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Your Simple (Yes, Simple) Guide to Having a Growth Mindset

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Have you ever wondered why you can barely draw a stick figure but you have a friend that can paint a Picasso? Or your other friend can spit out movie quotes, while you are still trying to remember the movie? Or some people can solve math problems quickly in their head while you are using a calculator?

We all grew up in school thinking that we were either smart or not. We were either good at school or we weren’t. And there wasn’t much we could do about it either way. Sure you could study harder but it would never be that “natural” smart like some people just have.

The area of intelligence is measured in several ways – by the academic tests you take, by the grades you receive, and sometimes by a standardized test or an intelligence quotient test. As many people grew up, they adopted these beliefs that people around them would say “he is not as smart as his older brother,” or “she is not as academically inclined, but has musical talent.” 

The idea or notion that you can only be either creative or academic is another potential “story” that you may have heard as a youngster. Maybe your big brother got the smart gene, and you got the creative gene. Decades ago that would be the case and people would believe these things but now a days we know better.

In the world of personal development, it is known that your thoughts create your reality. When it comes to success in all areas of your life, there is a new knowledge.

A knowledge that we can change our mind. That we can believe what we want about ourselves and our lives. We can believe we are creative people and we can create. We can believe that we are intelligent people and we will seek out ways to become more intelligent.

Changing Your Mind

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When it comes to mindsets, there are two kinds – a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Sometimes people think that if you change your mind then this is a bad thing. But I believe that changing your mind is a good thing.

Changing your mind does not mean:

  • You cannot make up your mind
  • You are indecisive
  • You don’t do the things you say you are going to do
  • You’re head is in the clouds
  • You are not smart

Changing your mind can assist you in creating a new life. You can change your mind in a positive way. You can create a life that you want.

What Does Changing Your Mind Mean?

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In a world where everything is based on test scores and intelligence tests changing your mind means to have a new understanding. When you take on something new, your brain records this new learning. There is now a new connection in your brain connected to this new learning. Your brain can now recall this new connection and overtime it can actually make you smarter.

The more your learn the more you are exercising your brain. I tell my students all the time they have to work their brain muscle just like they do any other muscle in their body. If you want your muscles to become big and strong you have to exercise them. Same goes for your brain.

The more you learn, the more you exercise your brain, the more you grow; therefore, the more you are capable of learning. 

Have you ever noticed how one bad thing in the morning can set the tone for your whole day (such as losing your car keys or spilling your coffee)? Does your day continue to get worse with more and more bad things happening? Maybe this happens because you are so focused on that one thing that happened in the morning.

The next time that happens, take a moment to change your mind. It takes a challenge and plenty of practice, but it is so worth every minute of effort. Exercise your brain. Just like anything else, practice makes good habits.

Take a moment to realize that you are not the only one that things like this happen to. Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have lost their car keys and spilled their coffee. They just don’t let it ruin the rest of their day. Really, they don’t let it rule the rest of their day. 

Change your mind. Maybe you needed to run late this particular day because you were going to meet your next big client or the love of your life on the train that day. Perhaps you needed to avoid a big accident. Change your mind and change your life.

The same goes for learning new things. With a growth mindset, you can train your brain to view learning new things as a positive experience rather than a negative one. 

How to Change Your Mind in Order to Change Your Life

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Take a Look at Your Own Points of View 

Take some time to evaluate your own points of view. Now don’t hold back here; be completely honest with yourself (I know it’s hard but sometimes you just gotta do it).

Do you have a more negative (pessimistic) outlook on life? Do you find yourself annoyed with people because they are so positive all the time? Are you so set in your ways, you are unwilling to learn, and re-create your life?

If, you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, then there is one more question to ask. Are you ready to take responsibility of your mind and teach it how to learn and grow and so you can become a more positive person?

Are You Willing to be Open to Something New?

Are you willing to be open to explore new possibilities? Transformation is yours if you are willing to do the work. You must walk the walk if you are going to talk the talk. With practice, any new way of being becomes a habit. It’s your choice whether you want to have a habit of positive growth or remain a “negative Nancy.”

Let’s look at how this could potentially work.

A Challenge is a Form of Growth and not an Excuse to Quit

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When faced with a challenge, it is easy to spend time and energy focusing on the challenge itself. You could be thinking that this challenge is too hard and you do not even want to try it so you quit. Sometime we are faced with challenges that make us ask “why does this happen to me?” (also known as “woe is me” syndrome).

These thoughts can easily distract your energy from the task at hand. What would happen if you viewed your challenge as a way to grow and expand? 

What if that new responsibility led to more money, a higher position, or a transfer with a promotion? This is how to view your situation from a growth mindset point of view. 

Is a Roadblock a Chance to Host a Pity Party?

If deep down, you truly believe that “everything bad” happens to you, then the chances are high that you invite roadblocks into your life. Sometimes it’s easier to host a pity party than to come up with a creative and intelligent way to get around the roadblock. What would happen if you viewed this challenge as an opportunity to use your skills and resources to go around the problem in front of you?

