Changing your mindset is the way to achieve success and feel fulfilled in your life.
“If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a lot of time dealing with a life you don’t want.” – Kevin Ngo
Let’s see why and how!
You need to have the right mindset if you want to achieve anything meaningful in your life and be successful.
You may thus need to change the mindset you are using.
I will give you 11 signs to check if you have a mindset issue below.
But first, let’s see what is a mindset.
What is a “mindset”?
If you look up the definition (let me do this for you!), you will get :
the established set of attitudes held by someone.
Let’s dive a bit deeper.
According to Dr Carol S. Dweck, an eminent researcher in social and developmental psychology at Stanford University, a mindset is the “views you adopt for yourself”, the collection of beliefs you use when facing a given situation.
This is the foundation of your behaviors, which will determine what actions you will take to handle a situation.
Thus to ensure you will make durable changes in your life, you need first to check which mindset you use and change it if it is not suitable.
Let’s have a look at a few signs right now.
Here are 11 signs that you need to change your mindset:
1. You don’t accept failure
You see failure as something permanent, a sign of your own incompetence, your defaults.
You haven’t failed to do something, you ARE a failure. And this is dangerous.
It can lead people (I hope not you!) to hurt themselves and even commit suicide (like the famous Chef Bernard Loiseau).
But you can see failure from another perspective, a different mindset. As an indication of something which is not going right, not that you are a bad person.
You just a bad choice, a bad decision. And this is ok, we all do mistakes. All of us.
A better way to handle failures is to see this as an opportunity to learn, to improve the situation, to avoid repeating them. And grow, instead of shrinking.
– John Assaraf
“You can’t stop the rain, but you can wear a raincoat. […] Not only can you wear a raincoat, you can collect the rain and use the water.”
2. You don’t want to face the truth
You have to take responsibility for your choice, for what you do. You are not a puppet, you have your own will.
Every time you do something, you make a succession of choice, take decisions, even if they can be not very conscious sometimes.
If you hear yourself complain about external factors or if people tend to tell you that you complain a lot, it might well be a good sign that you are not taking full responsibility for your life.
Don’t get me wrong, lots of things happen on which we don’t have any control. I am talking about things you have control on.
“The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You do not blame them on your mother, the ecology, or the president. You realise that you control your own destiny.”— Albert Ellis
3. You put the blame on others or external circumstances
When you don’t do what you were expected to do, like the washing-up or send an important email to a colleague, do you blame others or anything else than yourself?
“It is not my fault”. Well, yes it is.
Again, you are responsible for your own life, don’t you?
Let’s be honest and find why you don’t do something instead of blame the weather, the cat or your boss.
4. You feel always unsatisfied and unhappy
In line with the previous point, if you are constantly or very often complaining about everything, this is a sign you should change your mindset.
5. You feel angry when your expectations are not met
Do you feel anger when a situation is not like it should be, more precisely, like YOU would like it to be?
This is another sign that you are using the wrong mindset.
6. You tend to fly away from challenging situations
When things get hard, do you tend to avoid the situation? Find a way to escape?
Do you feel in danger in front of challenges? Like if people will finally discover that you are not so smart, not so good at what you do?
7. You give up easily
Related to the previous, do you tend to give up easily?
How many times do you finish something? I mean something with some difficulties, like learning a difficult piece on the piano or writing a book. Or starting your own business.
8. You loose interest when it gets hard
Another sign of avoidance of challenging situations is to lose interest as soon as it gets hard.
Your mind, not always very consciously, tells you:” It is not worth doing this, it is too difficult”.
And you go for something easier which you feel confident to do.
9. You always compare yourself to others
Are you always looking to others, to see how they do things and if you do the same way?
Do you always feel judged on everything you do or say?
10. You seek for attention, for validation
If when people don’t show you some attention, you feel rejected, sad or angry, this is another sign that you have to change your mindset.
11. You are susceptible to any remark from others and you get mad at them
Have you noticed how often you feel hurt and angry when someone, especially close relations, makes a remark when you don’t do a thing they way or if you don’t do things very well?
Do you feel that urge to show that you are superior, that you are right?
Or on the contrary, you feel like the worst person on Earth? Because you didn’t clean very well a window? Really?
Yes, you can really feel very bad for even very simple things.
Sometimes, just because you think about what others MIGHT think, you feel stressed.
I do myself.
I don’t have all the signs above, but a few!
But now that start to understand what is the problem, I can “work” on it and improve.
And I want to share with you what I have found about this mindset issue.
Because if you look back to this list, do you think you can really be successful using this kind of mindset?
I don’t think so.
But more importantly, you won’t feel fulfilled, even you get some success.
If you recognize a few (or all) of these signs, it means that you are using what the Stanford psychologist Dr. Carol S. Dweck calls a “fixed mindset”.
The solution to these obstacles to your success and fulfilment is to develop a “growth mindset”.
But first, let’s have a closer look to the fixed mindset so we understand where are coming from. And then where we want to go.
