Mindset – What it Is and Why It Matters

In many systems of thought and cognitive theory, a mindset relates to an individual’s understanding of the world, their place in the universe, and their individual place in that world. A mindset can be viewed as emerging from a person’s world view, philosophy or mind-set. More specifically, it can refer to a mental attitude that a person has regarding his self, others, and the world around him. It can also refer to his interpretation of how things happen in his environment.

Most people today would define the term “mindset” as a set of beliefs and thoughts that guide a person on their own personal growth. The truth of the matter is, human growth is guided not only by a mindset but by other factors such as culture, tradition, personal values, and experiences. For example, although some cultures may hold that girls are smarter than boys, this does not mean that individuals will necessarily be drawn to women’s abilities. On the other hand, a child raised in a family with a strong belief in the power of positive thinking could become a brilliant child. Similarly, a child raised in a conservative environment with a traditional value of work and family, could develop a strong mindset supporting these values.

However, the meaning of the term “mindset” varies across different philosophies, which makes it difficult to apply it to individual cases. A fixed mindset believes that a certain amount of time and effort must be expended before a certain amount of skill or knowledge can be developed. It is self-defeating and limiting. A flexible mindset, on the other hand, believes that individuals can create their own pace, develop their own talents, and gain knowledge or skill without too much effort or fixed attention. Such a mindset also fosters creativity, but not to the same extent as a fixed mindset. A person with such a mindset can be very intelligent and creative.

When comparing mindsets, you will notice that flexibility is more associated with creativity than intelligence. In other words, in a growing mindset, people are able to use their imagination, while intelligence tends to be more involved with problem solving and planning. Thus, intelligence can be a necessary aspect of developing an effective mindset, but it cannot be the only factor, nor should it be considered to be so.

In our daily lives, people will use intelligence, creativity, imagination, and other mental processes to make their lives more interesting and successful. It would be wrong to think, however, that intelligence automatically equates to a successful mindset. Similarly, it would be wrong to think that hard work automatically equates to a growth mindset. While it is possible for people to be born with high intelligence, it is also possible for others to acquire high levels of intellectual ability; therefore, it is possible for someone to be extremely intelligent and yet have a poor mindset.

It is up to each individual to determine what his or her mindset will be. Those who prefer a fixed mindset will work toward their potential and will use intelligence, creativity, imagination, and other mental processes to achieve their goals. Individuals who prefer a growth mindset will use their skills, intelligence, imagination, and other mental processes to achieve their potential. Regardless of which type of mindset an individual may initially have, it is important that they work to continually improve their mindset so that they may maximize their potential.