How Much Does Mindset Play a Role in the Quality of Life?
How much does mindset play a role in the quality of your life? Well, that depends on who you ask.
Do you give up easily when faced with a challenging situation?
Are you concerned with how smart or stupid you look?
Are you concerned with being accepted or rejected?
Are you constantly trying to prove your worth or seeking validation in school, job, or relationship?
If you’ve answered yes, you have what Carol Dweck refers to as a fixed mindset. A fixed mindset will not propel you forward in life; it will only leave you stuck and slowly descending in quicksand. So, yes, mindset plays an enormous role in the quality of your life. If you ask a person with a fixed mindset, well, they may disagree. Anyhoo, it definitely determines your success or the lack thereof and your worldview on whether you see the glass half empty or half full.
Your mindset is directly connected to your belief system. According to Dweck, your belief system plays a vital role in what you want and whether you believe you can achieve and succeed in life. Our mindset determines how we think; how we think determines how we feel, and how we feel determines how we behave. Our mindset is mighty and starts to formulate in childhood.
“If parents want to give their children a gift, the best thing they can do is to teach their children to love challenges, be intrigued by mistakes, enjoy the effort and keep on learning. That way, their children don’t have to be slaves of praise. They will have a lifelong way to build and repair their own confidence.”—Carol S. Dweck
I can honestly tell you that I came from a long line of fixed mindset people and was raised to think in this fashion. When I was growing up, college was not discussed or encouraged. I don’t think it was encouraged because, by my family standards, they did what they were supposed to: graduate from high school. The next step was to get a GOOD job with the city, state, or federal government and retire. Anyone who deviated from that plan was ruining their lives. I recalled being told that I would have to quit college to accept a city job by one of my family members. My family was ruled by a fixed mindset, especially in their discipline tactics. Growing up, we weren’t allowed to make a mistake, and although this was never verbally said, the many unfavorable reactions to mistakes indicated otherwise. In my family, respect and a title meant everything—grandmothers, mothers, aunts, and uncles could treat children any way they wanted because of who they were in the family line. For instance, a child didn’t have an opinion or a voice and definitely was not allowed to express their feelings. It was that old adage that children were seen and not heard. Don’t you dare suck your teeth or stomp away because you were hit with some sharp words or grabbed up in the collar, and in that, you weren’t allowed to show any emotion for what just took place. It was almost like you didn’t have a right as a person to be angry for what just happened. So, personally, I learned to bottle up my emotions. My family was very fixed on controlling other's actions by telling them how they should behave or what they should have said as it relates to situations. There was a lot of criticism and hardly any praise ever. Criticism mounted to a boatload of negative emotions—inadequacy, self-doubt, not worthy, lack of assertiveness, and low self-esteem, to name a few. I was crippled with a fixed mindset for most of my adult life until I started to study self-development. I had to put in a lot of work to reverse my fixed mindset. I truly believed that this will be a process for the rest of my life. I am quoted as saying, “I am under construction for the rest of my life.” I honestly believe this.
In this, I also believe and know that my family wasn’t operating from malice; it was a place of not knowing. They really had no idea of the impact or damage that they were causing emotionally and mentally. My family couldn’t model anything different from what they knew. I will say that today, my family has come a long way from how they used to be. They still have a fixed mindset in some aspects but have adapted some parts of a growth mindset.
The good thing is that a fixed mindset is changeable. If you are willing to put forth the effort and dedication, a growth mindset is possible. Here are a few things to consider.
~View obstacles or challenges as learning opportunities
~Focus on the effort you put into things and not whether you have an innate talent to do it
~Adjust your attitude and language from negative to positive
~Change your perspective to one where you can see the positive or optimistic side of things
~Believing in yourself is crucial to this process because it will help you to remain focused
~Embrace your mistakes—we all make them; this is why we are perfectly imperfect
It takes time and baby steps with any change so that it becomes a natural part of your life. It is suggested that you look at all areas where you are demonstrating a fixed mindset. Then, devise a plan of attack by deciding where you will start first. I don’t recommend that you try to change everything all at once. It might be a great idea to focus on one area per month until you have covered all areas. Lastly, be patient because change is not easy, and it is a process, not a destination.