If you’ve dabbled even a little in the realm of development, whether it be personal, professional, or any other kind, you’ve likely heard the term ‘mindset’. In the online entrepreneurial realm, it’s become a buzzword that people love to throw into titles, advertising and mantras.
“Master Your Mindset”
“Shift Your Mindset”
“Manage Your Mindset”
But if you can get past the gimmicky buzzword of mindset and get to the gold of the underlying principles, you might find yourself in the realm of Dr. Carol Dweck.
I’ve written about The Power of Yet in a previous post and used Dr. Dweck’s work in that post so hopefully her name isn’t brand new to you. But in case she is brand new, let me just say up front, you’re welcome for introducing you to her.
Dr. Dweck’s work came to light in the mainstream after her book release, Mindset: The Psychology of Success. I mean, can you blame anyone for wanting to read a book like that? Who doesn’t want to know the psychology of success and how they can get their hands on some?
Well, it turns out, it’s all in our heads!
It’s a simplification, I know, but it really is up to us to choose a growth mindset.
I’m getting ahead of myself though, so let me back up. She defines people with a growth mindset as people who believe that their success depends on time and effort. In contrast to a growth mindset, people of a fixed mindset believe their basic abilities, intelligence and talents are just fixed traits.
Much of her research is centered around children as students and how their mindset affects their learning. And while our experiences and environment as children may have shaped our mindset (whether growth or fixed), as adults we have the power to change our mindset into a growth mindset since that’s the one that makes for happier and more successful people (according to Dweck).
How in the Health?
Now that you’ve got a basic understanding of a growth mindset, you might be asking how in the health can I use that to get healthier?!
Sidebar: I’d like to point out that those kinds of thoughts in and of themselves are ones of a fixed mindset! Rather than asking “what in tarnation,” you can ask yourself “how can this work for me?”
Simply by being aware of your thoughts, you’re already ahead of the game. Then you can take that awareness and initiate change in your thought process to ask how you can use a tool that’s been presented to you. End sidebar.
A growth or fixed mindset most definitely permeates your health! If you’ve ever thought your chronic health condition is hereditary, or you’ve said you’re big boned, or you blame your genetics for your crappy metabolism… those are fixed mindset thoughts, and they’re likely keeping you from really changing your circumstances.
While you can’t change your DNA, you can change how you work with your DNA. Maybe you do have crappy metabolism (thanks mom and dad), but how are you using that knowledge to make food and/or activity related decisions?
A growth mindset might ask what types of activity help stimulate metabolism, or what foods have been known to help stimulate metabolism. It might also ask what foods are known to inhibit metabolism so it knows to avoid those foods in efforts to not make the metabolism any slower than it already is.
And yes, that chronic condition might be hereditary and you might be destined for it. But what if you could delay the onset of that chronic condition by 15 years? How would that change your quality of life? A growth mindset asks questions like these to work WITH and IN SPITE OF genetics and predispositions rather than succumbing to the fixed mindset thoughts that you’re just stuck with what you’ve got.
You’re Not Stuck
So yes, we can’t change our genes, and we may be destined for some disease, but having a growth mindset means that we DO have a choice when it comes to our health. We can choose foods that help our genetics thrive (or at least mitigate their pitfalls); we can choose activity that stimulates our bodies to maintain health for as long as possible.
It starts with being aware of those thoughts that come along with a fixed mindset – thinking you’re stuck in your body or stuck with what you have. You’re not stuck. Your success in getting healthy does depend on the time and effort you put into it. You CAN change your health with a growth mindset.