What is a fixed-mindset?
Well what you already have seen in the list above are examples and consequences of a fixed mindset.
A fixed mindset is a belief that your abilities are fixed and can not change.
To quote Dweck:
“In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail—or if you’re not the best—it’s all been wasted.”
“Believing that your qualities are carved in stone—the fixed mindset—creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over.”
Let me take a simple example: you want to sing.
You look for lessons and you find a collective lesson next to your home.
You go there and see this girl singing like an angel.
And you think: “She is a natural” and “ I can’t do this.”
And afraid of showing your lack of talent, you fly away.
Your belief is “If I am not good at this NOW, I won’t never be good.”
What is a growth mindset?
Contrarily to the fixed-mindset, this is the belief that your abilities can improve, that you can get better at what you do.
To quote Dweck again:
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
Let’s take the same example as before:
You want to sing. You look for lessons and you find a collective lesson next to your home.
You go there and see this girl singing like an angel.
And you think: “She must have worked a lot” and “ I can’t sing like this, yet. But I will learn and eventually get there.”
And afraid of showing your lack of talent, you fly away.
“I am not good at this, YET”.
But I will make progress and eventually be good at it.
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.Michael Jordan
What are the benefits of a growth mindset?
You will get smarter.
And whatever your age. This is not only for kids.
You will have better relationships, both social and intimate.
You brain work differently as soon as you shift to a growth mindset.
And your results will massively improve.
In any aspect of your life: work, school, education, relationships, hobbies…
“OK it seems good for me and I want to develop it, so now, what do I do?”
Let’s go to it now.
How to cultivate a growth mindset?
Again, I will follow here the recommendation from Carol S. Dweck book “Mindset”.
By the way, you can buy it here.
Don’t skim quickly the following steps if you really want to succeed.
I know you want, otherwise, why would you read this?
If you go too fast, it won’t work, you will just get half of it. And thus half of the result.
Let’s start now.
Step1: Embrace your fixed mindset
Recognise that it exists. It is in you, in all of us actually. I have one also.
Observe what is happening in your mind when you have a new challenge to face. How do you feel?
What are your thoughts?
Do you tell yourself things like: “ I don’t have what is takes!” or “No way I can do this!”?
I bet you do.
Or when you fail at something, how do you feel?
Do you feel desperate? Incompetent? And you are afraid that people (especially your loved ones!) will discover the “real” truth about yourself? That you are just a big failure?
I can see these thoughts forming in your head. And how much you suffer from it.
So it is there. And it is ok.
Take the time to observe it and don’t deny it.
This is the first step of your journey: see without judgment, without hiding it, without lying to yourself and others.
You have a fixed mindset.
But not at every moment, it is usually triggered by something you do or others do.
Which lead to the next step.
Step2: Be aware of your fixed mindset triggers
Have you noticed when it happens?
What are the situations were your fixed-mindset show up?
Observe carefully, no judging, when you switch to a fixed mindset. This will help you to avoid being controlled by it and start to break free.
Step3: Observe and understand your fixed mindset persona
Get to know it. In fact, get to know him or her.
Yes, you can see it as a persona and you can even give it a name. It will then appear as an entity that you can get to know, understand how it behaves, why it shows up.
Yep, that sounds weird and I was skeptical myself. But it does help indeed not to take it seriously.
It is a technique a disidentification in fact, of distantiation from these negative thoughts you have when your fixed-mindset shows up.
Step4: Welcome it and let it go
Now that you know when your persona will come, just welcome it:” hello, I knew you would show up now”. And let it do its things (like saying” you will never be able to do this!”) as someone else.
With time, you won’t even hear it anymore. It will disappear by itself.
If, on the contrary, you want to fight it, well you are using a fixed-mindset then to fight a fixed-mindset. Guess what will happen? It will grow (yes I like paradoxes!). It will take more and more space. Every time you will be in a situation that triggers your fixed-mindset, you will put all your attention to it instead of using a growth mindset.
Step5: Help others with their fixed-mindset
Once you have made these journeys with your fixed-mindset. You will also see it in others. And find out what are their triggers. You can then help them be aware of this, help them see when it shows up.
And since you will exercise your mind to detect and understand it in another’s mind, you will be more and more efficient to do so for yourself. All the benefits of using a growth-mindset!
Use the power of “yet”.
You haven’t manage to cook this meal? Not yet.
You haven’t done a great presentation in front of your colleagues? Not yet.
But you can analyze your errors and improve.
The next one will be better.
If you take every single occasion to learn, you will get pretty good at this, guaranteed! But say to yourself: “ I didn’t succeed, yet.”
We have seen in this article a few signs of a fixed mindset and why it keeps you away from success.
And how to cultivate a growth mindset.
And start your way to success!
To summarise the ideas behind this post, I leave you with a last quote:
“When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world–the world of fixed traits–success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. In the other–the world of changing qualities–it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself.”Carol S. Dweck