The Principle of the Growth Mindset

The concept of the “growth mindset” versus the “fixed mindset” popularized by author Carol Dweck is well known. The growth mindset is centered on the belief that our intelligence and abilities can be developed through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. In contrast, the fixed mindset believes that our abilities are inherent and unchangeable. Whichever side of this equation one falls on has a significant impact on life experience.

The main point of this concept is the emphasis on the power of the mind; a topic that has been discussed for thousands of years. Wisdom sages dating back to the dynasties of ancient Egypt to the modern day have shared their insights on the power of the mind and the role it plays in our lives.

In his book Egyptian Yoga: The Philosophy of Enlightenment author Muata Ashby shares this ancient philosophy: “A healthy mind is a peaceful mind. A peaceful mind comes through wisdom, not only knowing the truth but experiencing it.”

Self-help author Napoleon Hill had this to say: “You have absolute control over just one thing, your thoughts. This divine gift is the sole means by which you may control your destiny. If you fail to control your mind, you will control nothing else.”

The writer of the Book of Romans chapter 12 verse 2 penned this: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”

Photo by Diana Aise

These are just a few of the countless references to the power of the mind. General principles of the power of the mind have been expressed in various forms over thousands of years. I have been reflecting on this subject for quite a while now. I find it both fascinating and important. The intent of my reflecting is to formulate a personal framework on the power of the mind to practice in my own life. These perspectives are my own, and I’m not suggesting them to anyone else. We each must walk our own walk. I’m just sharing for the sake of conversation and am always open to change. There are two primary aspects to my viewpoints.

First, I needed to come up with my own workable distinction between mind and “mindset” and their relationship to thought. I define mind in general as the invisible pervasive creative space where the constant stream of thought energy flows. Thought energy is persistent, dynamic, always in a state of flux, always active and in motion. I like to think of the mind as the creative space where this energy flows. Both mind and thought are non-physical aspects of being. They are not separate from us, yet they are not us.

Mindset arises when a habitual, reoccurring way of thinking becomes fixed as a belief and has a behavioral impact on the way we view others, our world, and ourselves. Mindset influences us to act in ways that create experiences that confirm that belief and produce a reinforcing feedback loop. The mindset that gets established can be one that opens us up to a new and exciting world of wonderful, challenging growth experiences, or shuts us down into a small confining comfort zone that we dare not stray out of. This is how I currently approach the distinction and relationship between mind, thought, and mindset.

Second, as noted, mind, thought, and mindset are non-physical aspects of being. They are not who we are, they are what we experience. They are not separate from us, but they are not us. Who we are, are the ones that experience mind and thought, and create from those a mindset. Growth or fixed mindsets are constructs of our own creation, and not something imposed upon us from outside. There is little debate that a growth mindset is far more beneficial to life experience than a fixed mindset.

The power of developing a growth mindset is not so much about achieving goals and material possessions as it is about personal development and the cultivation of mind, body, spirit and emotions. It is about connecting with the higher self and expressing that self in the material world.

Finally, it is important to understand that these principles of mind, thought, and mindset are built on ancient wisdom and reflect age-old concepts expressed in modern terms. There are few things I have found more gratifying and “eye opening” than the study of ancient wisdom, and I highly recommend the study of this amazing material, especially that of ancient Egypt, India, China, Greece, and others, where many of these principles originated. It has been said that there is nothing new under the Sun, and that everything old is new again. Such as it is with the power of a growth mindset.