Do you believe that you can achieve your big goals?
Or do you think those results are only reserved for people who have certain skills and abilities?
A lot of people have a fixed mindset. Which unfortunately holds them back from going after what they truly want and prevents happiness.
An individual with a fixed mindset typically:
- Avoids challenges
- Gives up easily
- Believes intelligence and talent are predetermined
- Feel threatened by others’ success
- Don’t bother to improve
- Stick to what they know
- Settle even if they’re unhappy
Carol Dweck defines a growth mindset as follows: “People believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”
As you can imagine, you can achieve WAY more with a growth mindset.
With a growth mindset
You are not stuck in life and you have the ability to completely change your situation. It starts with opening your mind up to even believing that. Otherwise, you won’t even try.
Eliminating a fixed mindset removes the limitations you put on yourself.
Below are 14 ways to develop a growth mindset, to get you closer to who you truly want to be:
There will be many obstacles and problems in your life. And the more you try to improve yourself or go after big goals, the more you will face.
These obstacles and problems are more fun to look at as challenges.
Challenges come in many forms. There is self-doubt, setbacks, time constraints, inconveniences, failure, etc.
Embracing a challenge means you accept it, and overcome it. You can learn to appreciate them because they are making you stronger, wiser, and more resilient.
On the other hand, you could allow challenges to stop you. If you give up as soon as a hurdle appears, you won’t get very far.
Life challenges shape who you are.
See failure as progress
I mentioned above that failure is a form of a challenge.
When you experience failure, it feels far worse than anything else. We all know what it feels like to be excited or confident about something, only to fail in the end. It sucks.
However, failure IS progress. Failure is the best tool for learning and guidance.
I am a scientist by day, so failure is very familiar to me. My experiments fail all the time. It’s frustrating, but I just try again and/or adjust as necessary. I do this until I find what works.
Same goes for everything else in life. Failure doesn’t need to be this big, scary, dramatic situation.
Instead, see it as a lesson to improve even more.
Why Failure is Essential for Success
Give it your best
In the book, The Four Agreements, one of the agreements is “Always Do Your Best.” However, he emphasizes something that has really impacted me:
“But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good.”
This serves as a great reminder for those of us that are tough on ourselves.
Some days you may feel really tired or unmotivated. That’s OK. Give your best in that moment, even if it means you don’t accomplish everything you set out to.
But to be clear, this isn’t an excuse to be lazy all the time. TRULY give your best. Be honest with yourself about what you can really do, and build the discipline to follow through.
Go move your body at the gym even though you’re unmotivated. Go be productive even if you feel tired. Go cook a healthy meal even if you’re sad.
Refuse to give up
When things get tough do you quit or keep going?
What about when your goals are taking longer than expected?
If you really want something in life, whether that be weight loss, a happy marriage, or a business, then you can’t give up!
Persistence is so important to success, but most people don’t remain patient.
Trust me, patience is hard for me to. However, I know what I want in my life. I refuse to give up on these aspirations of mine.
My goals are definitely taking longer than expected even though I’ve worked so hard at them, but I would rather keep going than quit any day.
Something that keeps me inspired is the phrase “Three Feet From Gold.” I think this to myself often. I first saw this in Napoleon Hill’s book, Think and Grow Rich. The story he shares demonstrates what is possible if you just don’t give up.
You may also be familiar with the image below. This isn’t about competition though. This is only about you and your goals.
You never know how close you are, don’t give up!
Be open to learning
You can’t expect to grow your mindset without learning!
Be open to learning intellectually as well as emotionally and socially. Be curious about all things and don’t just say, “I know.” Be humble in the fact that you don’t know it all.
There are brilliant people out in the world with knowledge of all sorts of things. Be open to listening and learning in order to improve yourself.
Listening to other people’s perspectives and experiences may help you to better understand different situations.
It’s also important to be open to critique. Sometimes it can suck to hear, but it can help you tremendously.
Ask the right questions
With a growth mindset you should be asking questions such as:
Can I do better?
How can I make this work?
What do I need to adjust?
How can I improve?
What can I learn from this?
These questions open you up to more opportunities and success, simply because you are forcing your mind to find the answers.
Compare that to questions such as why me? Or what if I fail? Or Why is it so hard?
Those put you into a negative state and a scarcity mindset.
You may be familiar with this idea from the book Rich Dad, Poor Dad.
His rich dad didn’t allow the words, “I can’t afford it.” He instead required his children to ask, “How can I afford that?”
Words and thoughts are powerful.
So this can be applied to all areas. Instead of saying, “I can’t do that” when trying to start a business, lose weight, or learn a new skill, you should ask, “What small steps can I take to start?” “How can I learn how to do this?”
Recognize your weaknesses
We all have strengths and weaknesses. Often times you’ll hear that you should focus on your strengths and build on them. However, I don’t think your weaknesses should be neglected.
Recognizing your weaknesses is humbling. Sometimes it’s hard to admit we’re not good at something, but when you do you become more vulnerable and real.
If you’re not sure what your weaknesses are, start paying attention to the things you avoid.
Maybe you avoid speaking up in meetings or volunteering to present. Your weakness may be public speaking or confidence.
Or if you avoid planning things out/creating a schedule, your weakness may be time management.
When you recognize your weaknesses you’re opening up an opportunity to grow.
Just because it’s your weakness and you don’t like doing it, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t!
It’s important to work on them and get stronger in those areas. It’s a challenge that your brain won’t like, but if you push through that discomfort you’re likely going to supercharge your personal growth and discipline.
Focus on effort not the end result
Focusing on the process is a hard one. I know how much you want to achieve that goal. But you’ll get there faster by focusing on the effort you put in.
