Without question, one of the most impactful decisions you can make to improve your personal and professional life is to adopt a mindset of growth. In this article, we’ll explore what a growth mindset is and how you can adopt one in your everyday life.
Whether you want to be an entrepreneur, become the best at your job, or improve your relationship with your significant other; you can’t possibly succeed in the long run without the right mindset.
Unfortunately, many of us, myself often included, instead choose to view life as an endless fountain of obstacles that we can’t overcome.
We make excuses as to why we can’t be the person we want to be. We blame education, the government, our family and friends. We blame lack of time, resources, and doubt our ability.
And in doing so we make ourselves powerless. We forget that every situation is an opportunity to grow.
The reality is, life is hard. I don’t mean that in a negative or condescending sense. I literally mean, life is filled with problems, setbacks, and just bad luck. It’s filled with pain, sorrow, and loneliness.
But life is also filled with many joys, many triumphs, and and an abundance of opportunities to grow.
That’s not to say you can never feel angry or complain. That’s not to say you’ll always feel on the top of the world. Quite the opposite actually.
Adopting a growth mindset won’t make your life easier, but it will make your life more bearable. It will allow you to grow stronger from each and every time you feel like giving up. It’s not a quick fix, by any stretch of the imagination, but arming yourself with the best tools and mindset available, will equip you for the best chance at long term success and happiness.
So how can you adopt the mindset of growth? Let’s take a look.
Start From Where You Are
Whenever we try to grow or improve any area of our life, we have a tendency to compare ourselves with people who’ve “made it.”
You want to lose some extra weight so you search “skinny” or “six-pack” on Instagram.
You want to quit your job so you fantasize over the entrepreneur on the cover of INC who is ‘certainly’ an overnight success.
You want to travel the world, so you think that by starting a blog you’ll be able to accomplish what it took others decades to do.
I see it time and time again — including in my own life.
But when we project our future we are inherently setting ourselves up for failure. When we compare our starting point to the thousands of others who have “found” success, we are being unrealistic and in turn creating expectations that are impossible to meet.
This obsession with comparing ourselves to the best has a cost. There’s certainly nothing wrong with being inspired by people who are doing awesome things. In fact, part of the growth mindset means consciously surrounding yourself with ambitious and uplifting individuals.
But too often we self sabotage ourselves by believing we have to hit nothing but home runs, when a single could change our life.
Starting from where you are means you accept the fact that you won’t be perfect when you start. You won’t necessarily be able to quit your job overnight. You’ll make mistakes. You might not get the promotion next month, but if you put in the work now you’ll eventually get to where you want to go.
Being ambitious is a noble trait, but don’t let the obsession with success prevent you from taking the first step. No matter what you’re trying to accomplish you must first start from where you are.
Be honest with where you are today. Only then can you climb the ranks of greatness. Small steps today become miles tomorrow.
View Life As An Experiment
In most academic settings today, we’re taught to view life and success in black and white. This paper was great so you get an A. This project wasn’t very good so you get a D.
We carry that mentality into our own personal lives.
You didn’t get the job you wanted… so you’re a failure! You asked that girl out.. And she said no! Single forever.
We have been taught to avoid failure at all costs. We are led to believe that failure makes us less of men, less of women.
The problem with this line of thinking is that by avoiding failure we avoid opportunities for personal growth.
If we choose to view life as an experiment however, we empower ourselves to march through our setbacks and become stronger for it.
After being rejected for a job, you no longer feel inadequate. You assess the situation, figure out where you can improve, and know that the next interview will be even better.
After getting turned down for a date, you brush it off, and begin working to improve yourself.
After gaining a few extra pounds over the holidays, you look at your diet and make a few small tweaks.
Experiments are empowering. Because failure cannot exist when looking through an experiment lens.
Failure is feedback. Success is feedback.
And with feedback there’s nothing you can’t do.
Embrace The Suck
We all suffer from some degree of perfectionism. It’s natural to want to create and ship the best. But when we let our desire to be perfect delay the boat from shipping, the captain never makes the route.
Whether you’re starting a new job, exploring a hobby, or launching your own business, you must embrace the suck.
When I started this blog in highschool, I literally had no idea what I was doing. I just knew I had to write. After a quick few Google searches, I stumbled upon WordPress. I did some research and then bought my domain.
I started. And it was hard.
Many times, I felt like giving up. Who am I to talk about how to live life? Who is going to listen to what I have to say? But as I continued on, I knew that over time I would get better.
My writing would get better. My communication would improve. I knew that by showing up and putting in the work good things would happen, and it turns out they did.
