When breaking down and analyzing mindsets there are typically two types of people – there are people who think they were given a particular set of circumstances and are bound by them, and then there are people who believe that we are capable for more or less than those bounds through focused effort and concentration. The first type of person is considered to have a “fixed” mindset and the second type is considered to have a “growth” mindset. Which type of person are you?
Let’s look at each more closely. We’ll start with the fixed mindset. People with fixed mindsets believe that they are who they are because of a set predisposition – they are overweight because of their DNA, someone is master at their craft because they were born with the right genes, etc. Whatever the scenario, there was a pre-set factor causing it. These types of people also believe that it is very hard if not impossible to change something.
The most common example is obese individuals and typically individuals with type 2 diabetes. There are a number of examples of entire families being obese and type 2 diabetic, causing the entire family to believe that diabetes is a predisposed family condition. No matter how hard they work or improve their diet, their future generations are bound to also be obese and diabetic.
People with growth mindsets, on the other hand, believe that they are not bound by these factors. That’s not to say they don’t exist – these people understand there are factors promoting chronic disease, obesity, even cancer or immense talents. But the people who have a growth mindset believe that they can overcome adverse traits, or that god given talent isn’t needed to be world class at something.
A great example comes from one of the families I alluded to previously – a young man was in a house where every single person was obese, and the family strongly believed that they didn’t have a choice, no matter what they would be obese. This young man decided he wanted to change. He decided that he wasn’t limited by the same MINDSET of his family. He went off to Naval Academy and over the course of the first year became an extremely fit and healthy individual.
This young man proved that the only limitation was the family’s mindset that they couldn’t improve. He proved that by surrounding himself with the right people and that having the discipline to improve was what it took to succeed.
And you know what; I’m willing to bet this type of fixed mindset limits all of us in some way in our journey as well. I know for a fact I’ve said “I was given poor genes, I’ll never get strong.” Well, hey, maybe I’m just not working hard enough. Or maybe something else like nutrition or sleep is causing my limitation. The thing is it’s so easy to blame something that is out of our control. What’s not easy is to figure out what is actually causing the limitation, and getting rid of it. So whatever you’re guilty of limiting yourself on, let’s do the hard thing and change our mindset. Let’s figure out what is holding us back and attack it. Because we are better than our excuses after all, right?