How powerful? Our mindset is one of the most powerful determiners of our personalities and our becoming and I’ll tell you why.

Mindset refers to our views, assumptions, perceptions and beliefs about ourselves. Mindsets also influence how we perceive the world, things and others. Our mindsets affect our attitudes, thoughts, feelings, outlook and behaviours.

I believe who we are and become is largely shaped by our own mindsets. I believe our mindsets can constrain, trap and limit us in so many ways. It can also make all the difference in our ability to adapt, cope with situations, survive a trauma, persevere or succeed. Our mindsets can either make us see opportunities in situations or only see problems. Our mindsets also determine our ability to solve problems.

In one of the best commencement speech ever delivered, Debbie Millman advised students that if they “imagine[d] less, less will be what [they] undoubtedly deserve”. According to modern psychology, our views and beliefs about our abilities and potentials significantly affect our behaviours and ability to succeed.

A leading Stanford psychologist in the field of mindsets studies, Carol Dweck noted that our mindsets have profound impacts on all aspects of our lives. According Dweck, there aretyows of mindsets: people with “fixed” verses “growth” mindsets.

Fixed mindsets:
People with “fixed” mindsets believe their character, intelligence, abilities are predetermined and can’t change in any significant ways. They try to preserve what they think they have or are, meassure success as their ability to hold onto what they believe they are worth or can do. They tend avoid failures and risks. Just proving to themselves over and over and yearning for approval.

Growth Mindsets:
People with “growth” mindsets embrace challenges and see failures as opportunities for growth and innovation. Growth mindsets people are passionate about learning and believe in possibilities.

So in the nutshell, our we views about ourselves shape how behave, whether we can see opportunities, how we view success, failures, problems and happiness. Or how we see these things.

The above theoretical and empirical analysis reflect my own personal observations. I have seen this over and over again. In fact, it is one of the major differences I see between the most successful people and the “average Joe”. I also see that difference between Caucasians (whites) and Africans. Happy, tolerant, flexible people verse inflexible, intolerant, mean, miserable people.

While white people are always learning and enquiring about new possibilities most people of African descent are bogged down by what has been said to them, what cannot be done, what they already know is a “sin”, “bad” or “taboo”. White people question things, explore and make changes to situations that have negative individual and social impacts. Most Africans, once we have been told it is not good, won’t question or change because our forefathers and mothers knew best. Most Africans are reluctant to make changes to even things that no longer have any value or are harmful to some or most.

No wonder there cannot be any real innovation or creativity in our quarters of the world. Neither can we progress as we wish. We are behind on many levels compared to the rest of world. Most Africans are limited by their own mindsets. Most cannot liberate themselves to make any chances or grow.

Mindest is the difference between open minded verses close minded people who can only see problems in nearly all situations whilst adventurous and people with growth mindsets embrace challenges, problems as an opportunity to explore their abilities.

Often times, I see that people with growth mindsets are happier, flexible, adaptable and tend to be more successful.

Assess yourself, where do you belong?

Our mindsets can limit who we could become. According to professor Dweck, our personalities and intelligence are not static but are fluid, and can be developed. Our abilities are NOT “carved in stone”. Don’t live a life trying to prove to yourself again and again.

Don’t limit yourself to what you already know or have been told. Believe in what you could be, be open to knew knowledge. Take chances and capitalize on opportunities because what you could become may not be known yet.

Believe in your own abilities, qualities, capabilities and intelligence. Live your life to the fullest. Experience new things, stretch your capacities and learn new ways to improve your love life, friendships and family relations.

Keep growing because you can become many things or something higher. Do what you enjoy. Don’t get stuck and/or yearn for approval. You have nothing to prove to anybody. Use mistakes and failures as learning experiences, practice and improve.


Akosua G
Ontario, Canada

January 04, 2020.


Fixed vs. Growth: The Two Basic Mindsets That Shape Our Lives