In week nine of “The Science of Well-Being,” we learn about the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
A fixed mindset is where we believe that we were born with a certain intelligence level and set abilities that we cannot change. Having a growth mindset means we believe our abilities and intelligence can be developed and improved over time. If we think we have the ability to improve, we will!
Having a growth mindset allows us to cope with setbacks, sustains our motivation, and helps us achieve more when faced with a challenge. Those with a growth mindset also tend to bounce back better from failure because they learn from their mistakes and try again with a better understanding of the situation. We have to be willing to work on ourselves and realize that though we don’t know everything, we can get better at anything we put effort into.
Research shows that people find it gratifying to exercise control, so having a growth mindset where we believe we have a level of control over our abilities and outcomes makes us happier. This also helps explain why acts of kindness and giving to others makes us happier—we are helping to improve someone else’s situation through direct actions that we can guide. In turn, this impact creates meaning in our lives, and meaningfulness is important to our happiness level.
Tip of the Week
Work on your ability to show gratitude. Write a letter of gratitude to someone you care about. Who has made a difference in your life that you haven’t properly thanked? Write about how they helped you and how much you appreciate it. It’s best to deliver the letter in person, but any way you can get it to them will boost happiness for both of you.