Viktor Frankl, in his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, writes,
“When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.”
When was the last time you felt stuck? Maybe you wanted to change or maybe you wanted someone else to change. More often than not, people stick to their guns and prefer others to adapt to their point of view, even if that means not arriving at the best outcome.
Why is having a fixed mentality and point of view more common than you think? Carol Dweck, a prominent Stanford researcher, believes that a person’s mindset is the biggest factor in determining their level of success.
Dweck is the author of Mindset: The Psychology of Success. In her book, she identifies and distingquishes between the fixed and growth mindset. Mindsets span every walk of life from relationships in school, home and work life. The central point of Dweck’s research is to understand why some people achieve their potential, while others don’t, when both people are equally talented.
Dweck found striking differences between the fixed and growth mindset. For example, fixed mindset people view intelligence as static and something you either have or don’t have. Intelligence is something that you’re either born with or not. People with a growth mindset, on the other hand, view intelligence as dynamic. It can be learned and developed over time with hard work and effort. Dweck cites practical examples of both mindsets in different areas like artistic talent, sports ability, business skills, and marriage and family relationships.
The info-graphic below compares how fixed and growth mindset people view intelligence, challenges, obstacles, effort, criticism and success.
Most people who see this comparison immediately see the drawbacks of the fixed mindset, such as being close-minded, being suspicious of feedback from successful people and giving up too easily. Yet, every day we see the fixed mindset in action at work and at home.
Why people get stuck with their technology?
Do you know people who love their Macs or PCs? How about their smart phones, tablets or gaming consoles? How often do you hear them say, “You couldn’t pay me to switch”?
When it comes to technology, most are unaware that technology in most organizations is older. As of this writing, 37% of the world’s computers run on Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system, according to NetMarketshare.com. The technology world has vastly changed since Windows XP was launched in 2001. I did a Google search of “Windows XP” recently and was surprised by the results. I expected a few articles and got back 61,900 news articles from the last 30 days!
I assumed it was because Microsoft announced last year that they plan to stop supporting Windows XP on April 8, 2014. This means that after this date, there will be no more security updates, leaving the operating system exposed to hacker attacks, viruses and other nuisances.
According to an article in the technology publication, BGR:
“Whether or not you like Windows 8, the fact is that Microsoft’s most recent OS (Windows 8) currently has an infection rate that is six times smaller than that of XP. If you are worried about malware and viruses, newer is almost always better.”
Tim Rains, director of Trustworthy Computing for Microsoft, in PC Magazine article, says,“Some XP users are so in love with the way Windows XP does things that they’re reluctant to migrate, especially to Windows 8″.
When asked what it would take to upgrade to a newer operating system, many XP users say they won’t upgrade ever after the deadline passes. The only exception is if their computers stop working and the hardware fails outright.
Why don’t people do what’s good for them?
Confirmation bias is a psychological term from the 1960s, where “we search or interpret evidence in a way, that is partial to our existing beliefs.” The popular research paper by Raymond Nickerson has been cited many times to explain why we don’t always do what is best for us. We put more faith in information that agrees with what we already believe and remain closed to everything else. Ultimately, confirmation bias is about wanting to be right and seeking confirmation from others, even when the facts point elsewhere.
While confirmation bias makes people feel good, it divides and moves people apart rather than closer together. It creates conflict, breakdowns and even leads to war. It creates gridlock among politicians as we see in our government. It destroys companies as we saw in the 2008 USA financial collapse. It alienates people and hurts relationships at work and at home. It even causes computers and networks to crash because Windows XP diehard supporters refuse to upgrade!
In the next post, as part of a series, we look at different ways to move away from a fixed mindset towards developing a growth mindset.
What one thing can you do to reduce or stop your confirmation bias today ? Please share your one thing with a comment below after trying it at home or at work.
Image source is here