mindsets outline our perceptions
mindset = established sets of attitudes held by someone
American Psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset illustrates how accomplishment in school, work, sports, arts, and almost every area of human endeavour can be intensely influenced by how we contemplate our own talents and abilities.
mindset is an assemblage of thoughts and beliefs that shape my habits. My habits affect how I think, what I feel, and what I do since they are related to mindset, it helps me to understand attitude and beliefs.
She goes on to add there exists two types of mindsets – a) growth mindset, b) fixed mindsets that shape our lives
The fixed mindset is entrenched in the credence that an individual’s personal qualities are engraved in stone, at birth, we are granted a certain amount of intellect, morals, talent, etc. and that there is nothing we can do to grow it more.
The growth mindset “is imprinted on the belief that our rudimentary qualities are things that we foster through our hard work, our strategies, and the resulting benefit from others. Even though individuals may differ in their initial talents and abilities, interests or personalities — everyone can change and grow through application and understanding.”
To narrate an example a man was passing some herd of elephants, confused he paused and observed the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was apparent that the elephants can, any time, break away from their shackles but for some purpose, they did not.
His eyes fell on a trainer nearby and inquired why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. The trainer responded, “when they were smaller and much lesser in size, we used the same sized rope to leash them, at that age it was adequate to hold them, but as they were bred, they are conditioned to believe that they cannot break away. They believe the rope can keep them immobile, so they at no time try to break free.”
The man astounded thought these animals can time break free from their bonds anytime but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Each one of us can relate to this fable and the sense of having botched at something over all our developmental years.
Alike the elephants, many of us go through life holding on to a belief that I cannot do something as I have already failed at it. Over time, I begin to think that I am incapable of doing specific things and start accepting that as the reality and bound myself to a very narrowed world.
Internally I start contemplating I did try that earlier but since it didn’t work out for me, there is no point in trying it again and wasting my energy and time, I want to look good and don’t want to appear as a fool!’, giving rise to shrinking of my capabilities as I look for an external cocoon to find solace within.
Can I start looking this as a process of elimination i.e. when I start looking at failures as stepping stones to success I start responding positively with a sense of satisfaction that I tried and failed which makes my next step easier or when I acknowledge that I failed, I only use it to my advantage and make sure the mistake never happens again
To quote another example is Shamu the Killer Whale albeit on a positive side. How did they get a killer whale to jump 25 ft’ out of the water over a rope and dive the headfirst back into the water?
This procedure is broken in a few steps. The 1st step is to start with the rope below the surface of the water, just high enough from the bottom for the whale to swim under it if the whale swims beneath the rope, the trainer overlooks it, however, each time the whale swims above the rope, the trainer positively reinforces it and the whale gets to indulge fish.
The whale later starts to think there is an interesting analogy between the rope and the food.” So, the whale swims over the rope more often, gradually the trainers keep raising the rope, and lo because of its conditioning od mind the whale does its viola act.
Remember the legendary Michael Jordan’s testament in Nike’s commercial on failure "I've missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I've missed over and over and over again in my life.
So, don’t bound yourself to a small world, stop limiting yourself to a life that is constrained, break free of your mental restrictions, and enlarge out into this wonderful empire that we live in.