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Choosing Growth Over Fear: Growth Versus Fixed Mindset

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Have you ever wondered how people get back up with no problem after they’ve had a big setback? The secret to a better life? Why everyone is so happy? What if I told you it’s all in your head, and you’ve had the power to achieve anything you’ve ever wanted since the first time you opened your eyes. As argued by Carol Dweck in Mindset, anyone can achieve their full potential by adopting a growth mindset. Dweck, a world-renowned Stanford University Psychologist, discusses different scenarios on how people with a growth and fixed mindset face their day-to-day problems and how it is possible to change someone’s perspective. Those with a growth mindset believe that challenges are what makes them grow and knowledge comes from hard work. Whereas, there are those with a fixed mindset who believe that whatever knowledge you have it is because you were born with it and it cannot be changed. Throughout the book there are those who deny that a mindset can be changed, these are the people who are stubborn and afraid of failure. Having a good mindset is all in your head, so as to achieve ultimate growth and understanding; however, one must let go of all fear and trust that with failure comes success and the only thing that will be obtained is ultimate knowledge.

Have you ever realized how rereading an old paper or book you knew from the back of your hand, now has a different significance? That is because where you brain was years ago or even a couple minutes ago does not compare to where your brain is at this moment. You expand your knowledge every time you learn something different: new words, skills, or insights. It is all about a growth mindset. Let’s talk about the beginning of time, your time, from the moment you were born and when your brain fully developed, ready to soak in everything possible. Reeve, from Understanding Motivation and Emotion explains that growth-fixed mindsets are cognitive frameworks that are learned (252), and the best way to get to the root of how our mindset is developed is to pay attention to children. Praise and criticism from parents and teachers affect kids from the start. They get sent indications to their brains of either being good or bad depending on how a situation is handled. Doing something bad and being criticized instead of being taught a lesson makes kids believe they aren’t smart enough, implementing a fixed mindset. In order for a child to grow, they need to understand that not knowing, doesn’t make you dumb. They also need to learn from a young age to set goals in order to become better versions of themselves. Dweck’s methods aren’t about being right, but more to see learning as a process and obtaining tools to succeed. Failing is okay, since it is a part of growing as you learn why you made a mistake pushing you closer to being correct. Which comes into my second point about mindsets. For many years, mindsets have been a crucial principal to decision making for many people. Everyone has implemented these mindsets to their daily lives whether it’s setting a new year’s resolution or figuring out how to pass a class. Although a growth and fixed mindsets are the most talked about today, they aren’t the only mindsets that build you up. There are four known mindsets: deliberative and implemental, promotion and prevention, consistency and dissonance, growth and fixed. But let’s focus on the optimistic mindsets which are the deliberative, promotion, consistency and growth mindsets. Research shows the main thing all mindsets have in common are setting goals, in which each mindset is a process to achieving a certain goal. To initiate a goal, you are required a deliberative and implemental mindset, through thought and persistence, you will need the willpower to execute your goal. Setting a goal requires a mindset while pursuing it requires another one. (Reeve 242) A promotional mindset is where you envision your goals as hopes and aspirations that will give you a good feeling of accomplishment and happiness after achieving them. A growth mindset is how they use their personal qualities through effort, accomplishing a goal you’ll benefit from. The consistency mindset is also crucial since it’s where you put time and effort to make progress, as consistency is key. When all mindsets come together you can achieve great things you just have to persevere and look at the positive outcomes. Because of Dweck’s research, the growth mindset is the most talked about today because it has revolutionized the way people think initiating them to be more open to change and growth.

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What do you fear the most and what in the world, does fear have to do with a growth mindset? Well through investigation on how this generation deals with fear, it seems people deal with it differently. A basic survey was conducted on my social media followers. I made a questionnaire on my Instagram story asking about people’s greatest fears. One of the main questions were if fear ever got in the way of goals they wanted to achieve. I also went ahead and asked about relationships and how they dealt with a breakup. Responses that caught my attention were the ones I took the extra step to personally send out a message asking them to elaborate on their thoughts.

Throughout the research, I found many people responded positively, saying they saw fear as a way to help them grow. I went along and also implemented my research on how people dealt with breakups. Why? Well, because the number one thing we are all afraid of is, getting attached to someone and ending up with a broken heart, and nothing hurts more than a broken heart. So why do we keep getting into relationships knowing we’ll end up hurt? It’s not about the destination but about the journey.

Although it hurts deeply to let go of someone you love, nothing compares to the feeling of being loved. That’s why those with a growth mindset tend to risk it all to find their happiness. Someone responded saying they saw failures as an opportunity to learn and grow. Even if they were sad or mad at the person for causing the relationship to end, at the end of the day it made them learn and improve themselves (Varela). Plenty just saw my story and didn’t reply, my initial thought to them not responding was because they weren’t comfortable expressing themselves, afraid of being judged. They might have a different response from everyone else, one that didn’t make them see like the good guy, that, or they were too busy to respond. Regardless, the responses in my inbox were all positive. One answer that stood out to me was when asked if fear ever stopped them from doing what they wanted they said, “No, it has only motivated me to do my best because behind all my fears, stand all my dreams.” (Lurks) Many are aware that in order to get what they want they have to go get it, however even by knowing that some people are too unmotivated to don’t try.

Fear is a common trait many of us have, being afraid of failing prevents you from reaching your true potential. Fear is a universal emotion in which gets triggered by what we believe to be dangerous. The danger may be real or imagined and if the emotion is quite strong, it may disrupt life, threatening to turn into panic (Kekes, 555). This is where a growth mindset plays a huge roll. You just have to remember that “You’ve got to take out the trash”, not physically but mentally. Clear your mind of everything you don’t need like doubts, failures etc. (Salva). What that means is, we all have negative thoughts, and sometimes those thoughts are what cause a burden in our minds. Being aware of our surroundings and doing something for a good cause, while not being selfish and making others feel bad is a good way to start implementing a growth mindset.

There are many motives behind why someone maybe fearful, but one must acknowledge that the true power to success is putting all emotions aside and putting effort. This is what Mindset, is all about. Helping you become a better version of yourself. By opening your mind. Asking oneself “What’s the worst that could happen?” has encouraged Ferries to push himself into doing what he’s afraid (Ferris). The most successful people were once in the same shoes you are now. Everyone is afraid of making mistakes and not living up to their true potential, but you never know if you don’t try. They do say” what you don’t know won’t hurt you” but what if what you don’t know is what’s actually going to help you in life. It is better living a life regretting to do something than live a whole life wondering what your life would be like if you took the risk. It all comes down to your happiness and future and becoming a better person. You can’t let fear dictate your life and because of that you need to push yourself. Whenever you feel an ounce of doubt, get some fresh air and think about your goals and why you’re doing what you’re doing. Prove people wrong and just do it, even if it’s a risk. “Clear out the trash” (Salva)

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