How To Reach a Growth Mindset
There are people out there who view work as a necessary evil to make it to Saturday and Sunday. Chances are, you’ve felt like this at some point in your career, or you know the type. If you are not aware of this, below are the some of the characteristics that these individuals hold:
The person who dreads their 9 to 5, but deals with it to rack up 14 to 21 vacation days every year. Their after 5 p.m. routine consists of one or all of the following, in this order: the gym, happy hour, or go home and watch countless hours of mindless t.v.
Their Monday through Thursday look exactly the same, as do their Friday’s and Saturday’s. Their Sunday’s consist of the endless-mimosa brunches or waking up at 9 a.m. to watch football until 9 p.m., while habitually glued to their laptops to see how they are doing against their buddies in their fantasy world of football.
They make a decent living, but they will never have true freedom, nor do they thrive for it. Even worse - they do not believe true freedom is meant for them.
Having a positive impact in the world consists of volunteering at a food kitchen or donating to a friends ‘Walk for Aids’ campaign, about once a year.
Mental stimulation comes every Sunday night while watching an episode of Game of Thrones, or perhaps it comes from reading a listicle on the 7 Ways to be Successful. Here is what every listicle says about being successful: stop complaining, set goals, surround yourself with good people, work out, sleep early, read more, and eat healthy. There. If you missed the article, I just summed it up for you.
This list can very well be expanded, however, by now I presume that you understand my point. For this type of person whom we are describing, mental stimulation is almost a non-existent necessity. Existence is not questioned too often-if-at-all. Their life sort of.., just is.
If you asked this person what matters most to them, what do you suppose they would say? If you are one of these people, what would you say? I certainly do not know the answer - maybe ‘family’ would qualify as a competent one.
For this type of a person, living a truly meaningful and extraordinary life is almost something they feel isn’t attainable. So much so that they don’t really even question it. The thought of even living outside of their comfort zone to pursue a more purpose-driven and fulfilled life is overwhelming.
At this point, many can come to the rescue with the all-too-common argument that ignorance is truly bliss. At the end of the day, if you don’t really believe nor think about a better existence - one filled with thought-provoking conversations, fulfilling work, and meaningful interactions - then you don’t have to worry about anything, because quite simply you don’t even know any better.
Why strive for an extraordinary life, when living the one described gets the job done and meets the most basic of needs, right?
To live an extraordinary life, one with a plethora of freedoms: money, time, work, etc. - you have to first think extraordinary. To even begin thinking of a living an awe-inspired life, one must first reach a particular level of self-awareness or an epiphany of sorts. To reach this level of self-awareness, you have to, at some point or another, fear living a life of mediocrity, and fear wasting your life away. This isn’t to say that everyone is ignorant to this type of thinking - but more that they can live a life better than their current.
Once an awareness of a certain magnitude is reached, the next logical step is to figure out a way to take action. Which is where, nine times out of ten, the buck stops. Action is where the elite top 5% excels and the rest of the world sort of let’s them. Some of the most accomplished entrepreneurs and leaders of our time have revealed that they are more afraid of not doing anything of significance with their lives, than trying to take action and fail.
Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
We can make a safe assumption that it comes down to a mindset. The vast majority operate with fixed mindset while the minor few operate on a growth mindset. There are countless studies that tie having a fixed mindset to self-perception. These studies indicate a direct correlation between how you are wired to perceive yourself and how that influences your actions, and in most cases, your inactions.
Before moving forward. I should make one thing very clear. This article isn’t meant to put you down because you’re not a millionaire or an entrepreneur, or that working for someone else is the worst thing you could ever do. This article is to get you to ask yourself if you’re living life with a purpose or find meaning in what you do. To tell you that you owe it to yourself and your loved ones to push yourself to be the best version of you that you can be. To take risks. To live outside of your comfort zone. To go out there and get what you want. No one will ever stop you from getting what you want if you set out there and do it.
This then begs the question - if one does reach the level of self-awareness needed to make a drastic change away from the fixed to the growth mindset, what would come next?
