Throughout the website, I’ve mentioned having a Fixed Mindset but more importantly, the right mindset and the way it can help with depression. According to Carol Dweck, author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, there are two different mindsets: fixed and growth.
A growth mindset is the belief that everyone has the ability to grow and change and that personal potential is unknown. So, in this article let’s try and understand what is a ‘fixed mindset’ and how changing it can help with depression.
A fixed mindset is what causes many people to quit when the going gets tough and never to try new things because they are afraid of failure or embarrassment. Someone with a fixed mindset feels that he or she is as good or as smart as they are ever going to be. A fixed mindset can cause you to be hard on yourself, but changing the way you view yourself and the world can really help with depression.
These days many people seem to have natural talent, which means they are naturally good at something without any training. Natural talent allows you to sit down at a piano and pump out Chopin, or grab a golf club and swing like Tiger Woods without the apparent need to practice or rehearse.
With a fixed mindset, you believe that if these things do not come to you easily and you have to work hard for it, then you are not good at it and do not have natural talent. Feeling that you have no natural talent and you are not good at anything may cause you to be depressed.
People are interested in hearing the story about the little boy that sat down with a guitar one day and by age three was composing tunes. No one is interested in hearing about the kid that practiced for five hours every day to become good at basketball. That story is just boring. Obviously, the kid was not cut out to play basketball if he had to work so hard at it.
However, a story about hard work and eventual triumph is something to be proud of and once you understand that, it will help with depression. It is commonly know that the Michael Jordon’s of the world worked very hard to be the best in the world. If he had given up when it got a bit hard then the world would never have had the pleasure of watching such a skilled player. Believe me, to become great takes a lot of work, dedication and persistence.
The Problem with a Fixed Mindset
The problem with having a fixed mindset is that these people think if something is not easy for them then they must not be cut out to do it. If they were to take a Chemistry class and get a C- on a test, they would be done with it, saying, I have failed, so I must not be good enough.
With this type of attitude they will not even take the time to analyze where they went wrong. They will never consider that perhaps their studying method is flawed; instead, they will simply accept that they suck at Chemistry. This way of thinking will get you nowhere and certainly will not help with depression.
A fixed mindset will cause you to experience a tremendous amount of anxiety anytime you attempt a new activity or anything outside of your comfort zone. So much anxiety and is often a precursor to depression. You may go to your first day at a new job and mess up, thus you consider yourself a failure. You may try painting or surfing and at the first hint of rejection, it is all over for you.
This frame of mind is a one-way ticket to depression. Changing the way you view learning and development and the way you see the world is a great way to help with depression. Learning to have a growth mindset as discussed in other articles will open the door to a new life full of health and happiness.