In a growth mindset, this is what you would do – view a roadblock as a way to stretch, grow, and improve rather than something to feel sorry for yourself about and an excuse to quit. 

Do You Use Procrastination as a Way to Avoid Perfectionism?

Does the thought of not being good enough haunt you, so you procrastinate? What would happen if you were to approach a project or a challenge as an opportunity rather than a burden?

A growth mindset will offer you the chance to change your perception, face the task head-on. Have you ever heard the saying, “Eat the Frog?” Well it’s about facing our challenges and taking control over the procrastination.

Procrastination is just another roadblock or a bad habit that can stand in our way of our happy life.  So Eat that Frog!

When Someone Else Experiences Success, Do You Feel Less Than?

If someone else experiences success, you have a choice. Either you can be happy for them and inspired by them, making you want to work harder.

Or you can feel resentful or jealous. Many people choose to allow the success of others to make them feel bad about themselves. However, it does not have to be that way. 

People with a growth mindset believe that intelligence can be learned and developed and it is not just for the ones with the highest of I.Q.s. It is available to anyone with a willingness to improve. Remember the brain is trainable, we just have to exercise it.

Do You View a Challenge as Fearful?

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When faced with a challenge do you become overwhelmed and frozen by fear or do you hold on tight and face it head on? Your mindset will determine how you handle a challenge and ultimately what the outcome of that challenge will be. 

People with a growth mindset know that a challenge is way of doing things differently, thinking smarter and working harder. 

Focus on the Process and not on the Perfect Result

As a parent or a teacher, are you tempted to praise your children for every single thing they do, both big and small? Focus not on the end result, but on the process that they took to complete the task.

When your child figures something out and does a job well done, encourage and praise their process. This fosters the learning and growing process and teaches children how to come up with creative and intelligent solutions. This will show them that there is usually more than one path to solving a problem and to never give up on the process.

This can apply to us, adults as well. Thinking about when we complete a task or overcome a challenge. Yes, give yourself a pat on the back for your accomplishment but the real growth happened in the process of getting to that end result.

Use Constructive Criticism

Criticism of any kind is thought of in a fixed mindset way, as though it is negative. However, constructive criticism offers a new model and method of teaching by showing what doesn’t work and questioning what will work.

This also goes back to looking at the process as a period of growth. By receiving constructive criticism, it gives you the opportunity to figure out how to fix something in a positive light. 

Steps to Developing a Growth Mindset

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In a fixed mindset point of view, you might think you cannot learn any more and you know all there is to know on a specific topic. You will be less inclined to want to learn anything and possibly just give up if you think you do not know the answer.

However, on the other hand, a growth mindset, will be curious and inquire about, ask questions, and want to learn more. 

With a growth mindset, you will want to learn and will be focused on learning rather than just the perfect end result. A fixed mindset might view the result as the end of learning; that the goal has been reached and no other understanding needs to be done. A growth mindset has no problem taking on more learning in exchange for getting better at doing something.

Hard Work

In a fixed mindset, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that if you have to work hard, you are not actually smart. A growth mindset will highlight that hard work and effort are equal to being the best you can be at something.

A growth mindset will re-train your brain to connect to the thought process that hard work and lots of effort are equal to success. The harder work you do, the more effort you put into something, the more success you’ll attain. Again, exercising that brain.

The Ability to Face Setbacks

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In a fixed mindset, you might view a setback as an easy way to make an excuse, run the other way, or blame someone or something else. In a growth mindset, you will view a setback as a way to work harder, to spend more time studying, or to take on more organized skills and practices.

For example, you may not be so inclined to procrastinate and cram if you get a poor grade rather than simply blaming it on not being as smart as everyone else or a good student.

Now that you see a few differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, you know that having a growth mindset is an achievable goal. If you want to change your mind to have a growth mindset, remember some important tips:

  • Work hard
  • Remember to take on perseverance even in struggle (grit)
  • Take on tasks that are more difficult so that you can re-train your brain to succeed
  • Keep your mind set on learning new things and continuing to do so in an effort to re-set your brain
  • Highlight what strategies for learning worked for you
  • Be honest about what strategies for learning did not work for you.

You can take on this advice and these practices and work hard to create a growth mindset. If you are a parent or a teacher, you get the opportunity to help grow and shape a child’s mind using these ideas and beliefs.

What would your child’s future look like if you encouraged them to work hard rather than using a label to say they aren’t smart or creative enough? What if working hard was rewarding and fun and your child wanted to do more and more over the course of his/her life?

Think about the possibilities. Learning can be fun and rewarding. Even as adults we know that when we work hard we get rewarded. You can have a better lifestyle just by training our brains and knowing the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.

Click here to get a FREE seven day Growth Mindset Journal. Use this journal to jumpstart your growth mindset journey.

We want to be happy and live our best life. So we must flex our brain muscle and get training.

With a growth mindset, the possibilities are endless.

Let me know in the comments if you have a growth or fixed mindset. What are some ways you can change your thinking?

As, always thanks for stopping by and stay safe out there!

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