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Ditulis oleh: Khansa Shafira Syarif

What is Mindset?

         Mindset is a lense or frame of mind that orient an individual to a particular set of associations and expectations (Crum et al., 2013). Put simply, it is a function of your mind that determines your view of the world. How you define things like failure and success. It is a tool to simplify and make sense of the world. To simplify things through our mindset is a natural part of being human, or else the world would be too complicated for us to understand. 


Why is Mindset So Important?

         The mindsets we hold determine how we view things. But more than that, they determine how we feel and act to a profound extent where it can affect our well-being. Dr. Alia Crum (2014) did an experiment to prove a direct connection between mindsets and human bodies. Participants were divided into two groups to try a labeled milkshake, then their blood samples were taken to measure the amount of ghrelin. Ghlerin, also known as the hunger hormone, is a hormone in the human body that stimulates appetite. When we eat, ghrelin level drops signaling to our brain that we are no longer hungry.


         The first batch of milkshake—named Sensi Shake—was given a label that claims to have zero added sugar, zero fat, and 140 calories. The other—named Indulgence Shake—was given a label that claims to contain 56 grams of added sugar, 30 grams of fat, and 620 calories. After the first group were tested for blood samples, the ghrelin level in their body drops, but only very slightly, signaling that some food had been consumed but not a whole lot. On the contrary, the second group who drinks the Indulgence Shake showed a significant steeper rate of ghrelin in their blood samples. The interesting part of this study is that both groups were in fact given the exact same milkshake. This study proved to us that our expectation, our belief about the food we eat determines our body’s response.

         Put into other words, a little change to our mindset does affect our health, and therefore could affect our well-being, as well as our successes and failures. This could happen because a mindset can change how people interpret the definition, the impact, and the significance of success and failure, therefore changing what they strive for and the meaning of their effort.


Fixed vs Growth

         How do you define challenge? Do you feel the thrill when faced with one? Or do you play it safe and prefer to back down? What about failure? Do you agree with the saying that failure is the best teacher? What about those who succeed? Were they just born smart to be the winner? Do you believe anyone can stretch to their full potential if they try? Do you believe you can learn everything regardless of how much intelligence you have?


         Carol Dweck (2017) did an experiment to understand how people cope with failure. The study was conducted by watching how students respond when faced with hard problems. The students of ten year olds were asked to solve a puzzle that was slightly too hard for them. Not surprisingly, all of them failed. Some of the students were devastated, because their intelligence was being tested and they failed. This group is what Dweck said to be the fixed mindset group. On the contrary, there was another group to what Dweck refers to as the growth mindset group. Some of the students in this group surprisingly gave positive reactions. They said things like, “I love this challenge!”. These students understood that their abilities could be developed. They believe that when they are faced with a challenge and fail, they can learn and grow from the experience and the failure they had.


      After a few further studies, the fixed mindset group told the researchers that they would probably cheat the next time they’re failing (Blackwell et al., 2007). Another study shows that the fixed mindset group said they would find someone who did worse than they did, so they could feel good about themselves (Nussbaum & Dweck, 2008). So, what did these studies tell us? The different mindset each group has, a little different point of view of failure, could affect how they react to another challenge. In the long term, this could be affecting their actual life because there will be other unavoidable events and challenges they will have to face.  


         On the other hand, scientists have found that there is higher electrical activity on the brain of the group with the growth mindset (Moser et al., 2011). It represents higher brain activity and shows that the growth mindset group works and engages more with the problem. They worked with the error, learned from it, and corrected it. They believe that their qualities and intelligence can be changed and developed through effort and strategies. Although there are differences in people when it comes to raw talent and aptitudes, there is still a huge room for improvement in almost everything that we put our minds into. 


         A different mindset is a different world. In the fixed mindset world, one’s qualities are carved in a stone, innate, and cannot be changed. In the other world, qualities means something that you can change and stretch. When faced with failure, a fixed mindset person would let the failure determine who they are as a person. Failing means they are not smart or talented. While the truth is every one of us has failed in our life. In the growth mindset world, failing means a chance to learn. It means you are not where you want to be, yet. Yet means you are on a learning curve, it means a path to the future. 


Born Genius

         Have you ever thought that there are people who were born to be true geniuses and just good at everything? The misconception about this is that people with the fixed mindset think it should take them little to no effort to do anything. If someone is good at something then it should feel effortless for them to do the thing, meaning that they were born smart or talented. But the truth is, everything needs effort. You never get something if you don't put some effort into it. And putting effort into something doesn’t necessarily mean you are doing something wrong or that you are dumb. In fact, experts and geniuses are the ones who put the most effort in their work and therefore they were able to do things they’ve done. Even a master was once an amateur, it is only time and effort they put that differentiate them with amateurs. The world of growth means appreciating effort and progress. It also involves trying new strategies, putting patience in time, and redefining setbacks to move forward.

