As Carol Dweck’s research has shown, each of us has two kinds of mindsets: a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
I’ve always thought about the difference between the two mindsets like this:
- Growth Mindset: See intelligence as something that can grow like a muscle. See failure as an opportunity to learn.
- Fixed Mindset: See intelligence as something they either have or not. See themselves as a failure when they make mistakes.
I’m listening to the audiobook of her book, Mindset, and I heard her describe fixed-mindset athletes and CEOs as people with the Somebody-Nobody Syndrome.
When you have a fixed mindset, you feel the need to constantly prove you are a somebody. Any mistake or failure might suggest that you are a nobody, so you try to hide your mistakes. You try to appear perfect hiding your weaknesses out of fear of being exposed.
Someone with a growth mindset isn’t worried about reputation. They don’t care as much about being a “somebody.” Instead, they focus on getting better each day. They know that if people think they are a “nobody” today, they can work hard and become a “somebody” later, but that’s not their real goal. Their real goal is to grow, to learn, and to get better.
Whether you are an athlete, leader, parent, artist, or writer, it is beneficial to ask yourself every once in awhile how you are approaching your work.
Are you suffering from the Somebody-Nobody Syndrome?
Are you trying to be a somebody? Are you afraid of being a nobody?
Or, are you focused on growth? Are you focused on learning? Are you focused on getting better?