No doubt, that the notion of the Growth Mindset has been steadily gaining popularity over the past decade. It’s also has made quite a difference – from improving grades, relationships and helping persons cope better with challenges and stressors.
But popularity has a price – people sometimes distort and oversimplify ideas, and the paybacks are substantially oversold! Not uncommon to hear motivational speakers and “success gurus” (over national radio no less!) spout BS such as anything is possible with the Growth Mindset””, and associating the idea of Growth Mindset to the pseudo-scientific idea of “positive thinking”. Ironically enough, some of these ideas are actually more aligned with the Fixed rather than the Growth Mindset!
“Nobody is going to fault you for not achieving the impossible right?”
Case in point: Many would assume that somebody who screams about Thinking Big and setting out to achieve the impossible as one who is aligned with the Growth Mindset. But let’s pause for a moment and consider this…
If I set an impossible goal and NOT achieve it vs. setting a realistic goal and NOT achieve it, which would make me look stupid?
Remember, what’s the goal of the Fixed Mindset? The Fixed Mindset is more concerned about looking smart, whereas the Growth Mindset tends to achieve because she is more concerned about learning and getting better.
The Fixed Mindset is a sneaky little fella and is extremely adept at making use of enthusiasm against us! Having an impossible goal is a sure way of protecting your ego from being bruised and to NOT look stupid, since nobody is going to fault you for not achieving the impossible right?
I shared the above example with sport coaches during a Continuing Coach Education (CCE) workshop last week and one of them came up to me after the session and asked, “Does that mean we should not set big goals and dream big?”
What do you guys reckon? Feel free to leave your thoughts and comments below…