The most important messages we receive are the ones we send to ourselves. Many of us are filled with self-doubt and fear that makes it harder for us to create change or do anything different in our lives. We don’t believe we have what it takes to change so we tell ourselves; we can’t develop new eating habits, we aren’t strong enough for that exercise routine, we don’t have enough drive to start a new career, we don’t know enough to become the boss. All these thoughts swirling around in our head are debilitating to our growth as a person.
We then look to outside forces for motivations, such as an inspiring story or quote that will push us forward. Let’s stop for a minute and look at our reactions to those posts. What makes us use those as the catalyst that drives us? The truth is, when we see such examples, we start to believe we can do those things. We believe we are capable of so much more, so we try harder and that in itself, is the motivation. The belief we have in ourselves is the motivation and driving factor, not the quote or story.
This is called growth mindset. As an educator I have mostly encountered this in the classroom with my students, but I feel the general principles apply to life outside the classroom as well. A person with a growth mindset believes their abilities can be developed, a fixed mindset doesn’t have this belief. I don’t think anyone has ever walked into a new fitness class and knew how to do everything perfectly the first time out. It takes time for us to learn and grow. So why do we set ourselves up for failure immediately by thinking we can’t do something? This is the fear talking, which wants to protect us and help us save face. However, this doesn’t challenge us or help us grow in any way.
When we develop a growth mindset, we take on challenges. We know this will stretch us and teach us new things. Learning new habits or tasks lead to change in our lives, which leads to making improvements. This then encourages us to work harder to gain mastery. In order to be successful, the harder you work at something, the better you will be at it. Growth mindset teaches us to confront and correct our mistakes. We can become disappointed by poor performance, but we don’t dwell on it, instead we seek out knowledge or experts to help us fix it.
Having a growth mindset causes us to try more, chase our dreams, encourage ourselves, and send the message that we expect better of ourselves and believe we can achieve this. We aren’t afraid to go after what we want because we know with hard work and perseverance, we can accomplish our goals and dreams.
I didn’t have parents who told me I could be anything I wanted so it took me a really long time to learn this concept. Even now there are still days I fall back on negative self-talk, but there is something deep inside me that keeps pushing me forward. And that is growth mindset.
As you look over your new goals for the year, think about how you can cultivate more belief in yourself. Writing down your action steps is a great way to see new challenges you can tackle as you work hard on achieving all your dreams and goals you’ve set for yourself. Feel free to leave a comment sharing ways you cultivate growth mindset in your own life.