Have you ever noticed how some people just seem to skate right through their academic career while others seem to struggle endlessly? For some of us, academics just don’t seem to come as easily as it does to others. Or does it? Is it possible that intelligence is not necessarily left to the gene pool and there is something you can do about it?
The area of intelligence is measured in several ways – by the academic tests you take, by the grades you receive, and sometimes by a standardized test or an intelligence quotient test. As many people grew up, they adopted the beliefs of the adults around them; believing such things as “he is not as smart as his older brother,” or “she is not as academically inclined, but has musical talent.”
The idea or notion that you can only be either creative or academic is another potential “story” that you may have heard as a youngster. Maybe your big brother got the smart gene, and you got the creative gene. Decades ago, that explanation would suffice. Today, however, we know more and we know better.
In the world of personal development, it is known that your thoughts create your reality. When it comes to success in all areas of your life, there is a new knowledge. That knowledge is that mindset matters. If you can create a reality based on your thoughts, then you can create a life that is successful in all compartments of your life from intelligence to creativity based on the work you do with your mindset.
Changing Your Mind
When it comes to mindsets, there are two kinds – a fixed mindset and a growth mindset. Changing your mind may be viewed as a negative; however, such is not the case. Changing your mind does not mean:
* You cannot make up your mind
* You are indecisive
* You are out of integrity and don’t do what you say you will
* You are flighty
* You are unintelligent
Changing your mind, if you will, can assist you in creating a new life. You can change your mind in a positive way.
What Does Changing Your Mind Mean?
In the world of intelligence, learning, and academics, it means to have a new understanding. That understanding highlights an important psychological factor. When you take on something new, your brain records this new learning endeavor came about because you have expanded yourself, worked hard and learned something new. There is now a new connection for your brain to recall, which, over time, can actually make you smarter.
You have exercised your brain away from the thought that intelligence is static and that it is a growth process. The more you learn, the more you exercise your brain, the more you grow; therefore, the more you are capable of learning.
In the world of the everyday, have you ever noticed how one negative thing in your early morning routine (such as losing your car keys or spilling your coffee) has the power to set the tone of the entire rest of your day? Does your day continue to spiral downward into a negative cyclone of mishaps and misfortunes the more you focus on that one thing which started your day off poorly?
The next time that happens, take a moment to change your mind. It takes a challenge and plenty of practice, but it is so worth every minute of effort. Exercise your brain. Just like anything else, practice makes perfection. Take a moment to recognize that you are not the only one that things like this happen to. Hundreds of thousands of people around the globe have lost their car keys and spilled their coffee. They just don’t let it ruin the rest of their day. Moreover, they don’t let it rule the rest of their day.
Change your mind. Maybe you needed to run late this particular day because you were going to meet your next big client or the love of your life on the train that day. Perhaps you needed to avoid a big accident. Change your mind and change your life.
The same goes for learning new things. With a growth mindset, you can train your brain to view learning new subjects as a positive experience rather than a negative one.
How to Change Your Mind in Order to Change Your Life
Take a Look at Your Own Points of View
Take some time to evaluate your own points of view. Don’t hold back; be completely honest with yourself. Do you have a more negative outlook on life? Do you even get annoyed in the company of others who take on a more positive attitude? Are you so set in your ways, you are unwilling to explore, learn, and re-create your life?
If, you’ve answered yes to any of these pertinent questions, then there is one more question to ask. Do you wish to take responsibility for using your mindset and do the work to create the most growth you could ever have imagined or hoped for in all areas of your life? Once you have examined your views and thought patterns and beliefs in total honesty, you are ready to move on to the next step.
* Is a challenge simply an excuse to quit?
* Is a roadblock a way to host a pity party?
* Do you procrastinate in order to turn away from perfectionism?
* When someone else experiences success, do you feel less than?
* Do you view a challenge as something fearful?
Are You Willing to be Open to Something New?
What if you could take a good hard look at those questions and re-create them to show up as positives? Are you willing to be open to explore new possibilities? Transformation is yours if you are willing to do the work and walk the walk. With practice, any new way of being becomes a habit. It’s your choice whether you want to have a habit of positive growth or negative decline.
Let’s look at how this could potentially work.
A Challenge is a Form of Growth and not an Excuse to Quit
When faced with a challenge, it is easy to spend time and energy focusing on the challenge itself. The thoughts you think, such as it being too hard or why does this happen to me (also known as “woe is me” syndrome) can easily distract your energy from the task at hand. What would happen if you viewed your challenge as a way to grow and expand?
What if that new responsibility led to more money, a higher position, or a transfer with a promotion? This is how to view your situation from a growth mindset point of view.
