by John Nelligan Jan 30 2018
Mindset is the frame of mind with which you see the world or with which you act. It’s a set of assumptions or methods held by you. Your mindset makes who you are, what you do, why you do it or how you do it. Your mindset is a collection of all of these and it is what influences your thoughts and your habits. Your mindset defines how you view the world and what you think of yourself.
Carol Dweck, a Stanford University psychologist was the first to popularize the concept of mindset in 2006 in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She described the two types of mindsets in detail. The limiting or fixed mindset and the opportunity or growth mindset.
In a limiting mindset people are unwilling to adapt. They believe that their intelligence, talent, personality etc. are things that are carved in a stone and will never change. These people are, what we call, set in their own ways. They believe that talent is the key to success rather than hard work.
In contrast, the opportunity mindset is often seen in people willing to adapt to different situations and conditions. They see intelligence, talent and personality as something that can be developed through hard work and dedication. They always strive to constantly evolve and make changes. This prompts a love of learning and resilience that is necessary for great accomplishments.
Benefits of changing to an opportunity mindset
An opportunity mindset is essential for continuous development and learning. Understanding that you are not limited to what you have and always trying to gain new knowledge is necessary in a technology-dominant world. Technology changes day by day and so does the need to understand new technology. Not only technology but information is constantly being generated by different sources, events or circumstances. Only those with an opportunity mindset can and will realize the need for change and adaptation.
An opportunity mindset also creates self-awareness in you. You understand what knowledge, skills, talents or traits you have and, therefore, create an environment to bring the change you desire to these. Without an opportunity mindset and without self-awareness you will soon find your knowledge, skills, talents and traits become obsolete.
An opportunity mindset also gives the saying “Nothing is impossible” a new meaning. Once you develop an opportunity mindset, you’ll learn that the only limit to doing or achieving anything is yourself. The only limit that exists is the limit of your mindset. If you have a limited mindset, you can never achieve what you think you can’t.
Suppose Steve Jobs had a limited mindset and believed that he could not create a competitor to Microsoft. Suppose he was always set in his own ways and thought he could not do better what Microsoft had done. It was due to his opportunity mindset that we have Apple Inc. today. This is just a well-known example. There are hundreds of examples happening every day, right before our own eyes, but we fail to see them.
An opportunity mindset won’t happen overnight, it will take time to convert from a limiting mindset to an opportunity mindset. It won’t be easy either. But once you see the benefits of having an opportunity mindset, the possibilities become endless.
However, a problem that even I personally faced wasn’t the transition from a limited mindset to an opportunity mindset but keeping that opportunity mindset. Coming to an opportunity mindset from a limited mindset, it is very easy to become distracted and go back to thinking in the old ways. It is easy to limit your mindset again because that is what you have been doing for the rest of your life.
If you also face the same difficulty when trying to convert to an opportunity mindset, don’t let yourself get distracted. Here’s what I recommend you do when you feel you’re getting off the track.
- Try to read something inspiring or motivational. I recommend giving Carol Dweck’s ‘Mindset: The New Psychology of Success’ book a read so you can better understand mindset.
- Go listen to some TED talks. They are always a way to get motivated again. Listen to people’s stories and think how they could have achieved that only by having an opportunity mindset. They are also a great source of knowledge and learning.
- Listen your favourite song or any song that motivates you. I have always thought Imagine by John Lennon motivates me. “You, you may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one”. This one line always gets me back on track.
- Get an opportunity mindset partner, just like you get a gym partner. You can always keep each other in check and share experience with each other.
Having an opportunity mindset is great. It has a lot of benefits and will help you accomplish many things in your life. Things that you thought you could not achieve. Things that no one could achieve before. Having a limited mindset is not a bad thing but deciding to not change is. Try it yourself and you will see great changes in your life. And if you ever find yourself distracted and going off-course, you should follow our tips above.
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