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Pass the Puzzle and Other Mindset Hacks

Pass the Puzzle and Other Mindset Hacks

(Aymanejed / pixabay)

If you’ve decided to become a freelance copywriter, you’ve already done something pretty amazing. You’ve shown that you’re willing to take risks and learn and improve. Not everybody is that brave or driven. So pat yourself on the back.

But even still, you probably have those times when the fear creeps in—when you stay up at night fretting about the sales letter that isn’t coming together, and you wonder if you have the stuff to make it in this business after all. Or you’re on the verge of making a cold call, and you just keep thinking that if you only had this or that experience under your belt, you’d be a lot more convincing. If you can relate to this, let’s talk jigsaw puzzles.

Fixed vs. Growth Mindset: A Tale of Two Puzzlers

In her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,” Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck talks about an experiment with kids and puzzles that offers some really important wisdom for anyone who has struggled with fear of personal inadequacies.

Dweck and her colleagues got a bunch of 4-year-olds together to do jigsaw puzzles. Then, she gave them a choice: they could do the same easy jigsaw puzzle again or try an even harder one. The group that decided to stick with the familiar puzzle was drawn in by the guarantee of continuing success. Another “win” would further validate that they were darn good at jigsaw puzzles. These kids had a fixed mindset.

The second group thought the question was weird to begin with. Why do the same thing when you’ve already proven you can do it? Growth was so important to them that they were willing to risk failure in order to achieve it. These kids had a growth mindset—and that, Dweck, argues, is one of the biggest indicators of success and happiness in life.

If you have a fixed mindset, you assume that your character, intelligence and abilities are inborn and static. Your priority is validating how smart or skilled you are. You avoid things that will threaten your standing. A growth mindset, however, believes that smarts and attributes can be cultivated throughout life. The priority here is finding every way possible to learn and grow and improve. For people with a growth mindset, failures aren’t setbacks; they’re opportunities to grow your current abilities.

Opting for Growth

Fortunately, even if your mindset is more fixed than growth-oriented, there are plenty of ways to adjust your way of thinking.

Instead of saying, “I’m going to come off as a rookie in this interview,” say, “I’ve done my homework, I’m a hard worker, and I’m a go-getter. This is going to great.” Rather than giving in to those anxious feelings, flip the script and make them work to your advantage.

The next time you start fretting about failure or rejection, I want you to be the 4-year-old asking for another puzzle. You can sink into feelings of inadequacy or imposter syndrome, or you can leverage the new challenge for your benefit. A growth mindset can get rid of the irrational fears and turn life into one big, fulfilling adventure.


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