It’s hard to be successful if you don’t think you can be successful. You know the saying, “you are what you eat?” Well, the same is true for your mindset. If you’re filling your head with negative thoughts and limiting beliefs, then that’s exactly what you’ll become. With that being said I provided ten signs you need to be aware of that may be indicative of a limited mindset.
A Feeling of Helplessness
When it comes to poor performance at work or a disappointing outcome, your impression is generally I’m not good enough for this, or I’m not smart enough for this. When you have thoughts like these it leaves limited space for improvement, there’s no time for self-reflection to consider what went wrong and why. You’re free-falling in a limited mindset and it’s holding you back.
Constructive & Controlling
When you see someone tackling a high-risk event you have a tendency to guide them. For example, in a study on mindset, researchers found that limited mindset mothers are more likely to interfere (Dweck and Haimovitz, 2017, https://srcd.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/cdev.12955). When mothers were assessed watching their children encounter challenges, the limited mindset parents were more likely to interfere or take over the challenge. This isn’t just a parent with a limited mindset, this parent with a limited mindset is also imprinting that same mindset on their child.
There’s No Counterfactual Thinking
What is counterfactual thinking? It’s simply the ability to think alternatively about events that already occurred. For example, everyone says you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, but we are still guilty of judging people on appearance alone. But someone with a limited mindset automatically judges everyone, always, and based solely on appearance.
One study provided participants with an image and allowed them to form their opinion based on it. After this, all participants were provided with positive information and then negative information.
But it was only the people with a limited mindset who struggled to overcome the negative stereotypes they assumed based on the initial image (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1754-9434.2012.01450.x). The people with a limited mindset could not think flexibly.
Ability Versus Effort
Do you care about the process or do you care about the outcome? If you have a limited mindset, then you are more than likely focused more on the outcome. People with a limited mindset only care about the final score and not the game they’re playing. Someone with a growth mindset would be more focused on the process.
Are you someone who leaves everything until the last possible minute? That’s often how a person with a limited mindset handles big moments. Because they’re focused on the outcome, they aren’t worried about the process until they absolutely have to be worried about the process. Someone with a limitless mindset would deal with things ahead of time because the learning process is part of the outcome.
People with a limited mindset tend to have lower self-esteem. They are more likely to praise someone’s individual abilities, rather than anything else. Not everyone succeeds in everything they do. But that failure for someone with low self-esteem can be catastrophic. It leads to even lower self-esteem, more self-blame, and shame, and it’s difficult to believe you can be more than what you are.
While some people know how to process criticism, someone with a limited mindset will have their confidence sunk by criticism. It’s hard to take and because it’s hard to take, it’s difficult to process in a productive way.
When someone with a limited mindset is criticized, they think it’s all intended as a negative, rather than being offered as a learning opportunity. So, they run from criticism and believe it’s the only thing damaging their self-esteem. It’s a vicious cycle.
Can’t Risk Failure
Similarly, someone with a limited mindset will go out of their way to avoid failure. It’s something that hurts deeply so it’s not something they want to experience if they can avoid it. So, they do absolutely anything they can to avoid it. Someone with a limitless mindset views failure as an opportunity to learn and something that can enhance their experience.
Focused on Imperfection
People with a limited mindset are more likely to focus on imperfections because they are more likely to look for those personal imperfections. So, that might mean you focus on improving your imperfection and forget to focus on other things.
As an example, a high school quarterback with a weak arm. He puts a lot of effort into improving his upper body strength and improving his passing. That’s a great move to make, but it comes at the cost of his communication with teammates. He’s so focused on improving his arm, that his mindset is limited and he misses out.
People with a limited mindset are more likely to make decisions quickly, but it’s not a positive. They are rash decision-makers who eliminate important details in order to come to a quick conclusion. So, if you find yourself making the wrong decision and you know you come to your decisions quickly, it’s a pretty strong indication that you have a limited mindset.
If you can relate to any of the points mentioned above, your mindset is likely limiting your potential
However, the good news is that you can change your mindset, but it takes time and effort. Identifying the signs that you have a limited mindset is the first step. Once you become aware of them, you can start to work on changing your thoughts and beliefs. It won’t be easy, but with time and practice, you can break free from the chains of a limited mindset and achieve anything you set your mind to.
Are there any signs that we missed?
Let us know in the comments!
Remember, it’s important to be aware of these signs so that you can work on changing your mindset and opening yourself up to new opportunities.