success in life as well.
Can you learn and change and grow, or not? How you answer this question determines whether you have a fixed or growth mindset. If you have a fixed mindset, your attitude is that you (and others) are either naturally gifted in an area or are incapable. If you are incapable, there isn't the possibility of improving. If you have a growth mindset, you believe you can develop any part of yourself that you choose. Getting better at something is always a possibility. You believe a person can develop an ability they did not previously have.
How does mindset impact stress levels? People with a growth mindset seek development and growth. This means they welcome obstacles and challenges- yes, welcome them! In fact, they relish them. Why? Because they see challenges as opportunities to improve and grow. Therefore, they are unlikely to allow difficulties to stress them out.
Also, with a growth mindset the need to appear perfect, brilliant and talented doesn't exist. Approval is not the goal- learning and growing are. Not being overly consumed with how you appear to others leads to a much less stressful existence. Perfectionism can be a real joy-stealer, and is often the source of much unnecessary stress. One of my favorite thoughts on perfectionism comes from Anne Lamott in her book Bird by Bird:
“Perfectionism means that you try desperately not to leave so much mess to clean up. But clutter and mess show us that life is being lived. Clutter is wonderfully fertile ground - you can still discover new treasures under all those piles, clean things up, edit things out, fix things, get a grip. Tidiness suggests that something is as good as it's going to get. Tidiness makes me think of held breath, of suspended animation, while writing needs to breathe and move.”
The difference in this perspective between tidiness and clutter sounds a lot like the difference between a fixed vs. a growth mindset, doesn't it? As good as it's going to get vs. discovery, movement and growth.
So what's the mindset shift that can turn your pain into pleasure? Begin seeing hardship as opportunity.
The first step to shifting from a fixed to a growth mindset is to become conscious of thoughts that are fixed, and once you identify them, seek to adapt a growth oriented attitude instead. For example, if you forget to grab one of the items on your grocery list while at the store and you find yourself thinking, "gosh, I am so scattered!" reframe and tell yourself instead, "misses happen! I'll pay closer attention next time." Try this for a week. Keep a journal of the specific thoughts and your alterations. Notice how this impacts your stress levels.
Remember- you are not a finished product, but a continual process.
To learn more about mindset and how to develop a growth mindset, as well as become a more effective leader, parent, teacher and partner, read Mindset by Carol Dweck. Would you like to identify your strengths and weaknesses and determine where there is room for you to grow and develop for greater success in your life and relationships? I'd love to help! Let's talk about how I can help you grow and develop.