What does the research say?
Research suggests that our mindset plays a crucial role in how well we succeed in life. People with a dynamic mindset are more likely to keep making an effort when they encounter difficulties while people with a static mindset would rather give up.
It is the passion and desire to grow by stepping outside your comfort zone that characterizes a dynamic mindset. That mindset allows people to cope with and master even the most challenging periods of their lives.
With dynamic mindset, personal success is working hard to become the best version of yourself. With a static mindset, it is simply to establish one's superiority, to be the one who is better than others.
It all boils down to the fact that mindset is an interpretive process about what precedes us. With a static mindset, that process is an inner monologue of constant judgment and valuing. Where every little information is used as evidence to determine things like whether you're good enough, if your partner is selfish, if you're better than the person next to you, etc. With a dynamic mindset, the process is rather about constantly seeing opportunities for improvement and development, sucking in as much information and input as possible to put it into action towards becoming a better version of itself.
What shapes our mindset?
We are formed during our childhood, and so do our ways of thinking. Children who are praised for being smart and talented develop a static mindset, while children who are praised for putting in a lot of effort and putting in a lot of work adopt a dynamic mindset. The difference lies in being praised for the process rather than how well you do. One learns that the value lies not in the actual performance but in the effort and that the performance is thus not static, it is dynamic depending on the effort.
Studies in children
Studies in children show that children who have shaped a static mindset tend to take the easy path. They choose easy tasks that confirm their existing ability, believing that smart children don't make mistakes. On the contrary, children with a dynamic mindset choose tasks that stretch their ability and cannot understand why they would want to do the same tasks again as they have already accomplished. In other words, children with static mindset want to ensure that they succeed to seem smart while with dynamic mindset they want to challenge themselves because their view of success is to become smarter.
Children who are praised for their performance are disheartened when faced with difficult challenges, while children who have been praised for their efforts are rather tagged. Children who are praised for their performance tend to perform increasingly worse with more difficult tasks as their self-confidence drops. They are disheartened by their own attitude that you are either "good or bad" and lose their desire. Children who are praised for their effort are instead improved with the number of challenges and also have much more fun.
In one study, children had to undergo IQ tests and then let them write a message to their parents and tell them about the experience. They also had to write to their parents about the point they got. Perhaps the most sad consequence of having a static mindset turned out to be dishonesty. 40% of children who were praised for their performance lied to their parents about their score to make them look better. With a static mindset, flaws are somewhat shameful.
Our mindsets accompany us in all areas of life, not least in our relationships. With a static mindset, you think your ideal partner is the one who places you on a pedestal and makes you feel perfect. With a dynamic mindset, you prefer a partner who acknowledges your shortcomings and lovingly helps and supports you to change. You are looking for someone who encourages development and to become a better version of yourself.
A static mindset adopts more the traditional, fairytale view of love. That is, when you find the right one, it should be perfect "so they lived happily ever after." The problem there is that you expect all good things to happen automatically. With a static mindset, you tend to think that as soon as problems or challenges arise in your relationship, it's a sign that you're a bad match or that your partner is wrong. Because you think properties and qualities are constant and can't change, you also don't see the potential to work through the problems and grow together.
Change your mindset
You can practice your mindset to become more dynamic and thus see life and yourself as an ever-growing organism in development.
One way to start that process is to investigate if there is any area in your life where you weren't very talented from the beginning but over time have become really good at? Think about how it happened. Broaden this exploration by including your surroundings. Look at people who from the beginning weren't very good at something they now have great talent for, how did they get there?
How often when you're faced with a challenge, you think "I'll never be able to do that" or "no point in trying, I'm just going to embarrass myself." Awareness your thought patterns! It's the first step in changing your mindset and exploring how far you can go. You can go far.