Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Are you a fixed or growth mindset person?

Is it possible for Tim Tebow or Tony Romo to become elite hall of fame quarterbacks? What you believe about these quarterbacks may determine how successful you are in your career. 

If you have the mindset that neither of these will ever become the quality qb that can lead their team to a Super bowl like Tom Brady or Aaron Rogers, that they don’t have the ability to improve much beyond where they are now, you are probably a “fixed mindset” person.  If you think, yes they have a good chance of being great, you are probably more of a "growth mindset".

Chip Heath explains in the book Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard, that people are generally “fixed mindset” or “growth mindset” and this can make a difference in how you approach success.  He provides this simple test to see which mindset you are.

Read the following four sentences and write down whether you agree or disagree with each of them 
  1. You are a certain kind of person, and there is not much that can be done to really change that. 
  2. No matter what kind of person you are, you can always change substantially.
  3. You can do things differently, but the important parts of who you are can’t really be changed
  4. You can always change basic things about the kind of person you are.  
If you agreed with items 1 and 3 you’re someone with a ”fixed mindset.”  And if you agreed with items 2 and 4 you tend to have a “growth mindset.”

People who have a "fixed mindset" would more likely believe that their abilities are basically static. If you are dumb, you'll always be dumb.  You may get a little bit smarter or better but your ability to be a good speaker, football player or musician is determined by your giftedness or wiring.  Fixed mindset people believe Romo and Tebo will never be much better than they are now.  

However, those with the “growth mindset” believe that abilities are like muscles - they can be built up with practice. Their mindset is that they are not restricted by their genes.  Failure is only a means to being better.  An athlete should improve every year he or she plays until age begins to diminish their athletic ability.  Good players can become great players.  Romo and Tebo will become better players with more experience and hard work.

Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford University in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, establishes the case that a growth mindset will make you more successful at almost anything because those who stretch themselves, take risks, accept feedback, and take the long term view can’t help but progress in their lives and careers.  Dweck, through controlled studies proved that the growth mindset can be taught and that it can change lives.Change is possible!  But as Christians, we already knew this.  Our faith is based on our ability to change, to become new through Jesus Christ.  Philippians 4:13, All things are possible through Christ.   Even for Romo and especially for Tebow!

The question is which mindset are you?  And, if you are a “fixed mindset” person; are you willing to be retrained to become growth minded?  Your success may depend on it.  

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