Hello everybody. I’m Steven Nathanson, CEO, and founder of Strive For More. And today, I wanted to talk about growth mindset. What does that mean? Where does it come from? How do we really harness it to truly achieve the success that we want? And why is it so important to have a growth oriented mindset? So let’s dive into that a little.
Growth mindset, that concept comes from Carol [inaudible 00:00:28], and there’s a great book that she wrote on it and the studies that led to it. The book is called Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Great resource for you. You can find it on our website on our recommended reads page, www.striveformore.com. You can also find it on Amazon. Whatever’s easiest for you. But in that book, here’s what it essentially breaks down.
There’s this dueling degree of mindsets. You have a growth oriented mindset on one hand, and then you have a fixed oriented mindset on the other. So what do those mean? A fixed mindset is we’re not changing. I am who I am. It’s not going to be any different. There’s no possibility for me to get any better or to change or to grow, to get stronger in an area. It is what it is, and that’s the way that it’s going to stay.
That’s essentially a fixed mindset. A growth oriented mindset on the opposite end of the spectrum is different. We’re capable of changing and growing, developing new strengths, changing things into strengths that perhaps are areas to grow in currently. And when we’re challenged or presented with problems, those are opportunities for us to continue to get better, to figure things out, to become stronger in those areas. Let’s say math, it’s maybe a really difficult problem. Fixed mindset could be, “I can’t do it. It’s done. And I’m never going to get any better at doing these.” Where a growth oriented mindset individual would look at that and say, okay, yeah, this is a challenge, but I know I’m capable of using this to grow and to work on this skillset and to harness it, to get better at it and to continue to change and grow in the future.
So maybe the best way of kind of summarizing and describing that is we often hear about glass ceilings, right? Or a ceiling in general. There’s a ceiling and I can’t go past it. That’s kind of a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is I can bust through that ceiling, right? I can break through, say, that glass ceiling until I hit the next one, which I guess what? I can also break through and I can continue to keep growing and developing. And if I look at life in that fashion, I have a much more positive serving outlook. And as we’ve talked about before, there’s different things that happen in our bodies when we activate certain nervous systems.
And so if we have a fixed mindset, that can be very much in the realm of activating the sympathetic nervous system, the stuff that does keep us down versus the parasympathetic nervous system, which is stuff that’s going to uplift us. So there is actually a physiological difference in those mindsets and how it affects us in our body.
So what does that path forward look like? Let’s say, if I do have a fixed mindset to create a growth oriented mindset? Well, the first step really is this awareness. What is it that I believe? Am I growth oriented? Do I have a fixed mindset? I think that very first foundational part of this is creating that awareness around who am I and what is my mentality?
So one way of diving into this is what do you believe you’re capable of? Do I believe I am capable of continuing in growing and challenge myself and getting better? Is that a foundational maybe broad mentality that I have regarding all aspects of my life? Or am I more like that fixed mindset where it is what it is, it’s not changing. That’s the way that I was made. And there’s no going past that. That awareness allows us to really create this self check at the beginning to let us know where do we stand?
And you may find maybe it varies. Maybe athletically say have a fixed mindset or creatively I have a growth oriented mindset. And maybe it’s born from my experiences in those arenas of, let’s say, running cross country in high school, at least maybe giving it a go and seeing that there’s a lot of people who are perhaps faster than I am, and maybe I tried it for a week and I wasn’t getting any faster. And so, those experiences just cause me to believe, well, I physically can’t do it. It is what it is. It’s never going to change. So maybe in that area, I have a fixed mindset, but maybe I was more perhaps creatively inclined. And so in art class, it came easier for me to be more creative. I grew my skills more quickly. And so, I have a stronger growth oriented mindset in that arena because of those experiences. Having a fixed mindset or a growth oriented mindset doesn’t have to be this broad generalization.
It can vary in shift for various aspects of our lives. And that’s okay because when we create this fundamental awareness, it’s going to carve a path for by illuminating our natural tendencies and allow us to become who we truly want to be and how we want to be by recognizing where do we serve ourselves with a growth oriented mindset and where perhaps do we not serve ourselves with a fixed oriented mindset. And the power of a growth oriented mindset when it comes to grit, give, recognize, implement time, is it is a foundational piece of the recognized component of grit. Recognizing we always have a choice. And why that’s important is because whether we see it or not, that choice is always, always there. And it is always ours to take. It’s always up to us. Even if we think it’s not, and we’re being forced into it, we always have options and choices.
