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Grow Your Mindset

In my blog on emotional baggage, I discuss how you can be weighed down by constant negative thoughts due to unresolved past issues. This constant lugging around of emotional baggage can keep us in a fixed mindset which limits our development and growth.

Original Source: | Copyright: Photo by Fakurian Design on Unsplash

Our opportunity (note the deliberate use of opportunity not challenge!) is to develop a growth mindset enabling you to: - learn from criticism, - see challenges as developmental opportunities, - find lessons and inspiration from the success of others, - persist in the face of setbacks, and - see effort as the path to mastery.

We all have our emotional baggage. The key is developing stronger muscles, knowing when “the things we’ve packed” along our life journey, have no relevance to our future journeys, and how to unpack, repack and leave behind those items that weigh us down. View my YouTube channel on how decide what to keep and what to let go of!

Change your mindset A fixed mindset limits your potential keeping you in a constant belief that your intelligence, experiences and past is fixed and nothing you can do about it.

The opposite is a growth mindset whereby you view your entire journey as one that can be improved through effort and learning. The outcome is embracing challenges, working through obstacles, valuing effort, learning from criticism, and finding inspiration. Failure can be a painful experience but with a growth mindset, you realise that failure doesn’t define you. You will view it as a problem that needs to be faced, dealt with, and learned from.

Johan X Maxwell wrote, “Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.” He didn’t say sometimes you win, sometimes you lose! Remember that the suitcases you are dragging along your journey do not have to define your future. You can leave them all behind! When we travel we pack deliberately: beachwear for a summer vacation, hiking shoes, and as little as possible for a trail, so why do we feel we need to pack our entire ‘emotional cupboard’ daily?

The growth mindset was coined by Dr Britt Andreatta and Carol Dweck. In a study of university students, they divided the group in two. Both groups did a test of 10 questions, divided into Part A (5 questions) and Part B (5 questions).

Group 1 was told that after Part A, their results will be compared to the class average. They then had the chance to improve by doing part B, again being compared to the class average. The result? Minimal improvement.

Group 2 was told that after Part A, they will have the chance to improve by doing part B and their results will be compared to themselves. The result? Significant improvement.

What can we learn from this study? Group 1 = Represents the fixed mindset: avoiding mistakes at all costs, remaining stuck in old ways of doing things, and seeing change as a major threat. It refers to the “useless” emotional baggage holding us back.

Group 2 = Represents a growth mindset: seeing mistakes as valuable opportunities to learn, making us eager to innovate, and welcoming the challenge of change. This represents the new suitcase we deliberately pack with learnings from the past, and the resilience we have developed, without the emotional baggage.

The central message is clear: compare yourself to yourself with the mindset of finding opportunities for growth and improvement. If you constantly compare yourself to others, you will always need to prove your worth or compensate for your guilt or perceived weaknesses.

How to develop a growth mindset 1. Realise your brain is not static. Come to understand that you are made for growing and learning and by challenging yourself, you will in fact make yourself smarter.

2. Silence your negative inner voice. I unpack this internal enemy in my blog which criticises so many aspects of our lives, holding us back and the ability to believe that ‘I can do this if I keep on practicing’.

3. Reward the process. Rewarding the outcome will not encourage a growth mindset. Instead focus on the process, the journey, and the effort you are applying towards your progress.

4. Attitude trumps all. Effort is important but more so your attitude towards how you perceive your ability to learn something new and how you view failure as part of that learning process.

5. View challenges as opportunities. We will always be faced with difficult circumstances but instead of viewing these as obstacles or setbacks rather focus on the opportunities they present. The greater the challenge, the greater the opportunity for growth.

6. Leave your comfort zone! Nothing great comes from comfort zones. Be brave and face those hard options which will foster enormous growth.

7. Failure is part of discovery. Whilst learning and trying something new the occasional failures are not setbacks but rather opportunities for positive reinforcement.

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