Is a Roadblock a Chance to Host a Pity Party?
If you have a deep subconscious belief that “everything bad” happens to you, then the chances are high that you invite roadblocks into your life. Sometimes it’s easier to host a pity party than to come up with creative and intelligent resources to solve the problem at hand. What would happen if you viewed a roadblock as an opportunity to use your creativity go around it or under it?
In a growth mindset, this is what you would take on – viewing a roadblock as a way to stretch, grow, and improve rather than something to feel sorry for yourself about and an excuse to quit.
Do You Use Procrastination as a Way to Avoid Perfectionism?
Does the thought of not being good enough haunt you, so you procrastinate? What would happen if you were to approach a project or a challenge as an opportunity to expand your horizons or to re-create yourself as a master at the task at hand? A growth mindset will offer you the opportunity to change your perception, face the task head-on, and take it on with all the vim and vigor you could ever desire.
When Someone Else Experiences Success, Do You Feel Less Than?
If someone else experiences success, you have a choice. Either you can be happy for them and inspired by them, making you want to strive higher, or you can feel resentful or jealous. Many people choose to allow the success of others make them feel bad about themselves. However, it does not have to be that way.
Individuals with a growth mindset hold the belief that intelligence can be learned and developed and it is not just for the elite few. It is available to anyone with a desire to improve. The brain is trainable.
Do You View a Challenge as Fearful?
When faced with a challenge do you become overwhelmed and debilitated by fear or do you grasp on tight and face it head on? Your mindset will determine how you handle a challenge and ultimately what the outcome of that challenge will be, as well.
People with a growth mindset know that a challenge is way of doing things differently, thinking smarter and working harder.
Focus on the Process and not on the Praise
As a parent, are you tempted to praise your child for every success both big and small? If you look at a new way of fostering a growth mindset, you will discover that praising the process is more effective. When your child figures something out and does a job well done, encourage and praise how, when and where they figured it out rather than the end goal itself. This encourages learning and growing and teaches children how to come up with creative and intelligent solutions rather than focusing only on the end goal.
Using Constructive Criticism
Criticism of any kind is thought of in a fixed mindset way, as though it is negative. However, constructive criticism offers a new model and method of teaching by showing what doesn’t work and questioning what will work. By offering constructive criticism, it gives them the opportunity to figure out how to fix something in a positive light.
Steps to Developing a Growth Mindset
* Work Hard
* Face Setbacks
In a fixed mindset point of view, you will want to learn as much as you can for the sake of looking good. Being intelligent means that you look good and others will be impressed by your intelligence. However, on the other hand, a growth mindset, will curiously and intriguingly inquire, ask questions, and want to learn more.
With a growth mindset, you will want to learn and will be focused on learning rather than perfecting the grade. A fixed mindset might view the A as the end of learning; that the ultimate goal has been reached. A growth mindset has no problem taking on more learning in exchange for the perfect grade.
In a fixed mindset, it is easy to fall into the trap of believing that if you have to work hard, you are not actually smart. A growth mindset will highlight that hard work and effort equate being the best you can be at something. A growth mindset will re-train your brain to connect to the thought process that hard work and lots of effort will equate to success. The more hard work you do, the more effort you put into something, the more success you’ll attain.
The Ability to Face Setbacks
In a fixed mindset, you might view a setback as an easy way to make an excuse, run the other way, or blame someone or something else. In a growth mindset, you will view a setback as a way to work harder, to spend more time studying, or to take on more organized skills and practices. For example, you may not be so inclined to procrastinate and cram if you get a poor grade rather than simply blaming it on not being as smart as everyone else or a good student.
Now that you see a few differences between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset, you will understand that having a growth mindset is an achievable goal. If you want to opt in for a growth mindset, remember some important tips:
* Work hard
* Remember to take on perseverance even in struggle
* Take on tasks that are more difficult so that you can re-train your brain to succeed
* Keep your mind set on learning new things and continuing to do so in an effort to re-set your brain
* Highlight what strategies for learning worked for you
* Be honest about what strategies for learning did not work for you.
If you are an adult, that’s great news. You can take on this advice and these practices and work hard to create a growth mindset. If you are a parent or a teacher, that’s even better. You get the opportunity to help grow and shape a child’s mind.
What would your child’s future look like if you encouraged them to work hard rather than using a label? What if working hard was rewarding and fun and your child wanted to do more and more over the course of his/her life?
Think about the possibilities. Learning can be fun and rewarding. As an adult, your child can have a greater earning potential, a possibly better lifestyle and also go on to teach their children the difference between a fixed mindset and a growth mindset.
With a growth mindset, the possibilities are unlimited.