If you are a regular reader of this website, you probably already have what the psychologists call a growth-mindset. Lucky for you, this belief system happens to be the cornerstone of success in about anything. All the great inventors, entrepreneurs, conquerors or visionaries of this world had that particular paradigm.
But it’s not because you have a growth-mindset for certain things that this paradigm covers all aspect of your life!
Developing a growth-mindset is something that you should apply to everything you deal with in your life.
When I was a kid, and then teenager, I was very small, skinny and weak, and frankly it sucked. I was pretty powerless in front of bullies who kicked dirt in my face simply because of my lack of physical strength. In my late teenage years, this situation had become even worse when it started to impact my game with girls. As you can imagine, when the girl is as physically strong as you are, your chances of pulling her are pretty thin.
So, I started strength training / bodybuilding. In my bodybuilding journey, I have probably read all the books, magazines, articles available on the subject. It took many years, a lot of work, discipline, persistence and understanding to be successful. With time, it became a hobby and then a passion.
But what I’ve got from that journey is far more than just a strong, healthy and well defined body; I have learned and developed my own recipe and mindset for success.
I used that same system to develop my mind and a number of other very valuable skills. At the heart of that success-system is the growth-mindset.
Growth-mindset vs Fixed-mindset
To better understand what a growth-mindset really is, let’s compare it to what would be its opposite.
You believe intelligence can be developed, that the brain can grow and strengthen like a muscle can be trained.
You believe that difficulties and challenges will allow you to come out stronger and that they are part of the learning process.
You believe that effort, practice, discipline and determination are necessary to master useful skills and knowledge.
You believe that you can learn from failure, criticism and negative feedback, and you do not take them personally.
You believe that others’ success are opportunities to learn and use them as sources of inspiration.
You like to hang out with greater minds than you because you can learn from them!
You believe that the magic happens during the learning process.
You believe you are like anybody else. You cannot really become smarter; you can only create the illusion that you’re smarter.
You believe that difficulties in life must be avoided because you know your limits and you couldn’t change them anyway.
You believe that it is smart to avoid unnecessary and unpleasant efforts and that mastery is reserved only for some special lucky individuals.
You believe that failures are bad and that you should avoid them at all costs. Criticism is nothing more than an insult that brings you no value.
You believe that others’ success makes you look bad; their success was due to luck anyway.
You like to hang out with people of less value because you look better compared to them!
You don’t care much about the process; what counts are the results that you can achieve.
This simple difference in perspective on how intelligence and the brain work create a desire for learning and self-improvement that end up creating a positive feedback loop that is bound to bring you success.
The more you learn, the better you get at learning. The smarter you get, the easier it gets to become smarter!
It has a synergistic effect!
At the opposite end, the fixed-minded person’s evolution stagnates a few years after the end of school, once he learns how to do his job. Now, he knows it all, the end.
The evolution of the mind for each of those paradigms would look a little bit like this.
Neuroscience proves that brain is very malleable, more you challenge your learning, creative or any other cognitive capabilities, the more connections are made (Synaptic plasticity) and the more neurons will grow as a result. (Neurogenesis).
Thus, it is important to develop a stronger and smarter mind that leads you to master the necessary skills for your success.
Develop your growth-mindset
There is nothing complicated in this; growth-mindset is just a set of believes on which you base your actions. Observe you’re self-talk and spot the aspect of your life were you have a fixed-mindset. When you realize that you are talking to yourself, reformat your self-talk for growth, and then repeat it a couple of times to anchor it.
I cannot do this, I don’t have the necessary skills!
Oops! Let’s change this for:
I cannot do this now, because I don’t have the necessary skills yet!
Reframing your self-talk into a growth-mindset style will help make the switch and establish the new pattern of your life. A pattern of recurring success.
Also, start a list, on your computer or Smartphone, about the things you need to learn for your evolution. Each time you’re not good enough to do something, put it on your “To Learn And Develop List”.
Of course, the list will grow very fast and you might not have the time to do it all. But this is irrelevant; what is important here is the process, the process of writing down the skills that you would like to develop on that list.
The reason why this is such a crucial step is because this will force you to think and act within the growth-mindset paradigm, that, in turn, will reinforce your whole personality a little every time.
One trap that could box us into a fixed-mindset, and everyone should be aware of, is to believe that we are smarter, that we know everything and that we have already reached the top. In another words, no need to learn more about this or that anymore because we already know it all!
You can easily avoid this trap by believing that even if you would be the greatest master of all time in a particular area, which is most likely not the case, there would always be more room to learn because the contexts and applications are constantly changing. It is simply impossible to know it all; there are always new connections to be made.
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