As we continue to face challenges and uncertainty entering this new year, here’s a framework that can remind us to be intentional about the mindset we’re choosing in response to our circumstances. Embracing a “learner” mindset makes all the difference!
In her book, “Change Your Questions, Change Your Life,” Marilee Adams offers a tool, The Learner-Judger Mindset Model, that can be incredibly useful to help us determine what basic mindset we’re operating from. At any moment we’re all faced with two basic “mindsets” to choose from: Judger or Learner. Choosing our mindset is one of the most significant choices we make as we move through life. The two options lead to very different results.
Characteristics of the Judger Mindset
- Judgmental (of self and others)
- Places blame
- Either/or thinking
- More statements and opinions
- Possibilities seen as limited
- Primary mood: protective
- Win-lose relationships
- Sense of being separate
Characteristics of the Learner Mindset
- Accepting (of self and others)
- Takes responsibility
- Both/and thinking
- More questions and curiosity
- Possibilities seen as unlimited
- Primary mood: curious
- Win-win relationships
- Sense of being connected
Here are some examples of questions asked from each mindset:
- What’s wrong?
- Whose fault is it?
- How can I stay in control?
- Why is this a failure?
- How could I lose?
- How could I get hurt?
- Why can’t you get it right?
- What’s right?
- What am I responsible for?
- What are my choices?
- What’s good or useful about this?
- What can I/we learn from this?
- What possibilities does this open up?
- How can we stay on track?
By being aware of our mindset in the moment, by being an open-minded observer of ourselves, we have the possibility of choosing. And in choosing, we open up the possibility of shaping our results to be closer to what we really want. Judger and Learner are both part of being human. We will always be a blend of both parts, moving from one to the other as we navigate through our lives.
The bottom-line: Accept Judger, Practice Learner.