The suck isn’t fun. It’s not pretty. There will be plenty of doubts and times you feel like giving up. Even with the right attitude, you’ll often be pushed to the edge.
This is to be expected.
Your first time speaking in public might be filled with ums and uhs.
Your first project proposal might be met with dozens of your colleagues rolling their eyes.
Your first product launch might fail to sell a single product.
While most give up at the first smell of adversity, those who adopt the growth mindset know that the beginning is always just a test.
Your next time speaking you finish with one less um.
Your next proposal attracts the support of a few of your favorite coworkers.
Your next product launch blows past any and all expectations.
You can’t find greatness by sitting on the sidelines, you find greatness by embracing the suck.
Find Growth Magnets
The people you surround yourself with matters. It’s been written about time and time again. If you surround yourself with people who look for the worst, your vision will be tainted with the same line of sight.
The opposite is also true. If you surround yourself with people who attract and welcome growth, you’ll eventually see an abundance of opportunities.
Negativity and pessimism has unfortunately embedded itself into the daily lives of most of us.
We see it in that one family member or friend constantly nagging out the economy. The coworker who finds yet another reason to hate the boss. The endless amount of depressing stories on the front page of the news.
It’s a constant battle. And yet… It’s unrealistic and naive to expect the world to be ridden of all the bad. After all it’s very unlikely you’ll be able to move to the mountains and be one with nature. But don’t use that as an excuse as to why you can’t start taking control of your own life. You start by focusing on the things you can control.
Instead of watching the news, read an inspiring book.
Instead of flipping through the TV, listen to a chapter of your favorite author.
Instead of reading the latest click bait article that makes your bed boil, meditate for ten minutes.
Instead of hanging around with your friend that always complains, go to coffee with the girl who inspires you.
If you surround yourself with people who view growth as something positive, you’ll also start to see opportunities in the world. One of the reasons I started the A Boundless World podcast, is because I love talking with otherwise ordinary people doing some remarkable things. Without fail every time I end an interview I can’t help but feel uplifted. So I start to write. I start to build I start to ship.
Growth magnets are anything that improve your life even just slightly. These small choices add up.
Guard your mind and body from the constant barrage of why you can’t. And find the people and habits that tell you, you can.
Find Your Invisible Scripts
Ever since I was a little kid, I’ve always been inclined towards the more creative pursuits, writing, poetry etc. And as I grew older I began developing the idea that I would never be good at math. That I just didn’t “get it.” And it’s little surprise to know that I struggled in every math class all the way through college.
Of course, I was perfectly capable of learning math. It may not have been my favorite subject, but there was nothing stopping me from learning it like the rest of my peers. Because I self identified as someone who would “never” get math, it came true.
I learned the concept of Invisible Scripts by Ramit Sethi of I Will Teach You To Be Rich and have since been on a quest to find and conquer all that I can.
One of Ramit’s invisible scripts growing up was that he would always be a “skinny Indian” and could never gain weight. It wasn’t until he started to examine how silly that was that he was able to put on weight and significant muscle.
We are held back by invisible scripts that we are often to afraid to face. We often use these scripts as excuses to not do the work.
Sure, you may not be physically or mentally capable to become a rocket scientist over night, but most of what you desire is well within reach.
Think or some of the excuses you’ve used for yourself over the last few months. I know for me, there were plenty…
“I can’t learn a new language because I’m old and I’ll never be able to have a true conversation!”
“I can’t write well because I never took a formal writing class.”
“My family has a history of being overweight, so I can’t lose weight.”
“Why will anyone listen to me? I didn’t go to an amazing college.”
Finding your invisible scripts won’t happen all at once. It takes a significant amount of time and effort, and you’ll always struggle with various barriers in your life.
But overtime you’ll slowly begin to see some of the scripts that have been holding you hostage for many years and learn to face them directly.
What areas of your life are being held back because of belief that you haven’t recently tested?
Adopting A Mindset of Growth
Be wary of the teachers, blogs, and podcasts telling you that life is always meant to be easy. That certainly hasn’t been my experience and I’m guessing not yours.
How you choose to view the world is one of the few things in life you can actually control.
You’ll still have setbacks. You’ll still want to scream. You’ll still have days where all you do is eat ice cream and watch Netflix.
Success will still take many years, if not decades to forge.
But consider the alternative. Consider continuing to view life as an endless amount impossible obstacles.
With a mindset of growth, you know setbacks are just temporary . You know that with the laws of momentum and consistency on your side, you’ll eventually begin to shape the foundation that will last the test of time.
Choose the path of growth and you’ll be rewarded with a much richer and fuller life.