Category Archives: Mindset

Get Better Mindset: What Heidi Grant could teach us

Mindset Management: It’s the thought that counts.

This morning I got a chance to listen to Heidi Grant who presented at a forum on the incredible benefits of a “get better” mindset.

This was a brilliant lecture delivered by a scientist who’s done quite a bit of research on human mindset.

The one I saw was done on Ted Talks, but I think you can get the same info here.

Heidi Grant Halvorson: The Incredible Benefits of a “Get Better” Mindset from 99U on Vimeo.

Here are my cliff notes and paraphrased information on the topic. I highly recommend that you watch the video in order to get a better understanding of what she is trying to communicate with us.

She says, when you consider what a farmer does they do not just have the tendency to simply toss seeds in the ground or throw plants in the ground.  They prepare the soil. They work the soil so that there’s a better chance seeds and plants will certainly produce a harvest.

Your mind is the same way.  Most of us don’t consider it the same way though.

Most the time we’re just thinking about getting the necessary technical skills to be able to do a particular task the right way or finding the right person to work with me in order to shore up my weaknesses.  But Heidi introduces us to a concept that eliminates a lot of the setbacks that we experience their mindset. She teaches us to consider our mindset in such a way that we can revolutionize and maximize our potential. We can change things around so that we are enjoying what we do and we’re passionate about them.

She lectured a group of individuals and explain that there are two types of mindsets.

The first one is the mindset that most have adopted. Most of us spend their time in this particular mindset and it is exactly what holds us back in life. People walk around with this mindset all the time. Most are unaware and unconscious to the fact that this is what is actually controlling their lives.

Adopting this mindset creates lots of ways for conflict starkly reduces your ability to deal with problems and stressors. It also inhibits your ability to enjoy what you do for living.

It is known as the BE GOOD Mindset.

“Be Good” Mindset

This frame of mind basically states that whatever I am doing or whatever I’m working on I am doing in order to reveal that I am excellent at it, and thus have value. Everything is measured against other people. It is very much a pass/fail mentality. If you pass then you are good and if you failed and you’re not good. This is the mechanism that is just below the surface of consciousness and it controls everything that you were doing. It is very easy to adopt this mindset because it is directly related to the things that we are good at. When you were growing up but if you showed that you had particular talents or abilities people respected those things and it was what set you apart from others. You begin to relate to yourself as the person that is able to do a certain task. Later in life as you were up against more challenges, if you feel like you fail then your self-worth drops because you don’t feel you’re as good as the next person.

This mindset also doesn’t allow you to consider growth as an option, rather you either are good or you’re bad. It is essentially a lotto mindset. Either you won or you lost.  This mindset completely neglects creativity in progress. However, it is so common it is unbelievable.

Everything related to this concept is entrenched in the idea that you have to prove yourself and your worth to others around you. Either you’re proving how creative you are or you’re demonstrating some value add that you bring to the table in the world in order to create your own self-worth. It is worth mentioning that this is very much an unconscious mechanism. We don’t walk around deliberately thinking or comparing ourselves to other people. We are simply performing I got level that is in-line with this concept. We completely neglect that weekend become something that we currently or not and improve in areas like creativity or social skills.

Like it or not we are constantly comparing ourselves to other people. When we come up short in our own minds they could have a dramatic impact on your goals and your career. The problem really comes in when things go wrong. When you get negative feedback headed Creates a huge setback which leads to self-doubt and a personal conviction that we are not smart or that we are not good enough.

Eventually, we come up with the concept that maybe we aren’t so socially skilled or maybe we are not cut out for a particular task. Heidi discusses a common misconception which is either you are a math person or you’re not. She begs to differ. She says that there is no such thing as a “math person” or  “not a math person.” We are simply people that have spent time or deliberately tried to understand the particular piece of information and that’s what makes us either good at something or not good at something.

Given enough time and enthusiasm surrounding any particular task, most can learn just about anything.

It simply comes down to devoting enough time to anything.  Displays itself out Time and time again. People say things like if they have a business setback for example, I must be a good businessperson. If they lose a lot of money, they say I must not be good with money. This kind of thinking really holds us back and stresses is out. Because when you’re constantly thinking that everything is a test of your ability for a test of your competence or work and everything starts to feel extremely stressful. We relate to everything that we do as a barometer on what it says about us. Put another way, we allow external things to become an indicator of our value.

When you’re in this mindset, you might as well just sit on the couch and eat a bag of chips and watching your favorite show. This concept basically says that you cannot affect your own value or become better at things. You might as well sit down and accept it.

And then master rights of this really stresses us out know from decades of research that this kind of thinking r this often leads to a feeling of vulnerability and creates a sense of depression. You begin to relate to yourself as a screwup. You simply don’t measure up to everything that is required of you. Why even try?  You don’t have what it takes.

The alternative to this mindset is another mindset called D get better mindset others referred to it as the growth mindset. Different researchers use different names for it, However, it is essentially identical.

“Get Better” Mindset

Heidi tells us that to get better in life it’s not just about being good.  What did she mean by that? She means that instead of proving yourself to others you should simply try to improve yourself. You have to reframe your goalsetting. You need to think in terms of being the most creative person that you can be. If you focus on improving your abilities and skills. You focus on becoming better socially. Instead of evaluating your abilities in reference to everyone around you, you simply strive to be better than you were the day before. Even if you’re not better than you were yesterday, consider whether you were a week ago for a month ago or even a year ago. If you are a manager, consider whether you were becoming a better manager. This resets the framework around improvement and creates a positive mindset that allows you to improve rather than assigning the meaning that you have no value because you aren’t as good as you want to be at a particular task at the current moment.

