If you’re going to be helping someone to change their behavior, a key factor is going to be an understanding of the person’s mindset. Is it a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

In the next video, I’m going to take some time and explain ways that can help you determine whether or not someone has a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

A key factor in helping someone change their behavior or to learn something new is going to be understanding of the mindset that they are bringing to that experience. Do they have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?

I want to quickly review mindsets again because it is going to be a key factor in understanding the best approach to help someone change their behavior. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that their ability is innate. When they are presented with something new, a new behavior that they’re supposed to do and they fail at it or they feel it challenging to do that, they feel that is a poor reflection on them as a person because their ability is innate. Therefore they’re going to avoid learning new things. They’re going to avoid changing their behavior, avoid challenges, and they’re going to give up easily. They’re going to see the effort in changing their behavior as worthless or pointless. They are going to take negative feedback poorly because they see it as feedback as they are worth as a person, not as their ability to perform the specific task. They feel threatened by other people that are succeeding.

However, if someone has a growth mindset, they are going to be much more likely to embrace change and adopt new behaviors. They see the challenges as being an opportunity to learn and grow beyond their current skillset. Their ability to learn new tasks is not reflected on their innate skills that they are born with or that they have. They can grow and expand beyond their current skills. Therefore, they’re going to persist in the face of setbacks, see effort as worthwhile, as simply a path to mastery. They’re going to learn from criticism and take that feedback in a more positive manner and use it to do things better. They find lessons of inspiration in the success of others. Therefore, they try to learn from people who are doing the behavior successfully because it’s an opportunity for them to grow.

This whole idea of a growth mindset reflects that they are in more control over their destiny because if they want to learn something, it is within their power to learn that regardless of their current skillset.

So let’s think again about the fixed mindsets and the growth mindsets. Let’s start thinking in terms of “What is someone going to be saying if they have a fixed mindset?” The intelligence is fixed. Challenges are avoided and when they fail, it implies that they lack the intelligence required. Effort is seen as fruitless. If they don’t get it, then it suggests that they lack intelligence.

So there is an inner dialogue that is constantly running when they are presented with new challenges and new tasks. One of the things that you think about is someone with a fixed mindset – “I’ve never been good at that.” That suggests that their past history is a reflection of their ability. Therefore, if they’ve never been good at that before, they will not be able to do that in the future because they can’t change. Their ability is fixed.

Now let’s look at someone with a growth mindset.

Intelligence can be developed. Challenges are embraced. They believe that they can improve on a task. Effort therefore is seen as worthwhile. Getting things wrong and receiving feedback is an opportunity for improvement. This has a huge impact on helping someone to change their behavior.

Let’s take a look at this more from a perspective of two people. You can see a tendency for someone to avoid challenges. They might give up easy and they’re going to get more frustrated when you give them feedback and they are threatened by the success of others. So when you’re working with someone, it’s going to benefit you to watch for some of these key factors.

Are they avoiding challenges? Do they give up easy? Do they react negatively to your feedback – feedback that’s given to them in a positive manner to try help them to perform the task properly?

So this is someone that you’re going to have to keep that in mind with a fixed mindset.

Obviously, someone with a growth mindset, it’s going to be far easier for you to present information and give them the opportunity to take on new challenges, grow beyond what they’re currently doing. They’re going to push through setbacks because they simply see it as part of the process. Are they taking feedback from you in a positive manner and applying it to what they’re doing without reacting negatively in an emotional manner? Are they hurt emotionally by feedback? There’s some key factors that you can watch out for a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Here’s more examples of phrases or characteristics of someone with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset.

Success is based on a reflection of them as a person, abilities are fixed. Success is translated into always being able to do it properly and to show that I can succeed when I’m performing something. Failure means I’m not talented or I’m not good enough. Failure means “I am a failure”. They identify with failure as a personal reflection of who they are as a person and they are interested in the outcomes. “Did I succeed? Then I am a successful person!” “Did I fail? Then I am failure!”

Again, they’re going to be avoiding challenges. They might have a tendency to blame or look for excuses from mistakes or setbacks. It’s much easier for someone to deal with an excuse, that it’s someone else’s fault. Some other factor cause them to have a failure for doing this. Nothing is never their fault because if it was their fault, it’s a very bitter pill to swallow because that means that they are a failure as a person.

Someone is showing up late for work and perhaps their excuse was because there was traffic. Okay. But traffic is always going to be there. That is something that’s external. It’s out of their control. Therefore there’s nothing they can do about being late but if there was something that they could do about being late, then they would fail. However, if you have more of a growth mindset, you’ll say – “I didn’t leave the house early enough. So therefore, maybe what I should do is I should try to leave the house earlier tomorrow because the traffic is going to be there.” You’re not going to have a weekday where suddenly, there’s no rush hour traffic. There’s always going to be rush-hour traffic. It’s not a valid excuse for someone not showing up on time because they personally didn’t make changes and they’re not taking ownership of the opportunity to change what they’re doing and do it differently. So the next time, they can be on time and make improvements in their life.

Someone with a growth mindset is going to want to learn new things. Learning is an opportunity to grow as a person. They believe that effort will help them grow. Success is learning something new and not necessarily doing it perfect. It’s expanding their current skillset. Failure is only a failure now. There is still the opportunity for them to take that failure, learn from it and then succeed further along. Failure will become painful.

“I failed BUT I am not a failure.”

If you are a failure, there’s nothing you can do to change that. If you failed because you did something one way, you can do a different way next time and improve on the situation. They are interested in learning about the process, not necessarily about the outcome. The process is how they learn something new and the better that they can improve on the process, the better their outcome is going to be.

They’re going to seek challenges and have a constant interest in taking on new challenges and experiencing growth. They will gain satisfaction when they feel like they are putting in the effort to try hard to do something, to learn something. Their successes are when they’ve taken failures and turn them into learning opportunities to grow. When they start to figure something out and understand, those are the successes that they can take away. It’s going to be far more powerful for someone to have a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset because someone with the growth mindset can be empowered and feel like they’ve got successes throughout the entire process. It’s not a matter of what is the end result. It’s how they deal with each step of the process can provide positive feedback and help them grow.

So when you’re thinking in terms of helping someone change their behavior, you need to keep in mind that people will have a tendency for different mindsets – a fixed mindset is going to be more challenging for someone to deal with versus a growth mindset. But one of the most important factors that you need to keep in mind in helping someone change their behavior is that you can actually do things to help them move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. This is something that Carol Dweck has shown time and time again with thousands of people – taking people with a fixed mindset and help them learn a growth mindset. This is going to be one of the first things that you want to do and I’m going to talk about that more in the next video.