How would you describe your mindset right now?
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, a 2006 book written by Carol Dweck describes the modern idea of mindset. The concept is divided between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. In Dweck’s own words those with a growth mindset are “individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others)”.1 On the other hand, those with a fixed mindset tend to believe things are the way they are and there isn’t much to be done to make a change.
Psychologist Carol Ryff developed the Scale of Psychological Well-Being, taking measurements in six dimensions including, self-acceptance, ability to have and maintain relationships, autonomy in thought and action, the ability to manage complex environments to suit personal needs and values, the pursuit of meaning and purpose, and continued personal growth and development.2
Considering this framework, in which dimensions do you tend to have a fixed mindset?
Fixed vs Growth
At the most elemental level, we differentiate between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset asserts that your character, ability, and creativity are inherent. These characteristics are unchangeable. This is the idea that “I was born this way” or “It is what it is.”
A growth mindset, on the other hand, sees failure as an inevitability in the process of growth. A growth mindset seeks out failure, focusing instead on the process.
John Rives, co-founder of the Growth Mindset Institute said in a recent interview: “In a fixed mindset, you believe your ability and talents in certain areas are limited, and that can’t change. Like people who say, ‘I’m not a maths person, and I never will be, no matter how hard I try.’”3
Rives goes on to say…
“With a growth mindset, you tend to believe you have the potential to succeed and improve and get better, and your focus is on learning and growth, not on the outcome.”
People with a growth mindset rise to challenges more easily than those with a fixed mindset; they see criticism as constructive and when or if they fail at something, they look for the lesson and try again.
Dimesnsions of Well-Being
Having a growth mindset can be the key to unlocking higher levels of well-being. There are several dimensions of Well-Being to consider.
Do you accept both what you like and what you don’t like about yourself? One with a fixed mindset is more likely to consider things they don’t love about themselves unimprovable. The judgment of ourselves is less important in a growth mindset, the focus is on the process and potential.
On a scale of 1-10 (1=very poor, 10=excellent) how do you rate yourself with self-acceptance?
Relationships should leave us feeling connected, respected, and loved. How would you rate yours?
Consider professional, personal, and casual relationships. This can be a difficult area in which to have a growth mindset. However, as humans, we are always changing. It is important to consider that those we are connected with are changing also. And so, constant connection and reconnection are necessary. If one interaction in a relationship is not a good one, a growth mindset is useful in continuing to work to build the relationship.
Symptoms of poor relationships include feeling unappreciated, rejected, hostile, or misunderstood.
On a scale of 1-10 (1=very poor, 10=excellent) how do you rate your relationships?
If you rate yourself high in autonomy, you consider yourself independent, less concerned with what others think, and self-reliant. The opposite traits are symptoms of a lack of autonomy. For example, dependency on others, being actively concerned with others’ opinions and looking outside themselves for guidance.
It’s healthy to be independent and autonomous.
However, many of us when in a situation that gives us a feeling of a lack of autonomy, often don’t use a growth mindset to take steps to change the situation. At work, for example, it may be easier to take on a fixed mindset and believe “it is what it is” than have an uncomfortable conversation with your boss about your feelings.
On a scale of 1-10 (1=very poor, 10=excellent) how would you rate yourself in autonomy?
Interacting with the World
How do you feel about competently handling what the world throws at you?
Your confidence in your ability to rise to these challenges can have a large degree of influence on your well-being. If you don’t feel equipped to handle life’s challenges, it will cause some anxiety.
No one will have the ability to successfully rise to each of life’s challenges. But having a growth mindset while interacting with the world confidently can expose you to countless opportunities to grow and learn. With enough exposure, you’ll be more equipped to deal with life’s challenges.
On a scale of 1-10 (1=very poor, 10=excellent) how would you rate your ability to interact with the world?
Meaning & Purpose
With a sense of meaning, we desire to make an impact on the world in a positive way. We tend to become a part of larger social movements and hold high ideals. The meaning and purpose of life appear to be larger than any one person.
A growth mindset can help draw us to the ideas that drive meaning and purpose. Seeing that there is hope for the environment, for example, may drive you towards membership in a group to spread awareness of environmental concerns.
On a scale of 1-10 (1=very poor, 10=excellent) how do you rate your level of meaning and purpose in your life?
It is important to feel as though we are moving towards our goals and purpose. It is critical to feeling as though who we truly desire to be is within reach. The goals that we want to achieve, we are moving towards.
This is essentially having the patience and fortitude to have a growth mindset. In this dimension of well-being, we are happy to be in stride towards where we want to go. In this way, it is synonymous with a growth mindset.
On a scale of 1-10 (1=very poor, 10=excellent) how do you rate your level of growth?
Increase Your Well-Being
Now consider your scores for each of the six dimensions of well-being. Think about the dimension in which you’ve given yourself the lowest rating. Beginning with that dimension, how can you use the concept of growth mindset to focus on the process and improve your rating?
In many cases, we may discover that mindset is the key to the improvement of our well-being. This is why many coaches and self-improvement tools focus on mindset initially. A growth mindset is the first step towards allowing positive change to occur in your life.