Monday, November 17, 2014


Your personal definition of success determines how you approach your professional and personal life and relationships. Do you view success as an outcome or process? Can you only feel good about yourself and your work after you have reached a critical goal? Or, do you naturally find meaning and power in your mastery of various challenges and setbacks along the road to your desired outcomes?

Carol Dweck in her research and resultant book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, details two main types of personalities and their relationship to growth, excellence and success: The Fixed and Growth mindsets. Those with what she refers to as a Fixed Mindset are focused on outcomes as a means to feel successful. These individuals learn early on that only excelling at a task is valued/rewarded; they tend to focus on the impossible attainment of perfection. The Fixed Mindset abhors mistakes. There are several downsides to this approach to life: a dearth of flexibility and adaptability, an increase in anxiety when faced with the inherent challenges of change and an avoidance of the necessary/optimal risk for high level skill building and overall functioning in a dynamic world.

Those with a Growth Mindset primarily focus on learning as a means to the end of growth and mastery. These individuals understand that mistakes, a critical part of the learning process, serve to move you forward toward higher level skill building. The “Growth Mindset” leads to an increase in higher level integrative thinking and results. The upside to this type of mindset includes: increased curiosity, creativity, resilience, adaptability and optimal strategic risk taking. The following Thomas A. Edison quote personifies the essence of the “Growth Mindset.”

If I find 10,000 ways something won't work, I haven't failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward.

Your personal definition of success determines how you approach your work and relationships, your state of mind and your results. Do you view success as an outcome or process, a journey or a destination? Those with a “Fixed Mindset” tend to view success as a destination and those with a “Growth Mindset” view success as a journey. Which mindset will you choose to embrace?


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