As far as I understand, a mindset encompasses everything related to our brain: beliefs, thoughts, actions, and behavior. A mindset is never fixed, it evolves every moment. It's been confirmed that patterns of neuron-firing change with time and every action we take - our mind is plastic, it's malleable. The question is whether we are changing our minds to work better or worse. Our thought patterns and actions influence and change the way our mind works.
When I started my career as an industrial designer. I am sure, I had a growth mindset. I loved experimenting with new materials, technologies, etc. without the fear of failure or retribution. But working in the corporate culture for years, perhaps, had got a hold of me and my mindset changed. After reflecting on my mindset a year back, I realized my mindset had become somewhat fixed; I am not ashamed of letting everybody know about this. But I got aware of the problem and started working towards it.
How did I know my mindset had become fixed? For the reasons listed below:
- I was afraid of failure; therefore, I tried to procrastinate new things
- I was afraid of embarrassment; therefore, I didn’t speak out new wild ideas aloud
- I found comfort in doing the same thing, over and over again.
So, how did I fix my mindset or changed it from fixed to growth? I used the following strategies:
- Learn: Instead of looking at
everything as a success or a failure. You should look at every task as an
opportunity to learn something new. Failures should no longer be dreadful,
you should consider them learning opportunities. Add an element of fun to
whatever you do. Fun takes away the stress and negativity from mundane and
important tasks alike and infuses positivity and playfulness.
- Embrace Setbacks: A setback
can happen only when you are making a progress; therefore, setback is a good thing to happen. It means you
are working towards a goal and moving forward. Setback means you are trying to come out of misery. A few negative spikes, now
and then, do not make the bullish trend bearish. What matters is the
overall trend instead of these occasional setbacks. Again, embrace and
learn from setbacks.
- Empathize: Instead of
competing with people around you, treat them as your friends. Treat your
boss as a friend, colleagues as a friend, customers as a friend.
Considering them as friend, even mentally, will help you to empathize with
them. When you start empathizing with other people, you make better
connections. You make connections that are not only professional but
emotional also; and emotional connections ring and resonate better. You
become more compassionate. How to empathize? Read this...
- Be Grateful: This is an
extension of the above bullet, but being grateful for people around you
and material comforts you possess is very important. The feeling of
gratefulness opens your mind. You start appreciating the world around you. Start telling people how awesome they are. Start sending 'thank you' emails. How to become grateful? Read this...
- Meditate: Meditation helps with mindfulness, which is a necessary element for the growth mindset. Mindfulness increases calmness and decreases stress. Meditation reduces the unwanted adrenaline surge in the body and helps us to focus and reflect. You perform things which you were afraid of in the past. Meditation removes the chronic resistance to unwanted thoughts and feelings. Instead of us fighting those feeling, meditation teaches us to embrace them. Headspace is a good meditation app to try.
If you do all the things mentioned above, you will start to feel good about your life, other people's lives, and the world around you. You will stop seeing new things or people as a threat. Instead, you will start embracing them, and look at them with the mindset of curiosity, fun, playfulness, and learning. The mindset of a child.
Wake up your inner child…