No matter what your position is in the organization you work in or your standing in the society at large, there is always room for improvement and always opportunities to create more value.
But not everyone strives for improvement.
Even when there are ample opportunities and capacity in an individual, the right mindset can often be found lacking.
The right mindset brings together the ingredients of success. There are two states of mind – the growth mindset and the fixed mindset.
While the fixed mindset tries to maintain the status quo, it is the growth mindset that seeks challenges, questions the status quo, seeks out room for growth and finally tries to create greater value.
If we dive a little more into the nature of our minds we can see that there is a part that is good at doing what it has always done. There is a sense of comfort that comes with using this part of our mind since it reduces the uncertainty in what we do. It feels threatened when the status quo is challenged and sees no point in trying to change the “old”. This is the nature of the fixed mindset and it abhors change.
On the other side, there is a part that likes to ask questions and seeks out challenges. It looks beyond the comfort zone to areas where it can expand and grow. This part of our minds plays with the status quo and redefines it constantly.
A person can possess both the mindsets and that is the usual case; but one is more dominant than the other. The dominant mindset, along with the level of domination expresses itself outwardly through the actions and attitudes of the individual.
Our world today shows how disruptive innovations have been recently.
The technology we use today can be obsolete in as little time as 2 years. Every process we follow in life can be reorganized beyond recognition. Our lifestyle is constantly evolving with the changing environment. To stay relevant a person needs to learn, implement, unlearn and relearn and this cycle is only getting faster. Having a fixed mindset in such a time can lead to only one direction – obsolescence.
The way to go is to possess the growth mindset of course.
But if the answer is so obvious then why doesn’t everyone have this mindset?
A growth mindset is not easy and it might not even come naturally. It requires more energy than the fixed mindset since you have to constantly go out of your comfort zone to stretch yourself.
It also comes with a catch – you have to learn to accept and even expect failure. This is something that might go against our instinct in the short run but failure is common in the growth mindset because you are constantly doing something new, learning something new. You just cannot expect to get everything right at the first time.
This knowledge on failure, however, will prepare you so that you can take the necessary mental preparation to deal with it. A lot of intelligent people fall into this trap of avoiding failure. They stop doing new things or adapting to change because they fear that if they fail then it will question their intelligence and so it is better to resist change altogether!
But of course, we know that leads to obsolescence which is worse.
For success in the long term, it is imperative to have a growth mindset and to have a growth mindset you will need to get out of your comfort zone.
You have to keep in mind the failure that comes with doing something new is only temporary and failure doesn’t question your intelligence. It leads to learning and growth and helps you to stay relevant.
A growth mindset is a habit and with practice, you make yourself more receptive to changes and transformation. Success will come naturally once you become accustomed to this habit.
By: Ashfaq Ahmed. He works for a leading NBFI in Dhaka, Bangladesh