Professor Carol Dweck is an American psychologist who introduced the concept of Mindset, how it affects us, and how we can improve it.
According to her, there are two types, fixed and growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that we are born with certain abilities, skills, and intelligence that cannot be changed.
Such people tend to think in terms of black or white. They either like a subject or dislike it. They are either talented or not and a certain field of life is suitable for them or not.
Such people tend to document their achievements, avoid challenges and feel bored when they try learning new skills. A person with a fixed mindset hates criticism and takes it personally. He does not like to change his ways of doing things and believes failure is a measure of his abilities.
So if he fails say in learning computer programming he would believe that he will never be able to learn it again. On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset thinks in a different way. He believes skills and intelligence can be acquired and there is always room for improvement. He sees success as continuous work and tells himself that he can learn new skills if he is not perfect at them.
Such people like challenges and self-development, view criticism as a way of becoming a better person.
Reading about successful people inspire them to improve their own skills. They view failure as a way of developing or succession in another aspect.
According to psychologists most people have fixed mindsets and the media may have a role in influencing this. If you are watching a movie about superheroes you notice they are more powerful than the average person which enables them to do what others can’t do.
So from the superhero’s point of view, average people have no power and would not be able to achieve much.
If you are unable to pass exams or get a promotion this will mean you are a failure. A person with a flexible mindset is driven by his values not what other people think of him or her.
Psychology tells us that our mindset develops around the age of three and that children tend to copy mindsets from their parents so a child with a fixed mindset finds it hard to accept challenges because he fears failure, whereas those with a growth mindset keep learning and challenging themselves.
Praise and bullying are two main tools to influence how mindsets develop. For example, if you tell a child he is smart he would avoid making more effort to reach a higher level so instead of praising the person, psychologists suggest it is best to praise efforts as this encourages the child to grow and develop.
The same can be applied at the workplace when efforts are praised, a worker learns that he can do better and progress well in his job.
On the other hand, bullying makes the victim feel weak and want to seek revenge from the bully.
People can have a different mindsets in different aspects and change them as they grow older. So whatever is your mindset, remember it’s not written in stone.