Psychologist Carol Dweck1 has spent many years researching how our self-image influences our lives. She discovered that we are essentially influenced by two basic inner attitudes. Depending on this basic attitude, we deal with change and challenges in our lives very differently.
If we consider our talent, intelligence and abilities as something fixed, we usually give up quickly when faced with difficulties or even avoid challenges completely. The fear of failure inhibits us from developing our true potential. With this unchanging attitude, we are not willing to learn from mistakes because we are afraid to make a mistake at all.
Unfortunately, when we face life with this attitude, we cannot face many opportunities and possibilities that would support us to create a better life. If you discover this attitude in yourself - or perhaps you know someone else - then you will learn in the next section which attitude allows us to go through life with open eyes.
If we have a growth mindset and believe that we can always develop further, then we see defeats as personal challenges that we can grow from. With this attitude, we are willing to practise and make mistakes. We have the confidence that with enough time we can overcome anything. This attitude allows us to recognise new opportunities all by ourselves and to solve problems more creatively.
Science tells you that just believing in it is already enough to have a different experience of life. You have all the necessary resources within you to grow and develop. In addition, you have many resources available within your environment that will support you in your life. Difficulties in life give you the opportunity to understand yourself better, to learn something and to grow beyond yourself. Look at what you have already learned - you were once a baby that couldn’t even walk. Now you can do much more than just walk…
To experience the difference between the two mindsets, I suggest the following experiment. Choose two different places in a room, each place representing one of the mindsets. Then go to that place and switch once to the mindset of limited resources and once to the mindset of unlimited, growing resources. See what effect this has on your perception.
Your inner attitude is one of the most important foundations for personal growth and development. Carol Dweck has explored two polarities and shown that with a growth mindset we have experiences in life that support our growth.
Believe that you can always evolve and that you have unlimited resources to do so. Now observe how your experience and actions change. Remember this when you encounter difficulties in life.
I have everything within me that I need for my development.
Dweck, C. (2007). Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. New York: Ballantine Books. ↩︎