A Gradual Journey to Growth Mindset

         Everyone is actually a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. A pure growth mindset doesn’t exist, which we have to acknowledge in order to attain the benefits we seek. A journey in a growth world is a gradual and ongoing journey of self discovery. So you shouldn’t be too hard on yourself when you can’t change to have a growth mindset overnight. Taking your lesson after every failure, as well as valuing your effort and progress more, are the things that will take you from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. It is not an easy task to attain a growth mindset. However, each one of us always has a choice. A choice to choose which world we want to live in. Mindsets are just beliefs, but they have significant impact. It is on your mind and you can always change your mind. 


Growth Mindset in Business Organization

         We’ve learned that each one of us is a mixture of fixed and growth mindset. Some fall deeper into one mindset, driving their responses into each one of their events of life. That makes it clear that the leader of an organization can also hold a dominant fixed mindset or a dominant growth mindset. But what about the company? Can a business organization as a whole have a mindset? A study on a group of large corporations including Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies was conducted to find the answer and the impact on the organization and its employees. Employees and supervisors were presented with statements and asked about how much they agree with each one. Each statement reflects which mindset one holds, whether fixed or growth. The companies that lean toward the fixed mindset were called the “culture of genius” while the companies that might embody the growth mindset were called the “culture of development”. The result showed that there was a strong consensus within each company about the two mindsets and their effects on its employees. 


         Employees from a company that embody the growth mindset have substantially more trust in their company, greater sense of empowerment, and sense of ownership. Employees in these companies also stated that they are more committed to their organizations. When it comes to risk taking and innovation, employees from the “culture of development” agree more on statements like, “This company supports risk taking and will support me even if I fail.”. While employees in “culture of development” have a more positive view on their companies, their supervisors rated them as more collaborative and committed to learning and growing, as well as innovative and having greater management potential. 


         On the contrary, employees from the fixed mindset companies reported a greater interest in leaving their organization. Revealing that their companies are less likely to support them in risk taking and innovation and more likely to agree on statements like, “In this company, there is a lot of cheating, taking shortcuts, and cutting corners.”. Opposing the former, the supervisors in “culture of genius” are reported to be less likely to see their team members as having a greater management potential than themselves. 


         It is clear to us that it is possible to incorporate mindsets into an organization to create a company's culture. It’s true that in today’s world, in order to survive, it is essential for every organization to reinvent and adapt to changes. The growth mindset values hard work more, rather than putting the premium on natural talent, therefore creating an environment with more learning opportunities, as well as empowerment, innovation, creativity, and the qualities that are needed for companies to move from surviving to thriving.


     Blackwell, L. S., Trzesniewski, K. H., & Dweck, C. S. (2007). Implicit Theories of Intelligence Predict Achievement Across an Adolescent Transition: A Longitudinal Study and an Intervention. Child Development, 78(1), 246–263.
      Crum, A. (2014a). Change your mindset, change the game | Dr. Alia Crum | TEDxTraverseCity.
    Crum, A. (2014b). Mind Over Milkshake: How Your Thoughts Fool Your Stomach.
   Crum, A. J., Salovey, P., & Achor, S. (2013). Rethinking stress: The role of mindsets in determining the stress response. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 104(4), 716–733.
    Crum, A., & Zuckerman, B. (2017). Changing Mindsets to Enhance Treatment Effectiveness. JAMA, 317(20), 2063.
     Dweck, C. (2014a). The power of yet | Carol S Dweck | TEDxNorrköping [YouTube Video]. In YouTube.
     Dweck, C. (2014b). The power of believing that you can improve | Carol Dweck. In YouTube.
    Dweck, C. (2016, January 13). What Having a “Growth Mindset” Actually Means. Harvard Business Review.
        Dweck, C. S. (2017). Mindset. Robinson.
      Moser, J. S., Schroder, H. S., Heeter, C., Moran, T. P., & Lee, Y.-H. (2011). Mind Your Errors. Psychological Science, 22(12), 1484–1489.
        Nussbaum, A. D., & Dweck, C. S. (2008). Defensiveness Versus Remediation: Self-Theories and Modes of Self-Esteem Maintenance. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 34(5), 599–612.
     Zion, S. R., & Crum, A. J. (2018). Mindsets Matter: A New Framework for Harnessing the Placebo Effect in Modern Medicine. International Review of Neurobiology, 137–160.

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