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How Can You Get A Leopard To Change It’s Spots

How Can You Get A Leopard To Change It’s Spots

Imagine that you’ve just completed a project at work. Your supervisor tells you that you didn’t deliver things exactly the way he wants, and he asks you to redo the project.

For some people, this would be cause for a meltdown, but you take it in stride. You go back to your desk, digest what was just said,and assess the work you put into the project. Instead of having a pity party, you make a commitment to improve the quality of your work.

A colleague who was in the meeting where you presented stops by your desk and says, ” We can’t be good at everything. This task might be outside of your area of expertise. You should play to your strengths and let someone with more talent in this area handle these types of assignments. ”

Your colleague may have been trying to make you feel better, but she made you wonder, “How can I become better if I never try new things? Are all of our talents assigned to us from birth?”

There are two kinds of people in this world

    There are those who create the life they love, and those who feel that life happens to them. That seemingly small difference in perspective can have major impacts on the way that you live your life.[1]

    People who work to build the life that they want make choices to propel themselves forward. Those who let life happen to them assume a victim mentality that prevents them from getting ahead. Having the right mindset is the key to success.

    Thinking back to the scenario from the beginning, there are two ways you could view that feedback from the boss. If you have a growth mindset, you won’t take the feedback personally. You’ll use it to grow, and you’ll take the negative comments from your coworker with a grain of salt.

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    On the other hand, the colleague who seems to believe that some people are just more capable than others will have a harder time when facing criticism. That person is more likely to accept defeat, and feels that her destiny is out of her control. If given the same feedback, she would probably just throw in the towel.

    The difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset

    You may have intuitively picked up on the different types of people, but there’s actually some scholarship behind this as well. Carol S. Dweck developed mindset theory to explain how our perceptions about the world shape our reality.[2]

    Fixed mindsets can be detrimental to a person’s success

    A person with a fixed mindset avoids challenges, quits before they should, doesn’t think effort is valuable, and can’t take feedback.

    People with fixed mindsets can be successful, but they tend to reach their limits sooner than people with a growth mindset. They always fall short of their potential because they aren’t willing to go out on a limb. They’ll say and think things like, “I’ll never be that good,” or “I’m no good at that, so I’ll ask someone else to do it instead.” “I’ve never been able to do this, and nothing can make me better.”

    When someone with a fixed mindset is confronted with failure, they take it personally. They tie success so closely with their identity that it’s hard for them to hear constructive criticism. In their minds, “That could be better,” translates to, “You aren’t good enough.” They learn to be helpless, and it keeps them from achieving.[3]

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          Some think you’re born with it, and some know you work hard

          One of the key tenets of Dweck’s theory is that some people believe that they have inborn talents, while others know that you grow your skills.

          People with a growth mindset feel just the opposite. They know that they are always capable of learning new things. When you have a growth mindset, you don’t worry so much about failure because you know that making mistakes is a part of learning. You know that you can always change course or get more training.

          This is not to say that people with a growth mindset can’t feel the sting of failure. It just means that the failure doesn’t ultimately define them.

          Your experience shapes your mindset

          The development of fixed and growth mindsets starts at a young age. When a teacher says to a child, “You did well because you’re smart,” the child cannot own their success. It was not their effort, but their innate ability that got them ahead. This leads to a fixed mindset.[4]

          On the other hand, when a teacher says to a student, “You did so well on your project because you tried hard,” it has a different effect. The student attributes success to the amount of effort that they put into their work.

          How people with fixed mindsets can affect you?

          Being surrounded by the negativity of a fixed mindset can take its toll on you. You may have noticed one or more of these signs of a fixed mindset in your day-to-day interactions with others.

            When people believe that they just are the way they are, it makes them risk-averse. They avoid challenges because the cost of failure is too high.

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              People with fixed mindsets tend to be jealous when others get ahead in life because they feel that the other person was simply given more at birth.[5]

                When you’re stuck in your ways, the last thing you want is someone trying to change things for you. That’s why people with a fixed mindset often ignore advice. When they do take it to heart, it might hurt their feelings.

                  People with fixed mindsets don’t believe that you can get ahead by working hard. As a result, they may ridicule people who genuinely want to improve.[6]

                    Don’t get trapped by people with fixed mindsets

                    Dealing with people with fixed mindsets can be tough. In some cases, you can easily remove yourself from the situation. If your friend has a toxic, fixed mindset, you can choose to part ways with them. You can’t always cut people out of your life, though.

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                    Your coworkers, family members, and close friends may also possess fixed mindsets. You can’t necessarily fire your coworkers, and you may choose not to speak to your family, but many of us choose to love our families and friends in spite of their flawed thinking.

                    Sometimes you have to deal with the person who lacks a growth mindset. Here’s how:

                    1. When you argue with them, stick to the facts and avoid making your comment personal

                    They’re already going to take your suggestions personally. Securing your argument with facts keeps them more emotion-neutral. Avoid saying, “I think it’s better if…” You’re asserting your opinion and making it personal. Remove this sentence from your responses to keep them from getting offended. Control your emotions is crucial too. They may get frustrated when you try to offer advice. Don’t get emotional and fire back an angry retort. Say what you need to say, and then leave them to think. Give them time to digest what you’ve said. If they feel you’re right, this could alter how they think.

                    2. Stop trying to fix them. 

                    Since they have a fixed mindset, trying to change their mind won’t work. They only listen to themselves, so it’s better to offer them options secured with facts like what we stated above. You have to make it seem like it’s their idea, or it won’t work.