And when we have a fixed mindset, it is a lot harder to see that, to see that I have a choice. Let’s use that running example. When I saw people, say, being faster than me in this example, I tried it for a week and I’m convincing myself from my thoughts that, you know what? It’s not possible. I’m not capable. It’s not going to happen. Maybe I’m just not built the way that they are. I don’t have as much, say, fast twitch muscle fibers as they do. It’s not going to happen and I’m not going to get better. I am talking myself out of even trying. And I may see, I don’t have a choice in the matter because I’m just born the way that I am.
But if we look at that in reality, and we take those thoughts out of our head for a second, we can see that there actually really is a choice there. We have perceptions about those people that maybe think one way. Or making us think one way. That is not possible, but maybe if we tweaked our training a little bit, we put a little bit more effort into it like we did creatively in the art arena, we would see that it is possible. We would see improvements. And so in that moment, I actually have that choice. Do I want to give up, or do I want to shift things a little bit, try a little bit harder, put more effort into it. I have that choice or in that scenario, even those choices. So that’s why this is such a powerful part and fundamental component of recognizing we always have a choice.
Because when we have a fixed mindset, we essentially talk ourselves out of seeing that choice and completely take it off the table and create blinders to it. But when I have a growth oriented mindset, I am much more open to the possibilities and the paths that are going to actually take me to where I want to go, because I can see that it is possible to work on things that challenge me, overcome them, and continue to be who I want to be and grow and get stronger, faster, better, smarter. It is possible in essence. So that is the foundational and fundamental component of recognizing we always have a choice is what is that mindset that we’re really going into life with in that arena that we’re talking about?
Because on another brief, quick tangent about it is when we have that thought track, that self-talk, that says it’s not possible. I can’t do this. And we say that to ourselves over over and over and over again. And Jude agrees with us there. I start believing it. It becomes a fundamentally ingrained belief inside of me because I’ve told myself enough times that I start believing it and I start making it true. And there is nothing else, but that truth, because I’ve told it to myself so many times that it becomes a deeply ingrained belief in me that doesn’t serve me.
I’ll give you one last prime example on that. Math is something that can be a difficult thing to learn. And a lot of times when we’re at dinner and someone who says, “Oh, I’m not good at math. I’m not really comfortable doing,” it is more likely to pass that check off to somebody else to say calculate the tip, whether it’s 10%, 15%, 20%, whatever you happen to be leaving. It’s very easy for that person to just say, you know what? I’m not going to math. I don’t even want to try this because I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of people. So I’m not even going to deal with it. That’s a fixed mindset.
A growth oriented mindset, let’s say, we’re out to dinner maybe by ourselves. And instead of saying, “I’m really not good at this. Let me give it a go. Let me try. Let me do say 10%.” And I’m going to give you my real way of doing it to make my life easier. I literally start with 10%. So for 10%, I know I have to remove a zero. So if my bill is say $20, 10% of that, if I remove a zero is $2. So I do 10% first, and then I double it. So I say, if I want to leave 20%, 20% of $20 for me is remove the zero. That’s two, double it, four. That’s my tip.
So I’m going to leave a total of $24. For me, I find that much easier to do, to calculate the tip is to start with what I know I’m very capable of and what’s an easy path for me to actually get to where I want to go, which is leaving that 20% tip and figuring out what that is. Simply remove a zero and then double that, instead of saying, okay, well, what’s 20% of 20, especially when we’re talking about odd numbers and maybe it’s like $37.48, as an example. In that case, again, $37 and 48 cents. If I remove a zero, I know it’s $3.74 cents. And then if I double that, here’s how I do that part. Well, I say $3. That’s whole. So I know double that is $6. Now, 74 cents, if I double that, that’s going to be what? 70 times two, that’s 140. I know there’s 4 cents there. So that’s eight. So it’s 148 cents, which is a $1.48. So now I know in total I’m leaving $7.48 cents.
Why I bring this example because it’s a very common thing, especially with math, for people. And that real-world example for me, it is honestly how I do that, how I calculate tips and do math to make it as easy as possible for me. And when I was initially faced with this, I could have very well said, you know what? I can’t do it. It’s not possible. It’s too hard and I could have given up. But I recognize that I do have that choice and that I… You know? I’m a very capable, smart individual. I can figure this out. Let me use this as an opportunity to find what’s truly going to work well for me and right for me to easily calculate that tip. And that’s where this process for me came from. So that’s just a little insight into how my brain works and how I really bring this recognized piece and this growth mindset piece to light in my own. So I hope you enjoyed today. I really look forward to seeing you all next time. And until then, be the movement in your life.
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