How Achieving Hinges On Mindset

When I was learning to play the guitar, there were many days I just wanted to quit.  “It’s too hard.  I’ll never be able to do this,” I told myself.

So I’d put the guitar down and go do something else.  Something easier.  Something I was good at.  Something I could accomplish.

In those moments of frustration I suffered from something that keeps so many of us from achievement.  A fixed mindset.

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck explains how achievement hinges on whether we approach something with a fixed or growth mindset.  Simply put, growth-minded people welcome opportunities to learn, while people with fixed mindsets focus on talent and accomplishing the task flawlessly right now.

Those with a fixed mindset also shy away from situations in which they see a risk of failure or judgment.

That’s exactly what I was doing with the guitar. Rather than see it as a learning opportunity and something I had to work at, I was committing self-sabotage by focusing on my failure to get the song right, right then.  In my mind, I was a failure and not talented enough.

The truth of the matter is that was bogus.  The truth was I just needed to remind myself that I was learning, needed to practice more, and over time I would get it.  End of story.

The same is true for you.

You have a choice in whether or not you accomplish whatever it is you set out to do.  It’s all about the mindset you employ along the way.

Question:  How has a fixed mindset held you back or a growth mindset helped you achieve?


7 thoughts on “How Achieving Hinges On Mindset

  1. I’ve had a fixed mindset almost my entire life, mostly due to a lack of self-confidence (I know, sounds cliche, but it’s too long of a story to describe here)
    Within the past couple of years I have switched over to being a growth-minded person.
    It is SO freeing!!

  2. I’m thinking that a growth mindset is a mark of maturity, as the ability to delay gratification is another mark of maturity. That “fixed mindset” is an I WANT IT NOW attitude.

    Loren, you are so right about bass. I took a 1/2 hour lesson one Sunday morning, and then was on stage playing “I’ll Fly Away” during the offering. Of course it only has 3 chords in it, but what an easy instrument! Could hardly play for laughing so much at the looks of the people in the audience!

  3. You should’ve just tried to learn an easy instrument like bass. That’s what people with no musical talent play. (By the way, I’ve played bass for most of my life so I can joke about that, haha).
    I’ve kinda been frustrated with this in other people. Whereas I welcome the challenge and it focuses me, other people just give up. I’ve been wondering how to really inspire others without being preachy.

    • You should read this book. I think I may have recommended it to you before in fact. Regarding inspiring them, perhaps you could try refocusing them on learning and growing and it’s okay that they don’t “get it” right now. For someone who has been there, I just needed to have someone remind me to slow down and focus on what I was learning rather than how bad I was at playing.

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