One of our biggest obstacles to putting our pasts away is the way others lock us into the way we behaved in our past. Do you have these people in your life? It’s definitely not just in extenuating circumstances like the ones I’m describing. Family relationships can be some of the most difficult to navigate when we’re in our process of transformation. People that have known you to be one way and behave certain ways continue to expect that you’ll always be the same. It’s as though you can’t change in their eyes, because if you did the new you would place an enormous amount of pressure on them to change as well.
Change is not something that most people do well. When asked to change how they approach their work, for instance, most employees will give lip service to their bosses but continue doing things the way they’ve always done them. Why? Because change is work. Not laborious, physical work but introspective, spiritual work.
Change causes us to look inside at the way we do things and how we view others. It demands that we adapt to a new way of seeing and being. Change is hard to grasp for minds that are resistant to growth.
Master Your Mindset
Dr. Carol Dweck in her book Mindset postulates that there are really only two types of mindsets: the “fixed” mindset and the “growth” mindset. She explains that people with the fixed mindset believe that their talents, personalities, character, and intelligence are “carved in stone” and that their lives revolve around proving themselves to others. Many environments in our lives can reinforce this way of thinking by rewarding only the smartest, fastest, strongest, and seemingly most “perfect” of us all. The fixed mindset is constantly trying to gain the approval of others through what they perceive to be the “gifts” they have been given by birthright. Every situation becomes a confirmation or rejection of their person. Will I look smart or stupid? Will I succeed or fail? Will I be accepted or rejected?
People with the growth mindset, though, see things a little differently. Growth-minded individuals believe that their basic qualities are things that can be cultivated through effort. Do they believe they can become anything? No. But they do hold to the fundamental belief that everyone’s true potential for growth and development is unknown and unknowable and it is, therefore, impossible to see what can be accomplished by the application of their passion in action. The growth mindset is constantly expanding and stretching itself. Why hide deficiencies when you can overcome them? Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why seek out experiences that you’ve already mastered when you could challenge yourself to grow?
The beauty of the two mindsets is simply this: you can choose which mindset you would like to adopt. Obviously, it’s much more empowering to live in the growth mindset. If you realize that you are largely fixed in your mindset then you can make the decision to change how you believe, view, and therefore feel about any and all situations. Change at this fundamental level will change everything in your life.
When you become growth-minded, your past no longer defines your future. You don’t look at what you’ve done in order to know how things are going to turn out for you, you look at how you can prepare for the greatness that is yet to come out of you. You are empowered to change anything that presents itself as a personal obstacle to the accomplishment of your goals and dreams. You begin to see others with the same capacity for growth and development that you yourself possess. You know that what you have achieved so far is not the definition of who you are or what you are able to complete.
When we function from a growth mindset, we see change as a welcome and constant companion in our lives instead of a dreaded and uninvited guest at our party. From this perspective, change is not impossible, it is expected.
Question: How will changing your mindset help you to sustain change? You can leave a comment by clicking here.