Anyone who ever decided that they are going to take action after becoming growingly weakened by living with a mindset of mediocrity, first and foremost had to forgive themselves. They had to let go of what is bending them and not dwell on what could have been. What could have been is a make-believe place that you can spend as long as you want to in. The problem is, the longer you spend there, the further you’re able to reach the undeniably real place called the present. The present is where dreams can turn into reality. The present is where there is no room for sadness or anxiety. The present is the absolute place for action.
Once the past is forgiven, the second best choice you can make is to make a firm commitment to yourself. A commitment to rid yourself of time wasters such as toxic relationships, pointless drama, mindless t.v. watching, judgement, criticism, self-doubt, whining and complaining.
You must make a commitment to taking one step at a time to rebuilding your life and making it exceedingly amazing. A growth mindset truly refers to finding ways to grow spiritually, physically, financially and mentally. It’s accepting that there is a lot out there that you don’t know that you don’t know. It’s slightly scary but more than anything it’s exciting. This is the exactly place where mental stimulation can and ultimately will kick in.
At this point is what when you need to start reaching out and connecting with the doers of the world. The people who are out there actually doing all the things you originally felt were not ever for you. The more you surround yourself with purpose-driven people the easier it will be to accept that you too can be like them.
Everyone has the same 24 hours in the day. Everyone puts their pants on one-leg at a time. Start by ideating on the areas of your life you’d like to start growing in, then look for ways to get in front of people who can ultimately become friends or mentors. There are all sorts of options: mastermind groups, meetup groups, and countless conferences. Don’t be afraid to attend any single one of these things alone. People do it all the time.
What goes hand-in-hand with all of this is developing a deep trust, not only in yourself, but also in life. You have to trust that although the short-term looks bleak, the long-term plan and road will manifest itself. You have to trust in yourself. You have to trust the people you will interact with. You have to become open to new relationships coming in and out of your life.
Changing your life around and pursuing a more meaningful path is vague. There are millions of ways to do this. So as you’re figuring it out, give yourself permission to fail and make mistakes. Each time you make a mistake, the easiest way to move forward is knowing that there is a lesson to be learned, a lesson that will ultimately become beneficial to you as you continue toward your new purpose.
Treat yourself well in this journey. Nurture good thoughts. As lame it might sound, love yourself and allow your authentic self to come out. The more good care you take of your mind, body and soul, the more of that you will attract into your life. As you start developing your purpose and finding more and more meaning in the things you are pursuing, the world will mirror that. You will soon realize that spending time with good people is equally is important as spending time alone. Going out in nature for a few mins a day or once a week will become increasingly essential so that you can hear your own inner voice as it continues to guide you to your true purpose.
Disciplining your mind to staying in the present will become such a refreshing feeling. Once you realize that the mind is 90% pointless chatter, unwarranted fears, and perceived regrets, you will find that there is no place like the present. Where none of that exists. Staying in the present will empower you to dissolve all of the things that cause to be unhappy and life will begin to flow with ease. You’ll start understand that life is not throwing problems your way, rather challenges that continue to help you progress into a better person, not bitter. That’s how powerful the power of the present is.
Begin to find work that aligns with your purpose. This doesn’t mean that you will need to quit your job. In fact, the fastest way to make positive change is to figure out how to make your existing work more meaningful. It may be as simple as asking your boss to allow you to pursue projects within your company that add more value. Start taking courses on the side if you feel like you’re interested in wanting to learn a new skill. If you’re interested in generating more income, look for ways to leverage your existing skills and applying them to small projects on the side such as consulting or teaching.
The central take away here is that in order to bring a level of positive change into your life, you’re going to have to start living differently. There is no way around that. It’s uncommon to take on change and setting new habits; especially because you will not begin reaping the benefits immediately. It will take time.
Have patience, trust life and trust yourself. Living a fulfilled and purpose-driven life isn’t hard, it only takes a few tweaks. What is hard, however, is reaching that level of awareness where you realize that you’ve been living with a mediocre mindset. I get it, no one likes to ever admit that. But if you can drop the ego and pick up the growth mindset, it’s only a matter of time before you see how beautiful life can be for yourself.