Most people are hearing this information what are you that it is too simple. They may even consider it to be a typical hocus-pocus moved by motivational speaker. You know the kind of stuff but I mean. The stuff like you should really love yourself. Look at the mirror and every day and tell yourself how much you love yourself.  On the surface it feels kind of fluffy, but she assures us it’s not.

It is actually backed up by scientific laboratory research.

How was the study conducted? When individuals entered into the building, she gathered them aside and gave them a set of instructions related to a test they were to take. Naturally she created two test groups and wanted to see whether or not the framework behind the test created a different result.

In test group A as they were handed the information, they were told that this was an evaluation. In it she was going to be conducting a test to see how good they were relative to their peers. In essence she was testing to see how good they are. Naturally this would be the framework of a “be good” mindset.

The second group of individuals were told that the evaluation was there only for the purpose of them exercising their abilities in order to improve. In a since there was no grade related to the test. It was only two give them a set of exercises that would improve their abilities in different areas.

The next step and the study was to constantly interrupt these individuals as they were participating in the evaluation process. Shoot essentially go in and hand them more work to do or change things for them to do add new projects etc.

The results that came out of the study were mind blowing. Even though the evaluation was exactly the same, the framework within which it was explained made a huge difference. Those that were operating under the mentality of being good, performed markedly worse than those that we’re given the framework of progress and improvement.

As a matter of fact as she introduced these interruptions and extra things for them to do, Group A who was operating under the “be good” mentality began to show signs of decline.

All the while they were just trying to prove how smart they are. Conversely the other study group is found to actually improve as they have interruptions and have more challenges. At the end of the day the only difference really is the mindset for the framework within which the study is carried out.

Just to reiterate the reason for the interruptions is to simulate life. Life is like that. For example just a few minutes ago my wife just called me on the phone even though she’s in the same house but I am. You said that she threw out her back upstairs and needed some help.  That is life.

The highlight of the experiment was that these interruptions which could be also considered adversities fording their ability to finish a task, actually becomes a fuel for the second group to moved towards progress. They do significantly better facing problems then there counter parts.

This translates to real life. With the get better mindset our ability to deal with stressors and adversities intensifies greatly. Another study that was conducted… On purpose… LOL

By the way she doesn’t recommend that anyone take part in any of her experiments because they are kind of brutal sick and twisted. Continuing on, the study involved three weeks of daily life.  The idea was to fill people on purpose.All she wanted was for people to simply write down in an online daily diary what the worst thing was that happen to them and how they dealt with it if they don’t with it at all. The goal was to uncover what the dominant mindset was: be good or get better or somewhere in between.

What she discovered here is that the people that arm in the be good mindset typically reflected on feelings that express their competence likability and self-worth. They described problems as much bigger and demonstrated that they were upset about what happened. The more upset they were the more likely they were to experience depression and become resigned.





The Trip that Changed it All

germany map

(featured image photo credit:

As my first post, I figured I’d drop in a little about me and reflect on how things all got started over 20 years ago.

I was 16 years old and I noticed a large German man sitting across the aisle in the airplane from me. He had his laptop out. Curiosity got the best of me so I asked him what do you do for living? He explained to me that he was in international agriculture. He had me hooked. I was fascinated. He told me his dad was a farmer but apparently he was really smart and he took his whole business to a whole new level.

That was my lifelong dream at 16. I spoke a couple different languages, so, I wanted to do something internationally.

I loved culture. I loved languages. Truth be told I was mostly fascinated by languages. My best friends growing up were Spanish and it always seem like they could talk and some code language that I couldn’t understand.

I remember thinking I want to be able to do that.

So after about the second grade I decided I’ve got to learn Spanish. I didn’t have it mastered though until I was in eighth grade. The Spanish girlfriend definitely helped. 😉

But here I was sitting across from this international executive and all I could do what’s drool over the idea of being able to be him.

Fast forward a few years and somehow by a set of circumstances, I was sitting in a chair very similar with my laptop out working for a medical company that was based out of Europe.

Sometimes I wonder if when we think about something and desire it really wholeheartedly sometimes it seems to come to past.

So how did it all happen? Well… by the time I got through my senior year in high school I was fluent in German (because I ended up being an exchange student to Germany),Spanish and had a working knowledge of French and I almost forgot spoke pretty good Italian because I worked with a bunch of Italians in a restaurant.

So, I ran into a professor that seemed to be kind of impressed with me and he introduced me to a group of people that ran some economic development work for the city where I was living.

He told me I’ll introduce you to those folks and maybe you can do an internship. Unfortunately the internship was free of charge as you can imagine. And for a young broke teenager that wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for but it would do.

It was through that internship that I met a German man who owned a medical company. He told me that I had the right name when I went to interview with him. His middle name was the same as mine and his son’s name was the same as mine so I think that’s really the only reason I got the job and the fact that I was fluent in German and most Americans couldn’t pull that off. Come to find out all of the computer systems like word and excel in his subsidiary in the U.S. were all still in German. So, he couldn’t have hired anyone that didn’t speak German.

I ended up working with that man for six years. We’ve become lifelong friends. And he was the door that opened for me to become the guy sitting across the aisle with his laptop open smiling because he had the world by the tail.

By the way, if you are in Orlando and want some great authentic German Food, click here.