The Power of belief

Have you ever felt that your life is stuck on a repeat? Like the same things are happening to you over and over again? For example, you end up facing the same kind of career problems or get stuck in a same toxic situation with your friends and colleagues. Why does this happen to us? If you take a step back and really look at your life, you’ll see that there are some patterns of action that keeps on repeating. And these patterns haven’t changed because we haven’t changed and neither are our beliefs.

So, where do our beliefs come from?  We are all at least a little familiar with the subconscious mind. It’s that fascinating part of our brain that drives our behaviour and it’s responsible for every single thing that we do. Every decision, every action, every thought, and emotions all come from this subconscious mind. And the beliefs that we have comes from our subconscious mind and they are actually formulated at a very young age.  Since childhood, your parents might have taught you some kind of beliefs because their parents have taught them those beliefs and so on and so forth.

Well!! Some of these beliefs are definitely great like be kind, work hard or be honest but some of these beliefs that you have today have been handed down from generation to generation and it’s just what you think is ‘normal’ or ‘right’.

Now, let me again ask you a question. What do you think is the key to achieve our goals? Some of you might say like hard work, focus or persistence but if you look closely you may realise that these are all by-products of something else. Famous Chess player and martial artist Joshua Waitzkin once said,

“The moment we believe that the success is determined by an ingrained level of ability, we will be brittle in the face of adversity.”

Some people see the intelligence or abilities are fixed which is called a fixed mindset while others visualise them as qualities that can be developed which is called a growth mindset and following these two mindsets lead to very different behaviours and results.  Results of a study conducted by Dr. Lisa Blackwell of Columbia University showed that young students who believed in the growth mindset, those who thought that they could change their own intelligence increased their grades over time while those with fixed mindset couldn’t do much.

When we directly try to build persistence, it’s not nearly as effective as addressing the mindset that underlies them. If we need to fulfil our potential we have to start thinking differently. We have to realise that we are not chained to our current capabilities. Scientifically speaking, our brain is very malleable. And we can change our own ability to think and perform. In fact, many of the most accomplished people of our era were thought to have no future. Scholars like Charles Darwin, Thomas A Edison, Mozart, and Einstein built their abilities. And when we have this growth mindset we bring our game to new levels.

There are physiological manifestations to mindsets. Like people with fixed mindset worry the most about how they are judged while people with growth mindset focused mostly on learning. People with the fixed mindset see the effort as a bad thing and people with growth mindset sees the effort as what makes us smart and a way to grow. And if they hit a setback or failure, people of the fixed mindset tend to conclude that they are incapable. So, they tend to lose interest or withdraw and we observe this as lack of motivation. But, if you look closely you will find, behind all these, there is a fixed mindset. Whereas people with the growth mindset believe that setbacks are a part of growth. So, when they hit one, they find a way around it.

Growth mindsets play a key role in achieving success and develop a constant source of motivation. And there are two things that anyone of us can do to instil a growth mindset in ourselves and those around us.

  • First, recognise that the growth mindset is scientifically proven to be beneficial. The brain changes and becomes more capable when we work hard to improve ourselves.
  • Second, learn and teach others about how to develop our abilities. When we understand how to develop our abilities, we strengthen our conviction that we are in charge of them.

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