                    3. Keep your laser-like focus and keep track of your goal

                    Know what you need to do, and avoid being dragged down by their mindset. They may try to discourage you from doing something because they don’t believe that change is possible. You have a growth mindset, which means that you can see things in ways that they can’t. Keep track of your goals. Being surrounded by people who do not believe in the power of working hard can rob you of your motivation. Having your goals written will help you stick to them.

                    4. Surround yourself with people with a growth mindset.

                    Whenever possible, try to find others who share your belief in the power of learning and effort. Don’t worry about your group becoming narrow-minded. People with growth mindsets are naturally open to discussing topics and accepting criticism. You will continue to improve together.

                    They may have been raised with a fixed mindset, or they might have learned to be helpless in school. It’s up to you to recognize fixed mindsets and constantly strive for your own growth. Don’t give anyone the power to keep you from your dreams.

                    Reference

                    More by this author

                    Brian Lee

                    Chief of Product Management at Lifehack

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                    Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                    50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

                    50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

                    Let’s face it – no matter how excited you are about a new project or priority in your life, there will always be days when your motivation lags. Days when – despite all the progress you’ve made in the past – it just sounds easier to sit on the couch playing video games than to buckle down and crank out the work needed to meet your goals.

                    In order to be successful, you must be able to motivate yourself past these humps. Whenever you feel your drive and determination lagging, turn to these motivational quotes for work to provide the extra spark of passion needed to keep you on track.

                    Quotes about Goal Setting

                    Whether you’re still in the planning phases of your business or whether you’re plotting a plan of attack to bring about your long-range vision, setting good goals is a critical part of succeeding in business.

                    Check out these quotes for extra inspiration on how to turn your dreams into reality:

                    quote-Benjamin-E.-Mays-the-tragedy-in-life-doesnt-lie-in-106113

                      “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays


                      “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen


                      “Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues


                      “The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz

                      Quotes about Achieving Excellence in Work

                      Once you’ve got your goals together, you’ll need to put in 110% of your effort in order to transform these visions into reality. To increase your motivation to work at a consistently high level, take a look at the following words of wisdom:

                      “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle


                      “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”–Charles R. Swindoll

                      Desire is the key to motivation

                        “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti


                        “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”–Pearl Buck


                        “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi

                        Quotes about Determination and Persistence

                        Since every business or other endeavor is bound to hit some rough patches, it’s often a person’s level of determination and patience that brings about either success or failure. These positive quotes give you an extra boost of encouragement:

                        “Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”–Paul J. Meyer


                        “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”–Hal Borland


                        “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”–Calvin Coolidge

                        quote-Thomas-Fuller-an-invincible-determination-can-accomplish-almost-anything-92190

                          “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

                          Quotes about Leadership

                          Whether you use it to engage your employees, to encourage teamwork or motivate others to follow your unique way of thinking, leadership is crucial. Take your leadership cues from these renowned leaders’ famous sayings:

                          “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” –Warren G. Bennis


                          “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”–John Kenneth Galbraith

                          Leadership is not magnetic personality

                            “Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”–Peter F. Drucker


                            “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”–John Buchan


                            “High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.”–George Orwell

                            Quotes for Success

                            Think of success as a holistic process – one which results from the combination of goal-setting, excellence, patience, determination and leadership you prioritize throughout your career. These highly successful people provide you with an excellent source of motivation:

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                            “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”–Stephen Covey


                            “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale

                            Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

                              “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill


                              “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell


                              “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson


                              “The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”–Robert Collier


                              “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”–Arnold Toynbee

                              Sports Quotes for Athletes

                              You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan-caliber athlete to draw inspiration from the following quotes. Even if you’re just a recreational player or someone who’s using sports as a means to get back in shape after long periods of inactivity, the following motivational sports quotes will encourage you:

                              “My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”–Michael Jordan


                              “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”–Lance Armstrong

                              Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.

                                “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”–Arnold Schwarzenegger


                                “I know what I have to do, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I do it, I’ll come out a winner, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.”–Florence Griffith Joyner


                                “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”–Unknown


                                “If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!”–Emily Post


                                “We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”–Vince McConnell

                                Quotes to Motivate Learning

                                Committing yourself to pursuing knowledge in a single area is a tremendous endeavor – one that often seems overwhelming given the depth and breadth of information that’s available today. Keep the following motivational quotes in mind if you’re learning:

                                “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”–George Washington Carver

                                quote-William-Arthur-Ward-if-you-can-imagine-it-you-can-36189

                                  “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”–William Arthur Ward


                                  “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle


                                  “Success is not the key to happiness.Happiness is the key to success.If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”–Albert Schweitzer


                                  “Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.”–Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield


                                  “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”–Chinese Proverb


                                  “Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”–William Arthur Ward


                                  “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.”–Helen Exley


                                  “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”–Chinese Proverb

                                  All-Time Favorite Positive Quotes

                                  Finally, whatever your goals are in life, you can’t go wrong by taking the advice of the following famous motivational quotes:

                                  “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale


                                  “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”–Steve Jobs


                                  “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”–Maria Robinson


                                  “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”–Albert Einstein


                                  “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”–Lyndon Johnson

                                  If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

                                    “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”–Thomas Edison


                                    “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky


                                    “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”–Winston Churchill


                                    “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

                                    Final Thoughts

                                    To use these motivational quotes effectively, find the one that speaks to you. Although all of the phrases listed above can be considered “motivational,” only you can decide which one resonates with you most directly.

                                    Next, take the quote you’ve settled on and copy it onto small index cards or other pieces of paper that can be stored around your home and workspace.

                                    If you’re creative, you can create inspiration boards, signs or other decorative displays featuring your favorite motivational quotes – really, though, the most important thing is that your chosen phrase be accessible in a variety of different places. This will make it easy to access and review whenever you feel your motivation slipping away.

                                    More Inspiring Quotes

                                    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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