I have to do it perfectly.
I have to do it fast.
I have to make it look easy.
Then, I have to do it all over again tomorrow.
These are the thoughts that go through my mind. Every. Single. Day.
This is what intellectual types – including the author of my recent HMA Book Club choice “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success” – call a “fixed mindset.”
People who tend toward this thinking believe, to a certain extent, that they – and everyone else – are born with a fixed amount of talent, intelligence, creativity and charm. Certainly, we can learn new things and seek out new adventures, but at our core, we believe we can’t really change how intelligent or special that we are.
It should also be noted that people who tend toward this thinking often believe that these “fixed” qualities are exceedingly high (ahem, guilty!) in themselves. Great examples from the book include people who had natural talent and/or drive including John McEnroe and Lee Iacocca. Also, children who tend toward the “fixed” mindset as adults were most likely high-achievers whose teachers and parents placed value on good grades and other academic or sports-related endeavors.
And, while not a bad thing, this constant barometer of success often teaches children that it is impossible to learn from mistakes – rather than learning from failure and growing from it, we internalize the negative feedback and lose the ability to see beyond the bad grade, et al. Oh, we also find it almost impossible to ask for help, ever.
Taking this concept into the workplace, someone with a fixed mindset is certainly not open to much criticism, since he/she has to be perfect at all times. And when in a leadership role, it is often hard to truly create an environment of learning, since he/she is prone to getting things done (perfectly) on his/her own. In addition, those in a fixed mindset are often tempted to surround themselves with praise – eventually getting stuck with “group think” and a bunch of “yes men,” which are never good for business.
But, there is a solution…opening up to the idea of a “growth mindset” both at work and at home.
What is a growth mindset, you ask?
Stay tuned to HMATime to find out!