Change and Growth

This month we’re going to spend a little more time talking about change. (I say “more time” because we touched on this topic once before, a while back.) Change is happening all around us.

Without continual growth and progress, such words as improvement, achievement, and success have no meaning.

Benjamin Franklin

No doubt there are not only changes to our “environment”, things like political and economic changes for example, but also personal changes, as well. The question I want to ask you is… How do you respond to those changes? Do you embrace them, or do you fight them? Do you seek them out, or do you run in the other direction?

Several years ago, Carol Dweck, a Professor of Psychology at Stanford, penned a book called Mindset. In it, she posits that there are two prevailing types of mindsets: The fixed mindset and the growth mindset. The Fixed mindset is characterized by a belief that your abilities are “carved in stone”, creating “an urgency to prove yourself over and over”. These folks believe that you have what you have and that’s it – there’s no growing or changing your inherent abilities. Alternatively, the Growth mindset is founded on the belief that “your basic qualities” can be “cultivated through your efforts”. Those with a growth mindset believe that “everyone can change and grow through application and experience.”

There is an enormous amount of valuable information in this book regarding how understanding these mindsets – specifically which one you have – can help you navigate the waters of parenting, school, business and even relationships. (For those within walking distance of my office, you are welcome to pull the book of my shelf and peruse it!) The part that we are going to discuss briefly here, though, involves the way these mindsets intersect with our attitudes regarding change.

One distinction between the two mindsets that Dweck makes is that the fixed mindset individual believes that it is the world that needs to change, not them. In their view, their environment needs to react to them as individuals. It is almost an entitlement mentality that they are “owed” something by the world. The Growth mindset individual, by contrast, believes that if a change is necessary that it can, and in many cases should, begin with them. They are characterized by the belief that it is their responsibility to change the world, not the other way around. As you might expect, the growth minded person is much more comfortable with change, regardless of whether they initiate it or not. On the following Link you will find a chart that can help you determine which mindset most defines you - Source: http://colorfulprincipal.blogspot.com/2012/12/what-is-your-mindset.html.-

As you can probably see, the growth mindset is a much healthier and effective attitude when it comes to dealing with everything in life, be it personal, business or otherwise. The really good news is that it is possible to change your mindset. It all starts with making a plan and visualizing a way that you are going to carry it out. Again, the book goes into a great amount of detail of how to go through this process – there’s no way to do that process justice in this space. The important thing though, is to know that it is always possible to change!

~ Bud Sanders

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