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outline our perceptions

Mindsets = established sets of attitudes held by someone

American Psychologist Carol Dweck in her book Mindset illustrates how accomplishment in school, work, sports, arts, and almost every area of human endeavour can be intensely influenced by how we contemplate our talents and abilities.

Mindset is an assemblage of thoughts and beliefs that shape my habits. My habits affect how I think, what I feel, and what I do since they are related to mindset, it helps me to understand attitude and beliefs.

She goes on to add there exists two types of mindsets – a) growth mindset, b) fixed Mindsets that shape our lives.

The fixed mindset is entrenched, in the credence that people's personal qualities are engraved, in stone, at birth, we are, granted a certain amount of intellect, morals, talent, etc. and that there is nothing we can do to grow it more.

The growth mindset “is imprinted on the belief that our rudimentary qualities are things that we foster through our hard work, our strategies, and the resulting benefit from others. Even though individuals may differ in their initial talents and abilities, interests or personalities — everyone can change and grow through application and understanding."

To narrate an example, a man was passing some herd of elephants, confused he, paused and observed the fact that these huge, animal was being held, by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was apparent that the elephant can, any time, break away from their shackles but, for some purpose, it did not.

His eyes fell on a trainer nearby and inquired why the elephant just stood still and made no attempt to getaway. The trainer replied "when they were young and much smaller in size, they are used to tie by the same sized rope.

At that age, it was adequate to hold them, but as they grow up, they are, conditioned to believe that they cannot break away. They believe the rope can keep them paralysed, so they at no time try to break free from shackles.”

The man astounded thought these animals can time break free from their bonds anytime, but because it believed they could not, it got stuck right where they are.

Each one of us can relate to this parable and a sense of having such misconceptions since childhood. Alike, the elephants, many of us grow holding on to a belief that we cannot do it as we have tried it earlier and failed. Over some time, we begin to think of ourselves as incapable of doing specific things and start accepting it as the reality and bound ourselves to a narrowed world.

Internally we start contemplating, something like this, was tried earlier, but since it did not work out, there is no point in repeating and wasting both energy and time. We always strive to look good and at any time do not want to appear as incompetent giving, rise to shrinking of our capabilities. We look for an external cocoon to find solace within.

Can we start looking at this as a process of elimination? We need to visualise failures as stepping stones of success, prompting us to begin responding positively with a sense of gratification that we did try but failed, making the next step easier. When we acknowledge ourselves as a failure, we only use that to our advantage and make sure the mistake never happens again.

Let me also quote a positive example. The narration is about Shamu the Killer Whale and how its trainers get the killer whale to jump more than 25 feet above the water level over a rope and dive its head back into the water?

The procedure is simple and broken in a few steps beginning with tying a rope beneath the surface of the water, a level just above the bottom, allowing the whale to swim underneath it. The trainer starts ignoring the whale if it swims below the rope and duly rewards it when it manages to tide above. As a measure of positive reinforcement, the trainer feeds the whale with fish. It also is termed as a Whale Done Approach.

The whale later begins to co-relate an analogy between, the rope and the food they receive as bait - the fish. So, the whale swims over the rope more often, gradually, the trainers keep raising the rope unnoticed by the whale. After its mind become conditioned the whale does its viola act and jumps every time over the rope.

Remember the legendary Michael Jordan’s testament in Nike’s commercial on failure "I have missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I am trusted to take the winning, shot and missed. I have missed over and over and over again in my life.

So, do not bound yourself to a small world, stop limiting yourself to a life that is constrained. Break free of your mental restrictions, and enlarge out in this beautiful empire that we live.

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