March 9, 2017

Keeping on working at developing a growth mindset and autonomous motivation

Two important topics in progress-focused working are autonomous motivation and the growth mindset. I have written a lot about these two topics and followers of this site will know what they are about. To be autonomously motivated means that we endorse what we are doing because we find it interesting and/or important. When we are autonomously motivated we feel better and we function better. The growth mindset means that we believe that we can get better at what we want to get better at by putting in sufficient and effective effort.

With both these topics I have noticed that they can have a substantial impact on how people view their work and their lives. When they start to understand what autonomous motivation and the growth mindset mean they generally become motivated to apply these ideas to their own life. But they usually quickly notice that applying these concepts is not like switching an on/off button. Understanding what autonomous motivation means does not mean that, from that moment on, you can just simply choose to always be autonomously motivated. In many situation there will be certain events and triggers which will evoke a controlled motivation within you. It is more realistic to view becoming autonomously motivated as a process at which you can keep on working and growing.

The same applies to the growth mindset. People who learn about the growth mindset often are motivated to develop it within themselves. But it is probably not possible to always retain a growth mindset because many situations prime us toward a fixed mindset. Developing a growth mindset also requires continuous maintenance and attention. Whenever we catch ourselves having a fixed mindset we should not think in terms of having failed but we could just calmly reflect on the situation and think about how we want to proceed.

That developing autonomous motivation and a growth mindset is not a matter of turning a switch but something with requires ongoing attention is really not such a bad thing. Keeping a focus on learning and doing our best is actually good for us. It keeps us busy and it is healthy. Keeping a focus on learning increases the likelihood of remaining relatively vital into old age. Also, the benefits of these learning processes can be expected to be quite attractive. If we keep on working at developing a growth mindset we can keep on getting better at things we value. If we keep on working at developing our autonomous motivation the likelihood increases that, in our lives, we can focus more and more on what we find interesting and deeply important. What is better than that?

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