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, author of the book Succeed: How We Can Reach Our Goals. The following are notes from class one of her 8-week master class at Mentor Coach called Mastering Motivational Mindsets.

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.

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