The mind is a powerful tool. But are we as evolved beings, taking care of our awareness? The mindsets adopted into daily routines has an exponential effect. Thoughts can either prevent change or allow new skills to blossom. The majority of the public is not taught how to develop a growth mindset. Many are encouraged to have a fixed mindset. Beliefs that are limited to thoughts like “I’ve never been good with numbers, so why should I try? I’m not going to get any better”. A fixed mindset believes one is either good or bad at something based on their inherent nature. As this mindset become a part of a personality, responses and actions match. Believing you’re not going to get better at math, will be the outcome. The truth is a mindset about particular issues tends to calcify and stagnate as we get older. Luckily, it’s never too late to recognize, change, and overcome.
The first step in developing a positive outlook begins with thoughts. With a growth-oriented perspective; levels of intelligence, skill, and success are implemented with the capacity to grow. One of the biggest differences in a fixed vs growth mindset is how an individual handles life’s inevitable setback. A fixed mindset will lead to avoid challenges. Setbacks and challenges are difficult to face. Acknowledging the feeling of unhappiness and quitting are choices you’re making is a great place to start in developing an improved mindset. We are all capable of making positive changes, no matter how great the task. So, it’s a good thing that people who adopt a growth mindset thrive on challenges.
You’re ready to progress into a mindset that works for you, not against. Great, first let’s understand the anatomy of the brain and how a mindset can affect reality. Saying a phrase, “Great job on that test! You must be so smart!” may sound good and harmless, but it can actually have a negative affect and create a fixed mindset. Choosing an alternative approach like “Great job on that test! You must have worked really hard!”. Placing emphasis on the work it took to achieve the goal creates a healthy belief he/she can continue improving through hard work. Having an understanding of neuroplasticity is an important aspect. Basically, with focus and practice, the brain can change. It will grow new cells and strengthen neurologic pathways. You can literally change the way you think on a microcellular level.
The best ways to begin changing your mindset is through:
- Acknowledging and accepting our imperfections- We all have our flaws, peculiarities, and weirdness—it’s what makes us unique. Embrace and cherish those attributes.
- Face challenges as opportunities- When life presents each of us with challenges, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and want to give up. Take a breath and reframe the perspective. Think about what the challenge is trying to teach you, take it as an opportunity to become better- even if the journey is tough. You’ll come out on the other side a better person.
- Replace negative thoughts- be aware of when a judgmental thought passes and replace it with one of acceptance. Replace hate with compassion. Think higher thoughts and hold yourself to those standards you’re creating for yourself.
- STOP seeking approval from others- this is a huge one. Cultivate self-acceptance and approval. At the end of the day, you are the only person who can make you happy. Not others, no matter how pure their intentions are. How can you give happiness to others if you’re not happy with yourself first?
- Value the process over the end results- it’s the journey in life that actually matters, not the destination.
- “Not yet” is OK. When struggling with a task, remind yourself that you just haven’t mastered it “yet.” Time, practice, and a lot of patience will lead to improvement.
Choosing to put in the work to build a growth mindset, can make your mental processes work for you. There is greater likelihood the results you’re looking for and live the life you want to live will come. If you don’t know what that looks like yet, that’s okay. Take time to find your authentic self and do what makes you happy