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Mindful Pursuit of Fearless Living

August 12, 2012

Is your mindset your friend or foe?

According to Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., a renowned professor from Stanford University and author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success; people either have a fixed or growth mindset. Dweck claims people with a fixed mindset derive their self-worth entirely from their performance and everything for them is about the outcome. Meaning you fail at something and everything leading up to it was a waste of time and pointless. Alternately, a growth-minded individual views their potential as unknown and open to possibilities despite sometimes negative outcomes.  They don’t internalize the failure and it’s not who they are. While a growth-minded person is still realistic and may be fully aware they will never be a rocket scientist, they trust hard work and persistence will pay off.

According to Dwecks’,  Mindsets frame the running account that’s taking place in people’s heads. They guide the whole interpretation process. The fixed mindset creates an internal monologue that is focused on judging: “This means I’m a loser.” “This means I’m a better person than they are.” “This means I’m a bad husband.” “This means my partner is selfish.” People with a growth mindset are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. Certainly they’re sensitive to positive and negative information, but they’re attuned to its implications for learning and constructive action: What can I learn from this? How can I improve? How can I help my partner do this better?

There’s a Michael Jordan in all of us…

You’ve heard it time and time again, from countless motivational speakers to proverbs from some of the world’s greatest thinkers…failure is a springboard for success! Your mindset will determine how you view failures and obstacles in your life.  If your mindset has no room for things to go wrong (and they will go wrong) or hinders you from even trying for fear of failure…where does that leave you? What if you viewed obstacles and failures as life lessons and areas of improvement vs. end all testaments to your self-worth? Would you be happier, healthier, or more successful?

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. ~Michael Jordan

The good news is you can change your mindset at anytime

The way you think, act, react, interpret, or feel about certain events is not written in stone. Although, science has shown the more you think a certain way the more your brain is wired neurologically to continue those same patterns.  It’s a cognitive decision to ‘make lemonade when life hands us lemons’ that will lead you to do this more easily with each passing day. No one likes or prefers to feel like a failure yet we all fail and have to deal with it in our own way.

Sometimes what’s difficult is necessary persistance-challenge

I personally believe a person’s true potential is a story yet to be told and that obstacles and failures are placed before us as opportunities for spiritual growth. Whether you share this same view or not I think it’s safe to say in our lifetimes there will be no shortage of pitfalls even when we try our absolute best…so if there is no escaping failure why not learn to embrace challenges and grow from the experiences.

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