The mindset one possesses or their attitude in life is the primary determinant of the type of life they lead. If a person is pessimistic and has a closed mindset, they will be viewing the world as a dark place that provides no reasons to continue living. Whereas on the other hand, an optimistic person with a growth mindset, sees opportunities to grow in every walk of their life; no matter how challenging their life might get, they shall always find a way out for they are able to see the solution in every problem that they face.

Attitude is a product of the experiences one has in their lives; positive experiences leading to formation of positive attitudes towards a place, person, object, and/or event and vice-versa. Even though attitudes can be modified at any point of life, it is easier to mold during the early phases of an individual as their neurons are fresh, and thus, their minds are more receptive and malleable. Hence, the experiences an individual has during their childhood, play a critical role in the process of their attitude formation. If the child receives healthy nurturing in the form of loving parents, quality education, supportive peers, and good mentorship, the mind of the child shall be capable of fostering a growth mindset, and the child shall grow into someone who is trusting, caring, optimistic, confident, and capable of solving and overcoming various problems or hurdles that might come their way. While on the other hand, if the child is neglected and not shown how to lead a healthy life, he/she shall most likely develop a closed mindset; viewing the world as a dark place where they do not belong; cold, distant, afraid, and distrusting.

Since a child spends majority of their time in a day at school, educational institutions play a major role in shaping the attitudes and ideologies of the child. It becomes the responsibility of the teachers (who a child usually considers to be the biggest role model) to exemplify growth mindset for the child to learn from and follow. As a child develops a growth mindset, he/she begins to have a positive attitude towards elements essential for a student, like education, educational institutions, teachers/professors, learning, etc. Thus, as the career ladder progresses and the journey becomes more difficult, the student shall be able to cope better and learn better since they had developed a positive attitude during their childhood.

As the child matures into an adult who is ready to get employed and step out of the student life, he/she ceases to enjoy the protective cocoon in which they were living till now. Out in the world, they are on their own and their lives are in their own hands. This is when one begins to realize the fruit of their attitude towards life; if they have a positive attitude, the world around them shall seem to be positive, supportive, and full of opportunities, while if they have a negative attitude, they shall always feel targeted, deprived, and at the receiving end of injustice. Thus, the attitude they developed towards various aspects of life during their formative years, starts impacting their personal and professional life; especially their professional life. The decisions that they make at every waking step of their life is guided consciously and unconsciously by the attitude they hold towards the object and subject of their concerned decision. And these decisions, in turn, determine what their future holds for them, and since they are solely responsible for their decisions, they are accountable for whether they have positive or negative future awaiting them.

As an adult, it is still possible to work on one’s attitude and bring forth changes as and when required, but it is no longer simple and easy as it is during childhood, for as an adult, the neurons are mature and the mind is full of experiences they have gathered over the years. Thus, unlike a child, who forms attitudes, an adult has to modify their existing attitudes. Hence, it is essential for the caretakers in the life of the child (parents, guardians, teachers, mentors, etc.) to ensure that the child develops a positive attitude towards life (especially towards aspects that would play a vital role in their adult life), and towards self (in the form of self-esteem). This will enable the child to grow up with a growth mindset; a frame of mind that sees possibilities and opportunities in every experience they encounter in their journey of life.

About the Author:

Amaresh Nath is a trained counselling psychologist. Currently an assistant professor (HR) at Pune Institute of Management (Pune), and pursuing my PhD from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (Mumbai). His interests vary from mental health to education to poetry to photography to travelling and to many other diverse areas. His primary objective in life is to use skills and to empower people and spread happiness, while his vision is to simplify education and healthcare for all.