Mindset Matters: The Power of Positive Thinking

Did you know that your mindset predicts how well you will achieve things? When you have strong beliefs about yourself, they can influence real-life outcomes. Research indicates a strong correlation between how intelligent we believe ourselves to be and how it affects our abilities.

Have you always thought of yourself as mediocre mathematician, a slow runner, or a poor cook? These beliefs are simply categorized as negative thinking. We then form

Love Me Image
Love me image by Veronica Maltoni, Flickr.

self-perception based on these beliefs. These perceptions then limit our ability to see any possibility for improvement or they inhibit decisions that could help change your mindset.

Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck researches why people achieve and fail — even when they are equally talented. This concept is interesting on many levels. Especially over the last 10 years, the power of the mind and the positive impact it can have (if you use it correctly) is being brought to everyone’s attention — in science, history, and literature as well as spiritual endeavors.

Dweck indicates from her research that belief in one’s innate intelligence can be increased with effort and practice, and may ultimately help improve learning outcomes and academic performance in people of all ages — what she calls a “growth mindset.” She conducted a study on middle school students, some of whom had a predetermined and fixed mindsets about their intelligence; these students believed less in themselves and had less confidence in raising their own intelligence levels. She found that students who believed their intelligence could be increased and who had a “growth mindset” did exceptionally well academically, while the fixed mindset group did poorly.

In addition to the test, both groups of students were followed until the end of the school year. The growth mindset group significantly improved their grades in math; the fixed mindset group had no change in grades and no change in mindset.

Positive thinking tips

Mindset has a strong impact on decision making in order to reach our goals. Our motivation depends on positive thinking.

With a fixed mindset, you can:

  • have a critical “inner” voice. This self-criticism is sometimes hard to catch. If you feel like you have this inner voice, try to be aware the next time you are unmotivated to do something. Is there a voice telling you “no,” or a strong feeling — such as anxiety, or fear?
  • feel unable to make choices and that things simply “happen” to you —  instead of you being the one to “make things happen.” A fixed mindset means you believe you have fixed talents and abilities.

When you change to a growth mindset, you can:

  • view self-criticism as a way for you to change the perception of self. This step is a powerful way of becoming a more positive person. Positive attitude can help bring wisdom and enlightenment — and with enlightenment, there will be less negative self-talk and unnecessary anxiety and more opportunities for positive self-talk. One of these approaches that can be practiced daily is called positive affirmations.
  • understand the power of choice. You can choose how you interpret feelings, wants, desires, and goals. You can take responsibility for your actions and how much effort you put into yourself and your goals, as well as other aspects of your life.
  • practice self-love! Many people who love themselves are able to do so and still maintain the ability to think positively and logically while maintaining emotional stability. Treat yourself well and change your outlook by making decisions that you know will make you happy and motivated.

What are some other ways you can change your mindset?