Notes on Motivational Mindsets – Be Good vs. Get Better

Motivational science has been around for a century, but after having been out of the spotlight for some time, the study of motivation has regained attention and is now at the center of the work of research psychologists such as Dr. Heidi Grant Halvorson.

I first became aware of Heidi via the Mentor Coach organization, which is rooted in the theories of Positive Psychology. I’ve been aware of Positive Psychology  since 2005, when I went with a friend to a Positive Psychology conference in Washington, DC to get a sense of whether or not I wanted to change careers and pursue a masters degree in counseling.

The short story is that I decided that I liked positive psychology but not the idea of becoming a therapist and dealing with dysfunction day in and day out. For anyone looking to change careers, I highly recommend attending an industry conference before you decide. You will figure out very quickly whether or not said profession is for you.

As most of you know, I recommend Heidi’s book Succeed: How We Can Reach Your Goals to everyone. So when I saw that she was offering a deep dive on the material at Mentor Coach in a class called Mastering Motivational Mindsets I signed up immediately. To anchor in the concepts, I’m going to be blogging about some of what I learn and outline as best I can the implications of mindsets on what I know you really care about, which is motivating yourself, your employees, and others.

The first module focused on what Heidi calls the “Be Good” vs. “Get Better” mindsets.

A mindset is a collection of thoughts, feelings and behaviors. Mindsets are like having on a pair of glasses with specific lenses. The construct of the lenses determine what you will pay attention to and how you will interpret what happens to you.

Mindsets also affect how you feel and what you will DO with that experience, as well as how you will cope with problems (i.e., in a good way or in a not good way).

Our mindsets also affect what we experience as motivating. In fact, to effectively motivate other people, you have to first figure out what their mindset is so you can SAY THE RIGHT THINGS.

NEWS FLASH (at least to me): The answer is NOT always to praise people. In fact, in some cases, praise can totally snuff out motivation. Who knew? But all the research indicates it’s true.

I can’t cover the material of four one hour classes in one blog post, so I’m going to break it up. Today I simply want to outline what Heidi means by “Be Good” vs. “Get Better.”

People who have a “Be Good” mindset see their goal as an opportunity to prove their ability or self worth. They want to show that they are “good.” Heidi says most people approach life this way, in that they assume they are always being evaluated.

People who have a “Get Better” mindset see goals as opportunities to develop their abilities.

While people with a “Be Good” mindset have a lot invested in already being smart, “Get Better” people aim to get smarter. (Heidi tells a great story about her shift in mindset from Be Good to Get Better when it came to parenting.)

In other words, “Be Good” is about being someone who ________. “Get Better” is about becoming someone who _________. Got it?

Okay, so this is where you go download Heidi’s book and read about Be Good/Get Better in more detail.

In my next post, I will outline what the consequences (hint: HUGE) of each mindset are.

I realize this is a departure from my normal marketing content. My thinking is that, as marketers, our jobs depend on our ability to deeply understand what motivates people and why. So we all can benefit from adopting a “Get Better” mindset when it comes to understanding ourselves and others.

Question: Do you operate primarily in “Be Good” mode or are you more of a “Get Better” kind of person?

 

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