“You are the sum total of everything you’ve ever seen, heard, eaten, smelled, been told, forgot – it’s all there. Everything influences each of us, and because of that I try to make sure that my experiences are positive.” -Maya Angelou
Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D., is one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation and is the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on why people succeed and how to foster success and her best selling book is called Mindset. It has a simple premise and I invite you to look at the picture here on the right and ask yourself one question, “Am I a growth mindset person or a fixed mindset person?” It’s not a judgment of you personally by any means but rather something to consider in how you are approaching your animal rescue activities. Her book is a fascinating study of how we have been influenced even in childhood into a fixed mindset as a default setting. While many people tend to gravitate more towards the growth mindset naturally, others need a nudge to consider how things would be different if they changed their mindset.
What happens to you when a rescue or an adoption goes awry? Our passion often leads to frustration because events do not go as planned, people are not what they seemed and animal rescue is just plain hard. But do you take these challenges on the chin and judge yourself or others with a fixed mindset? Do you believe that you are only so intelligent and that you cannot learn new things, increase your knowledge or do anything you put your mind to? That’s the limit of a fixed mindset creeping up on you. You’ve probably heard the phrase “What would you do if you knew it was impossible to fail?” which comes from a booked called Wake Up & Live by Dorothea Brande. So put on your growth mindset cap, and ask yourself “What would I do if I knew I could not fail?”