This simple cycle plays a major role in our ability to achieve success (I kinda want to call it “the key to success” but that’s wayyyy too cliche.
Check it out…
Belief feeds into action, action to results, and results back into belief. Pretty straight forward, huh?
This cycle can either make or break our ability to learn, grow, and achieve our goals.
Let’s talk about drawing for a second. First – let’s see what happens when a young student believes that she can learn to draw…
And let’s compare that to the more common approach…
Belief is the key to the system.
By believing she could learn to draw, she did all the things that help her learn to draw. And what happened? – she got better at drawing. This confirmed and strengthened the belief which will lead to more action and more improvements.
By believing that she “wasn’t creative” and couldn’t learn to draw she avoided anything that could actually help her improve at drawing. Without any action there were no results or improvement. The original belief was confirmed and the system continues.
Replace drawing with virtually any skill in the world: dancing, singing, public speaking, and this cycle is still at play.
So many of us “want” to get better at these things but avoid anything that will actually help us improve because we don’t believe in our ability to learn.
This is why the growth and fixed mindsets are such powerful forces.
People with a growth mindset believe that they are in control of their abilities, that they can learn, grow, and improve their skills. With this belief they’re more likely to put in the action (working hard, taking feedback, overcoming challenges – all the stuff that helps them get good at things). Action leads to results and the results confirm the belief – the cycle continues upward. This is WHY people with a growth mindset learn, grow, and achieve more over time.
People with a fixed mindset believe that they’re abilities, intelligence, skills are set. This makes them less likely to put in the action (do any of the work that actually helps them improve). When they don’t put in the work, they don’t get the results. This confirms their beliefs and the cycle spirals downward.
Key insight: If we change the belief we change the system
As we know, our parents, peers, coaches, and teachers have a major impact on our mindsets and beliefs towards learning.
But we also do it to ourselves…
In a recent post, Seth Godin sums it up nicely:
We box ourselves in long before the outside world ever gets a chance.
“I’m not the kind of person who watches movies like that.”
“I’m not the kind of person who proposes new ideas.”
“I’m not the kind of person who reads books for fun.”
“I’m not the kind of person who apologizes.”
“I’m not the kind of person who gets a promotion.”
“I’m not the kind of person who says ‘follow me’.”
I’m not the kind of person who… is up to you.
Hacks to Change Belief:
“I am not a good drawer” < “I am not a good drawer yet”
This instills the belief that there is room to grow and improve.
Change “I am” to “I am being”
“I am lazy” < “I am being lazy”
Talking in absolutes is dangerous and we begin to believe that we just ARE a certain way. The truth is it’s mostly a choice, and like Seth says: “it’s up to you.” So you’re not inherently a lazy person, you are just being lazy – big difference.