We all have the ability to achieve the impossible, and yet so few of us are able to make our life extraordinary. This is not because we are anything lesser than our more successful peers, and certainly not because they are more lucky than us. What makes some people exceptional is the power of their thinking, or rather their mindset. A mindset roughly refers to the inner beliefs, entrenched deep down in our sub-consciousness, based on which we form an opinion about the world, and ourselves. These beliefs are a product of our surroundings, our interactions with different elements of the society, our upbringing and our own actions. While a lot of these factors are out of our direct control, it doesn’t mean that our mindset or attitude cannot be changed. With sincere intentions and persistent effort there is nothing that cannot be achieved.
What is a success oriented mindset?
A success oriented mindset or a growth mindset is an opposite of fixed mindset. In a fixed mindset we persuade ourselves into believing that our qualities, intelligence and talents are fixed, innate traits, of which we have certain amount. On the other hand, a growth mindset believes that every skill and talent can be developed through effort and practice. People with such mindset rely on experience, and persistence to keep growing as an individual, taking challenges heads on all the way. These people, although not as ‘gifted’, yet are not afraid of facing hurdles and making mistakes.
A kid who gets the best grades in the high school, is the most popular guy around, and shows promise of being a highly successful professional might not end up with the best job after all because of the fixed mindset trap. He or she may have been led to believe that he just has it. Falling into the trap of the ‘gifted’ theory, he becomes afraid of making mistakes which becomes his undoing. Afraid to come out of the comfort zone, such ‘bright’ kids do not take risks and achieve their full potential. On the other side of the spectrum are kids with seemingly average intelligence, and yet because of their ‘no-holds-barred’ attitude, become far more successful. Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford has echoed similar views in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”.
How to overcome a fixed mindset?
There are ways, and many ways to overcome this conundrum of fixed mindset. One thing that we have to understand is that even if the growth mindset is not the most comfortable, it surely is the most conducive to success in every sphere of life.
Don’t be afraid of challenges
Instead of running away from challenges, feel excited to face them. After all a challenge is nothing but a new experience, something that takes you out of your comfort zone. So instead of feeling threatened and defensive, take the challenge head on, thinking about the immense learning experience it would be. Do not be focused on the outcome. Just flow with the process, focusing on one thing at a time, absorbing each step so that whatever the result might be, you in the end will be a learned individual, which is a success in itself.
Acknowledge things holding you back
You cannot change something until you realize it needs to be changed. Therefore, the first and foremost thing to do is to recognize things holding you back. Is it the fear of being laughed at? Is it an inferiority complex that has its roots in how your physical appearance is? Or is it the way you think people will perceive your outspokenness? All these are mental roadblocks that we ourselves pit against our own success. Until we are able to overcome these self-inflicted fears, success cannot be tasted. To make sure we keep away from these so called ‘shortcomings’ do not think about conclusions until you reach there.
Pick an idol who won against the odds
The easiest way to learn something is by imitating it. ‘Fake it until you make it’ is an effective psychological behavioral practice used by highly successful people around us. You can pick your idol, a person who beat all odds to achieve success. This can be a person you know closely, someone in your professional or friend circle. Imitating their methods of approaching a challenge can eventually lead you to at least get over the fear of failure. Even better would be if you could find a mentor who can sincerely guide you and be honest about your strengths and weaknesses.
Act for small wins
Remodeling your inner beliefs is only useful when you act accordingly. The whole objective of this exercise is to not only change your thoughts, but also improve your actions. Break the entire process in small parts and focus on one part at a time. When you successfully complete one part, it will be a small win, but it will lead to genuine boost in self-confidence. Spend only tiny fraction of your daily time acting on the challenges, but be sincere in those 10 minutes of action. When you succeed in achieving the daily objective, it will boost your self- worth and create a desire for moving forward. This way you will also develop a passion for learning, which is a key requirement to succeed anywhere.
Even CEOs sometime fall in the trap of a fixed mindset. Therefore, Saurabh has written this post keeping in mind everyone, right from a fresher in the job industry to someone looking to apply to a job for Chief HR officer or a Chief Financial Officer. This write up will benefit all, regardless of your position, and field of work.
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