You have a job that you really like; a lot of people might say you are a lucky person. You are rushing up to get to the office, at 9.00 you have your mid-year review meeting with your boss. He gets in and makes out a sandwich of feedback or, how it is called, a feedback sandwich as taught in last year training. He does not say much, yet he seems prepared, finally he tells you are „in line”. He does not mention your efforts, yet he focuses on results talking a lot about them).
You feel like talking about this and you ask your friend, in the office next to you, to come out for a cigarette. She is interested about the topic, yet much more willing to speak about her last night experience in Mall. Obviously, you are not her priority in this moment.
You are going back home, at 7 p.m., as usual. You get home and you parking lot is taken. You spin around the block about 3 times and then, eventually you can enter. Immediately a joyful voice is heard: „Hey, daddy, welcome, lets’ play as actors do”
What about this day? How do you find it? Are you disappointed? Would it be difficult for you to play?
We are living everything at maximum speed, we can only see things in black or white and we permanently pull out from ourselves too strong emotions. Even when we know about it pretty well, we are tempted to slide to fixed mindset, as Carol Dweck, psychology professor at Stanford, calls it. She has noticed that success often depends on the mindset we are treating different aspects of our lives. We really miss being recognized as superheroes, we are bothered that we are not the first in each person’s preferences. We simply forget that our friends have their own priorities we are not part of. We forget that we cannot control everything, even if we pay our taxes for the parking lots we have. We cannot tolerate mistakes, as if it has never happened to us. We live our tiredness stronger than our happiness of being a parent and we are overcome by the awful disappointment that we are not as extraordinary as we would like to be.
Finally the assessment was just a mid-year one, to be in line is not bad at all. Your manager is just a normal human being who, most probably, cannot cover everything, even if he/she wants to. Your friend has his/her right to much more interesting experiences than you can live, and the parking lot is not the only one in town. Still it is how difficult to accept, isn’t it?
Carol Dweck says that the ones who cannot see the details mentioned about tend to have a fixed mindset. The ones who can perceive them, even if sad sometimes, they do not put a negative stamp on themselves, they do not blame the others, they focus on how they can improve things depending on them so that the results may be better.
People with fixed mindset think that their basic features, intelligence and other gifts, cannot be changed, that’s why they concentrate on proving (to themselves and to the other people) how good they are, instead of moving the focus on how they can develop the abilities they have. They are mostly worried about the way people judge them, having an internal monologue focused on “This means I’m a loser”, “My boss is really bad”, “I am an awful father”
People with growth mindset are aware about their abilities, without permanently being focused on proving them, and insist on their development. They are also constantly monitoring what’s going on, but their internal monologue is not about judging themselves and others in this way. They are also sensitive to positive and negative things around them, but they are focused on learning and constructive actions. They want to be better each day considering it necessary for their personal development.
The good news is that growth mindset can be learned. I think it really worth’s making all the efforts to get it. We can simply start by exercising what Carol Dweck advices us in her book “Mindset. The New Psychology of Success”