Your Mindset –NOT Your Skills—Are Holding You Back
Have you ever try anything meaningful and fail before ?
Maybe you started a business that didn’t survive the first year. Maybe your relationship with your children hit a rocky patch that you didn’t know how to navigate. Maybe you tried a new career field and found it much more difficult than you imagined.
How did it make you feel? Yes, everyone is disappointed when confronted with a lack of success. But what was your feeling in the next moment?
Did you say to yourself, “I just don’t have a mind for business” — or were you inspired to attend more entrepreneurial workshops to educate yourself?
Did you think, “I am not a natural at parenting,” or did you decide to try a new tactic you hadn’t before?
Did you say, “I guess I’m just no good at this new field; I should go back to what I was doing,” or did you seek out new mentors to help you find your way?
Did you shrug and figure that you just don’t have a talent for whatever you were attempting, or did you see it as an opportunity for growth?
There are two basic mindsets that people have about their talents, their abilities, and their smarts. One mindset leads to success. The other leads to being stuck in the rat race, to stagnating in your life while others succeed.
Your response to failure or to seemingly insurmountable obstacles will tell you which dominates your thinking.
There is power in what you believe about yourself. If you feel like you’re stuck, like you’re not succeeding, then it’s time to examine just what your mindset is.
The fixed mindset
Some people think that their strengths and weaknesses are set in stone. “I have a certain amount of talent, a certain amount of intelligence, but that’s it.”
Maybe they were given an IQ test in school, and they think, “This is my IQ for life.”
These folks are wary of challenges because they don’t want to find out they’re not as intelligent as they thought. They don’t want to do anything that will make them look dumb or incapable to others — or to themselves.
If they do ever try something new and hit a roadblock they think, “I guess that’s all the talent I have. Oh well.” They figure if they really had the talent, they wouldn’t have run into the problem or had to work hard at it.
When they fail, they see it as proof that they just aren’t capable of something. It’s the end of the story.
For the other kind of mindset, however, failure might just be the beginning of a new story.
Fear of failure
If you feel stuck in your career, ask yourself why you didn’t grab certain opportunities or take risks that could’ve changed your life. Most likely it was because of a fear of failure.
Mistakes are a big topic with Rich Dad coaching students. So many people have a great fear of mistakes. We all hate to make mistakes, but if you can find the lesson in them, they’re less scary and more productive.
The problem is that for those with a fixed mindset, mistakes measure them. Mistakes show whether they’re smart or dumb, and because of that they’re to be avoided at all costs — even if that means being stuck in the same-old ways . The belief is that if you’re smart, things should come easily to you; you shouldn’t have to struggle with something. And if you find yourself struggling, then you’re just not good at it. And because those with a fixed mindset don’t think they can change, if a struggle reveals they’re not good at something, that means they’ll never be good at it.
But here’s one of the big secrets in life: Nothing that’s important comes without struggle. One of the greatest snapshots nature gives us of awesome change is the caterpillar becoming a butterfly. And it doesn’t happen without struggle, without the new butterfly fighting to escape the cocoon. It’s part of the process.
The famous saying is, “That which does not kill you makes you stronger” — not, “That which does not kill you proves to everyone that you’re a failure.”
You should always be struggling with something in some way; that’s how we grow.
But the problem is that those with a fixed mindset don’t see struggle in this positive light. They see struggle as evidence that they’re just not good enough.
In the world of business, the fear of failure can play out in many ways, including hiding your mistakes and competing rather than collaborating with others. If the organization itself has a fixed mindset environment, one where it’s all about who the genius is, it can lead to an atmosphere of cutting corners, keeping secrets and putting a damper on innovation and risk-taking because no one wants to appear less than perfect.
If that fixed mindset comes from the CEO himself, it’s bad news for everyone. A CEO with that mindset is often only after his own glory, at the expense of the growth of the company. He doesn’t want people around who criticize or threaten him, which is exactly the wrong way to approach building a team. You should have people around you who challenge you. You should have a team that’s just as talented or even more talented than you are.
Which group are you in? Do you stick with what you already know, or do you push yourself to try something new because who knows, that next puzzle could turn out to be pretty amazing?
If you find yourself resembling the fixed mindset, it’s never too late to change.