How Does the Brain Play into Mindset and Your Success?

by Alex Lim
how does the brain play into mindset

The brain plays a huge role in the mindset of an individual. I think a person’s level of maturity, life experiences, and how they’ve handled adversities create mindset. As far as how it would affect an individual, I think that if you’re not thinking right, you would suffer tremendously.

You’re in charge of your mind. You can help it grow by using it in the right way.

Carol Dweck

There are two basic forms of mindset known as growth mindset and fixed mindset. Carol Dweck is a prominent physiologist renowned for her contributions in this field, which allows us to understand and try to answer the question, ‘how does the brain play into mindset’?

Growth Mindset

A growth mindset is a philosophy. It means you believe you can develop your most basic abilities through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are the starting point. This is the mindset that allows a person to thrive during a rough stretch or tough learning experience—when they believe that with the effort they can improve and get better.

It’s important for a person to believe in themselves, and the growth mindset plays a big role in that. I think that if a person has a growth mindset, it will help them get through any tough situation because they know they can improve. For children and students, it is very important to assess these patterns at an early age.

Do You Have this Mindset?

When you have a growth mindset, you are open to possibilities and will learn from mistakes. Growth-oriented people believe they can improve their abilities by practising and working hard, and they don’t worry about making mistakes along the way. They know mistakes are inevitable, so they learn from them and try again.

Various examples include:

  • Believing you can succeed in anything you do.
  • Striving to learn from mistakes and failures rather than beating yourself up about them.
  • Doing your best rather than comparing yourself to others.
  • Leading a team through innovation, cohesiveness, and the development of your followers.

Fixed Mindset

A fixed mindset is just the opposite of a growth mindset. It means you are confident your basic abilities, intelligence, and talents are just fixed traits. No one can change them in any meaningful way. You have a certain degree of these traits and that’s that.

Your goal then becomes protecting these traits and defending them. You’re anxious about proving yourself, afraid people will find out you’re a fraud.

You keep taking the test to see if you really are as smart as people think, and each time you find yourself wanting. This mindset is the source of all fear of failure because it means that failure is evidence that you possess a weak mindset.

A fixed mindset is a belief that your abilities make up who you are, and you can’t really change them very much. If you have a fixed mindset, you might give up easily during troublesome times or when faced with challenges. It’s hard to convince yourself that you’ll be able to improve if you don’t believe that the intelligence and talents you possess are basically unchangeable.

Persons with a fixed mindset, for example, might think: “I’m not really good at this skill, so I might as well not try.”

Examples of Having a Fixed Mindset

Do you believe everyone can grow and develop into a better person?

Everyone can be better, but they have to want it. If someone doesn’t believe in themselves or feel they can do it, then they won’t. To me, mindset is all about how you look at situations and how you handle them.

If someone says you are a failure but you don’t adhere to it, then you aren’t a failure. I feel you develop mindset from your experiences. I feel you can really change and be a better person, but it’s something you have to commit to doing.

If you have a fixed mindset, you feel your abilities are set in stone, and you don’t feel you can change. If you mess up, it’s all over—you’re a failure. You may try to hide your mistakes because you don’t want to be seen in a vulnerable state.

A few examples include:

  • Believing success is a matter of talent and intelligence, which you either have or don’t.
  • Thinking you have to be perfect to succeed.
  • Believing that mistakes are unacceptable, and that if you make them, you should hide them.

Neural Pathways

A neural pathway is a brain route or a series of neuron links in the brain. The circuit is a series of neurons with various interconnections that work together to perform a certain function. The entire circuit comprises all the neurons in the brain area.

For example, science considers the visual cortex as one complete circuit. It has about 20 different layers and about 50 different areas within it. Each neuron in the cortex has its own function and part to play in the processing of visual information.

How it Works

A neural pathway is a series of interconnected neurons in the brain. When children use their brain to do something, neurons fire together to form a new neural pathway. These new pathways then become strengthened and reinforced until they are well-worn with use. As a result, the individual will eventually find it easier to use these pathways.

The overall network is a series of interconnected neurons in the brain. We call the links between the neurons as synapses. The strength of each neuron connection is a measure of how strongly the two brain cells transmit signals to each other. New learnings, experiences, and changes in the environment can strengthen these transmissions.

The feedback loop from the environment also plays an important role in forming a new pathway. If an individual turns left when driving to work every day, his or her brain will eventually create a pathway to the left. However, if the same individual decides to drive to work using a different route one day, he or she will create new pathways.

The new pathways are not always beneficial. For example, if a smoker takes up smoking for the first time, he or she may form a neural pathway that is persistent and difficult to break. This makes it more likely that the individual will continue smoking in the future.

Evidently, your neural pathways have immense potential to change. If you want to change or strengthen your neural pathways, you must practice. You also need to challenge yourself if you want to change your mindset and improve your life.

A Final Thought

Since the human brain is a complex network of nerves and connections that ultimately controls our emotions and mindsets. We are the master of our thoughts and should constantly strive to become stronger people through understanding our scope of intelligence, refining our mindsets, and work towards personal development.

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