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Two sides to every person

I have two sides to my personality. And I've seen the same two sides in nearly everyone I've come across. Each has own their own ratio of how often one of these sides dominates over the other, which defines their overall personality. Even organizations, societies, religions, countries are designed to encourage these two sides of personalities in a certain ratio.

The first side is that of a fixed mentality. This is the state of mind in which we take a lot of things as a given and are always looking to explain everything that happens around us and everything that we do in accordance with what we believe is fixed. And what we believe is fixed can be anything from 'I'm good at math', 'I care about staying fit' to 'I'm the kind of person who doesn't put results over relationships', 'Nobody expects me to do this kind of a thing', 'This is out of my reach'. This is the proverbial box which we almost never venture out of.

The other side is that of a growth mentality. This is the state of mind in which we are willing to question underlying assumptions, willing to listen to opinions that are contradictory to our own, willing to be objective, open to looking at things from the perspective of others, willing to connect without terms and expectations. This is the state of mind which allows for a growth of ideas.

Neither is good or bad at an individual level, because if we're in a society full of people who have a higher ratio of fixed mentality, then it serves us well to have a fixed mentality. And if we're in a society dominated by people with a growth mentality, then it serves us well to have a growth mentality. Likewise, in organizations. But a society or an organization progresses when it encourages behaviour arising out of a growth mentality. Compare liberal societies and companies that let you do the things you wish and experiment freely until you discover the best way to do something to those that are driven by stringent rules and regulations with little room for non-compliance and you will know where innovation is likely to happen.

At a personal level, in a society dominated by fixed mentality, we are always afraid of making mistakes and are constantly trying to do things that please others and fit in (which I find myself guilty of a good number of times). This sets up the events that happen around us with the context of 'me'. As we're constantly trying to figure out the impact of the events on us, our social status and societal acceptance. However, in a society dominated by growth mentality, we are less afraid and more open to experiences. And wider the variety of our experiences, the broader is our world perspective.

If you know which side you wish to lean on, pick your social circle accordingly. Else, you let your social circle decide your bend of mind.

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