'Mindset' is a concept that's been around since the early 1900's, according to Wiki. It's a word that's become part of my daily vocabulary when speaking with clients and I thought I'd investigate the philosophy behind the terms 'Fixed' and 'Growth' Mindsets, as I try and evaluate my own 'Mindset' traits.
However, I'm a bit confused to which 'Mindset' set I belong to. You see, I believe I'm in the intersecting part of a 'Venn Diagram of ‘Fixed’ and Growth Mindset' where the two circles intersect, if that makes sense.
To help clarify things, I looked to the expert in the 'Mindset' field - Professor Carol Dweck. Her primary research is in motivation, personality and development and speaks volumes - if I had the right 'Growth' Mindset, I could read all about it in her 2006 book 'Mindset: The New Psychology of Success' but as a ‘Fixed’ Mindset non-reader, I was a bit at a loss but luckily Wiki helped again...
Dweck states that there are two categories (Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset) that can group individuals based on their behaviour, specifically their reaction to failure. Those with a 'Fixed Mindset' believe that abilities are mostly innate and interpret failure as the lack of necessary basic abilities, while those with a ‘Growth Mindset’ believe that they can acquire any given ability provided they invest effort or study. Dweck argues that the ‘Growth Mindset’ will allow a person to live a less stressful and more successful life'.
Now, as soon as I see 'Failure', I immediately identify with the ‘Fixed Mindset” character trait as the 'F' word (Failure not ****) is like Kryptonite to my inner soul. Yet my ‘Mindset’ isn’t so myopic that I don’t believe that investing effort and study won’t bring results – well apart from swimming or triathlon as my mindset has been ‘Fixed’ by having the same buoyancy qualities as a house-brick. But then again, I’m pretty much stress-free and have had enjoyed many successes over the years which swings me back into the ‘Growth Mindset’ group.
So you can see why I’m confused. Or perhaps it’s how we like to label people nowadays and maybe I’m just someone that you can’t label. Or group, or even want to group. And maybe you are the same? No-one needs to be anything really – you just need to know who you are, where you are going and what’s needed to get you there.
And that’s all that matters…
1,044 Marathons, 244 Ultras, 9 Guinness World Records & 15 Marathon des Sables