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Why Mindset Matters: How to Use Your Growth Mindset to Reset Your Thoughts

02/25/2016 11:20 am 11:20:33 | Updated 25 February 2016

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"The mightiest flame of fire lies in positive mindset" Lailah Gifty Akita

Last year was a difficult year for me; I know we all have them, so I hope to help you get through yours. You see all things pass, not necessarily for better or worse, life is a moving journey and either the scenery changes or you change or both. You may have adopted a fixed mindset and feel stuck, but your life is not fixed.

When we are in pain, we feel that nothing will change and that the pain will continue to paralyse our abilities. However, people who are in physical pain, over time, can train their mind to numb the physical feeling of pain. When you are in pain, you can change what and how you feel about the pain, either amend the thing that is causing you pain, or you modify the way you feel about the pain or both.

"Mindset is about believing in yourself" says Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology and author of Mindset Dweck discovered in her research at Stanford that our belief guides a large part of our life and could prevent us from fulfilling our potential. Much of what you think of as your personality is derived from your mindset.

You adopt either a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. A growth mindset is positive and gives you an optimistic outlook and a belief that great possibilities will lead to great things. A fixed mindset can derive from a trauma, a conflict or a negative belief; it is not a fixed personality but an inner voice that doubts your ability to succeed.

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I mentored a business owner who was perturbed and provoked about a disruptive key employee that he thought was making a move to leave the company. So I asked the owner "what's the problem?" he looked at me like 'have you just heard me tell you about my problem'. I responded with "in the time it takes you to performance manage the disruptive behaviour, the key employee would have left the company, why don't you remove any barriers to their exit so you and your team can move forward?" The business owner said to me months later you were right the issue resolved itself and that he could not understand why he was so worried about the problem. In business and life we get fixated on the problem, which only makes the problem bigger and vexatious. Two fixed mindsets often create conflict, a growth mindset looks for solutions.

Your fixed mindset has a built-in negative bias working overtime, filling your mind with self-doubt and fear. A fixed mind thinks of all the 'what ifs', your negative voice wants to keep you safe saying 'it is not your fault, it was something or someone else's fault', it keeps you in your comfort zone and so fixes your position.

Your growth mindset is willing to take responsibility, and the voice says 'if I do not assume the responsibility, I cannot fix it, however, painful it is I will learn from the experience'. A growth mindset knows if you do not try you have already failed, so it is willing to risk failure and correct mistakes because your growth mindset wants to improve, to learn, to grow.

See more about the differences in mindset from Professor Carol Dweck.

In life, how you interpret challenges, setback, and criticism are your choice to choose. A fixed mindset will believe your capabilities are lacking while a growth mindset will understand setbacks and challenges as an opportunity to expand your capabilities. We have elements of both and choose a default so it is up to you.

Although we are talking about Mind Set, remember your mind does not have to be set, either change the scenery or re-set your thoughts. Practice hearing both voices, and practice acting on your growth mindset, "the Mind is a flexible mirror, adjust it, to see a better world" Amit Ray, Mindfulness.

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