Changing Our Mindset

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” 

―Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Little did we realize we were going to experience it first-hand at this week’s session. All along, we have been taking some of our thoughts for granted.

It took us Yogita Nalkande’s continuous learning session on Growth Mindset to snap us out into reality. It turned out to be a great session. Yogita had taken up this activity at Prashant’s request. 

Yogita started with explaining to us that our mindset or intelligence is not fixed or limited (though often we seem to think so). We can always improve our intelligence quotient by being ready to do things. 

Usually, there are two types of people – one with a fixed mindset and the other with a growth mindset. Yogita explained to us that people with a Fixed Mindset don’t try to improve. They believe that intelligence and talent are limited and there is nothing new that can be tried out or improved. 

On the contrary, people with Growth Mindset think of talent and intelligence as a starting point and try to improve it time and again.

So that we could experience these two first-hand, Yogita had us do an activity. She put a few objects in front of us that we had to use. They were a Rubik’s Cube, Balloons, Spelling Tests, Balls for Juggling and a Puzzle that was about finding the correct spelling.

The challenge she put forth was to see if we had the mindset to take up the most challenging thing amongst them. And we were to analyze our mindset when picking up each object to finish the task. 

Once the tasks were done, Yogita asked us what our mindset was. She gave up a few options as to what we felt when we picked up an object to complete the task. 

Oh Man! She asked us some pretty uncomfortable questions. She asked us:

When you saw a challenge what did you feel? Then she explained how differently a Fixed Mindset person and a Growth Mindset person thinks and feels:

The Fixed-Mindset: “Are you sure you can do it? Maybe you don’t have the talent.”

The Growth-Mindset: “I’m not sure I can do it now, but I think I can learn to with time and effort.”

The Fixed-Mindset: “What if you fail—you’ll be a failure”

The Growth-Mindset: “Most successful people had failures along the way.”

The Fixed-Mindset: “If you don’t try, you can protect yourself and keep your dignity.”

The Growth-Mindset: If I don’t try, I automatically fail. Where’s the dignity in that?”

And when you hit a setback:

The Fixed-Mindset: “This would have been a snap if you had talent.”

The Growth-Mindset: “That is so wrong. It was not easy for everyone. They have the passion and put in tons of effort.

And when you face criticism:

The Fixed-Mindset: “It’s not my fault. It was something or someone else’s fault.”

The Growth-Mindset: “If I don’t take responsibility, I can’t fix it. Let me listen—however painful it is– and learn whatever I can.”

Yogita also talked about growth mindset for a team where each individual had to change their mindset to a growth setup before having it done for the entire team. The team was quite pepped with the session and here’s their mindset on the activity.

Bhanu enjoyed the session a lot and had picked up the Rubik’s Cube. He was able to put together half of the Rubik’s cube.

For Abhilash, the learning that everyone should think of what their shortcomings are and how they should improve to develop a growth mindset.

Pranjal knew she always had a difficult time blowing up the balloon and she had always wanted to try and learn it someday. She also tried her hand at the spelling puzzle as she always depended on the auto spell while working.

Subhodh had a unique experience of filling the air in the balloon with his mouth for the first time in his life and he found that he enjoyed the experience. He always took the help of a balloon gun.

For Jahir, all the tasks that Yogita had set were easy. Now, he realized something – these tasks were easy so there was no case of a fixed mindset, but when it came to other tasks, he always had a fixed mindset.

Avinash thanked Yogita for making him realize where he was in the mindset context. He had a growth mindset with the Rubik’s Cube as he wanted to learn and didn’t know where he stood with it. He also felt that it was important to use the mindset quotient in our day-to-day life. 

Pritam had never seen the puzzle before and had tried his hand at it. He wanted to utilize it for team building and improving the work environment to discern the negative and use the positives to improve.

Prajakta had taken the puzzle and wanted to try but then Pritam took it from her and handed over his juggling task to her. She made sure she learned from Pritam and repeated it to the T.

It was Heena’s first session and she thought it was very good. She had tried the juggling task and learned how we should take things positively.

Rajlaxmi believed that sometimes we know our positive and negatives but ignore the negatives in us. We need to work on our negatives so that we improve. She had learned how to work the Rubik’s Cube and wanted to try it out and found it to be fun.

Astha felt that the mindset depended on the situation – our aims and the target that we want to achieve and how desperate we are to achieve it. She felt that no one has a 100% fixed mindset or a growth mindset and we should think of improving ourselves in any challenge.

Monali agreed with Astha’s thinking and felt that we should try what we cannot do. She got the balloons and worked on it in the activity.

For Sayli, this activity was a reality check and she realized that she was stationed somewhere between a fixed mindset and growth mindset.

Prithashree liked the session and felt that growth mindset was important for both professional and personal life.

Shubham had a great example to give about his job. He told us about the times when people give feedback on the designs he creates and how defensive he feels when that happens. But then he sits and thinks and realizes that the idea or suggestion would work better.

Bhushan felt that the activity was nice and from a team perspective growth mindset people will try to take up what is best and this will help develop positive vibes and vice versa.

Sakshi felt that often or in many circumstances, she doesn’t have a growth mindset, but was open to improving.

Blessy had never given it a thought – the mindset category and this activity session helped her. She wanted to try the Rubik’s cube but found herself left with the balloons which were an easy task. The next task was the spelling puzzle and she found that easy as well.

Laxmi made a great point – she felt that we as people have a growth mindset when giving advice, but a fixed mindset when it came to our problems. She gave the example of her son who couldn’t tie shoelaces on his own and Laxmi had to force him into learning that. But when it came learning how to drive a car, Laxmi chickened out and had a fixed mindset.

Before winding up, Yogita gave a great example of a growth mindset. Schools in the US try to introduce a growth mindset to children from a young age. For this, they have to pass a different set of exams. Students who do not pass the exams are not marked as failures but marked with a Not Yet, which means they are still learning the growth mindset and are not failures. 

It was a great continuous learning session in the true sense – a lesson that is going to stay with us forever.

Thank you Yogita!

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