If you focus on the process that means you have to take a lot of small steps to get to the top of the mountain.
Thinking of the end result can lead to either distraction from what needs to be done NOW. Or will cause you to give up because it seems too difficult to achieve.
For example, if you want to lose weight, don’t pay attention to the scale. Instead, focus on your everyday habits. Focus on the types of food you’re consuming, the workouts you’re doing, and how much water you’re drinking.
The small steps that lead to the end result are way more important.
Always ask yourself, “What step(s) can I take today to reach my goal?”
Self-compassion means you are kind and gentle to yourself.
We all do things that we aren’t proud of, but beating yourself up about it won’t help.
There are some days where I write a long to-do list and then I end up not completing it. This leads to me feeling disappointed in myself. However, I have had to learn to take it easier on myself. I pay attention to the things I did accomplish and tell myself I did my best for today.
The relationship you have with yourself is the most important of all. You should be your biggest supporter.
You are not perfect, self-compassion allows you to understand that so that you can learn and improve even more.
See life as a journey
Life is weird.
We had a 400 trillion to 1 chance of even becoming who we are, we have all sorts of relationships, we work at all these jobs, and we’re all just trying to live our best lives before our time is up.
Many of us have big goals we want to achieve in life, which is amazing, but what happens once we reach those goals? What’s next?
If you instead look at life as a journey, you’ll enjoy it more.
It makes things more fun.
Your journey is going to have lots of ups and downs. You’re going to face challenges that you will learn to overcome. You get to choose which path you take. Down one path or the other there will be unexpected events, there will be beautiful views, there will be ditches, bugs, and rain.
Every day of your life is a part of your journey, even if you’re just sitting on the couch.
You wouldn’t be who you are today without everything (good and bad) that has happened thus far. You are a unique individual and that is so amazing in itself. This journey is yours to experience.
See others as inspiration not competition
There are lots of people out there doing/being exactly what you want. The mistake many people make is being envious of them and/or seeing them as competition.
It can be challenging, but use them as inspiration instead.
What are they doing that has allowed them to achieve that? Use that to inspire the direction you want to take in life.
The truth is that once you start improving yourself and your life, not many people are going to support you. Some people may see you as intimidating or as competition. Some may be jealous. But your own ability to celebrate others’ success is important.
Seeing others as competition puts you into a scarcity mindset. It’s as if you’re thinking there is not enough success to go around. That’s simply not true.
It’s going to take some practice, but use people as inspiration and support them in the process.
For example, my life coach (Natalie Bacon) blogs about the same thing I do. She creates courses in personal development and money. We’ve both been writing about these things for years. She is competition in my niche and she also has experienced more success than I have.
However, I don’t see her as competition, but
Believe in yourself
Self-doubt is all too common. It’s kind of scary too.
You put all these thoughts in your head that limit what you can accomplish, which hinders your mind and actions.
If you go to the comment section of my post, How to Manage It All…you can easily spot the people who have a fixed mindset and doubt themselves.
Here is one comment:
“Now we just need one for those of us with kids and pets in jobs and lives that are totally unpredictable from one day to the next where you are at rock bottom and have no support and then we can all benefit.”
Keep in mind, my post has nothing to do with any of those things. I simply shared how I manage to juggle all the things I do in my life. I created my life, just like you created yours.
This woman chose to create kids, pets, an unpredictable job, and thinking she’s at rock bottom. In her eyes, she is stuck.
The person who left this comment chose to play victim and searched for any reason possible to make the situation I wrote about not work.
If instead she believed in herself, she would be determined to find a way to work for her life.
You’ve got to believe you can make shit happen. YOU should be your biggest supporter.
Self-doubt is always going to creep in, but don’t let it hold you back from going after what you want most.
Look for ways to improve
Never stop improving.
It’s no secret that my favorite thing in life is personal development. I love that we can keep getting better and better in all areas of life.
There are so many ways to improve.
Read books, clean up your diet, learn new skills, meditate, etc.
The possibilities are endless and you can create a truly remarkable life by constantly improving.
One of the two most important words are “I am.” Because what follows usually dictates if you have a fixed or growth mindset.
Another set of powerful words are “I can’t.”
I am a failure
I can’t do it
You’ve got to become aware of this negative self talk.
I used to say “I’m broke,” when it came to buying things. Now I NEVER say that. I don’t say, “I can’t afford that” or anything of that nature, not even jokingly.
I don’t need that negativity in my life when it comes to money.
Instead, I say things such as, “I prefer not to spend my money on that right now” or “I’m saving money for X.”
This goes for all things.
Being optimistic is always a better choice. Positive self-talk has the ability to change your life and helps get you to where you want to be.
Human minds naturally gravitate toward negativity, but practice switching those to positive thoughts. I have gotten so good at this.
My worst thoughts come to me when I first wake up and I’m super tired.
I start thinking things like, “I don’t want to wake up yet,” “I’m so tired,” “I don’t want to go to work,” etc. I used to stay in this dark cloud the whole time I would get ready in the morning. But now when I wake up I switch to gratitude.
I say thank you for waking up. I feel grateful that I even have a job. I remind myself that I’m just tired, it’s no big deal.
It is a serious game-changer.
You can’t have a growth mindset without gratitude. Both lead to happiness and fulfillment.
Even in the challenges and bad parts of life, search for something to be grateful for.
Every day write down at least 3 things you are grateful for. I suggest doing this upon rising or right before bed. If you can enter a state of gratitude before starting your day or before bed, you are more likely to feel the impact.
I also like to think of things I’m grateful for when I start to feel negativity.
It’s such a simple practice, but we truly have so much to be grateful for. You can change your life just by being grateful, nothing needs to be added or removed, it’s that powerful.