Growth is good. Always. Even when it doesn’t seem to be so. Often growth can mean upsetting the status quo and bracing for the inevitable back lash that may result. But like Ken Wilber says “just as the next level of development acts like a magnet that pulls you up, so too does the previous level of development act like a magnet to pull you back down.” That pull-back can be harsh sometimes and it can leave us with some nasty carpet burns. But ultimately evolution cannot be denied and in the end growth must happen.
Of course, on a relative level this is not always the case. So we must ask why do some people grow and others not?
I just came across an interesting short article in the New York Times giving an overview of the results of 30 years of research that looks at how people think about intelligence and talent. It turns out there are two types of attitudes towards ones ability. One type is the “fixed-mind set”, and the other type is the “growth mind-set”.
“Those who believe they were born with all the smarts and gifts they’re ever going to have approach life with what is called a “fixed mind-set”. Those who believe that their own abilities can expand over time, however, live with a “growth mind-set.”
In brief, a “fixed mind-set” is one of being preoccupied with looking good and not making mistakes. This mind-set tends to box one in and kill growth. There is an investment in who they are and little willingness in losing that investment. Oscar Wilde got it right when he said: “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative mind.”
On the other hand those who posses a “growth mind-set” often experience dissatisfaction with who they are. This dissatisfaction tends to lead them to push and stretch their limitations, as well as confront their own mistakes and learn from them. They understand what it means to invest in loss. Such people have a passion for learning and always thrive on challenge and change.
This study shows how adopting either a fixed, or growth attitude toward abilities profoundly affects all aspects of a person’s life. Which, of course, can be integrally applied in the quadrants, levels, lines, states or types.
“People with a growth mind-set tend to demonstrate the kind of perseverance and resilience required to convert life’s setbacks into future successes. That ability to learn from experience was cited as the No. 1 ingredient for creative achievement.”
Like Winston Churchill said, “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”
By now you’ve probably asked yourself “which type am I?” The answer should be obvious for you. But if you want to be sure just look at the above picture again and feel which type resonates the most within your being. Go ahead, give it a try. And if you really want to be integral about it, run through the AQAL matrix as you look at the picture. It’s a good compass pointing to where development needs to go.
If you sense that you may perhaps have some degree of risidual “fixed mind-set”, then the article ends with the obvious question: Is it possible to shift from a fixed mind-set to a growth mind-set?
Well, what do you think? (ok, you can find the answer here)
dead, they are stiff and hard.
Plants are born tender and pliant;
dead they are brittle and stiff.
Thus whoever is stiff and inflexible
is a disciple of death.
Whoever is soft and yielding
is a disciple of life.
The hard and stiff will be broken.
The soft and supple will prevail.
Tao Te Ching