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Growing your mindset

In my previous blog post, I spoke about yokes and a growth mindset. We’ve dealt with yokes, and now we’re looking ahead at the vast myriad of possibilities we have in front of us this year! Bring on 2021!! Woohoo!!

“Ah but Covid,” you say.

Now now, Eeyore… we will lift our heads shortly, but first perhaps we need to look inside our heads – at what kind of mindset we have. Take the story of Tchiki Davis, for instance.

“Only 10 years ago, I stood behind an old brown cash register at a local retail store, sliding customers’ purchases across a crisscross red scanner for $7.25 an hour (minimum wage at the time). If you had told me then that 10 years later I’d have a Ph.D. from Berkeley, write a blog for Psychology Today, or be the author of a book on how to generate happiness in the technology age, I would have thought you were absolutely bonkers! I had no connections, no money, no information on how to get me from where I was then to where I am now. But I did have one thing … I had a growth mindset.”

Tchiki Davis, Psychology Today

She cites Carol Dweck, a Growth Mindset campaigner and psychologist, who maintains: “The hand you are dealt is just the starting point for development.”

To briefly sum up the findings: Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts).

For me, I like the idea that I’m not stuck as I am. And I also like the idea that you are not stuck as you are. A growth mindset can be developed, even if you’re stuck in a fixed one. Davis outlines 15 points in her blog article, but for the purposes of this blog and the RCB, I’ve picked what’s relevant. Here are three pertinent focal points for me at this stage.

  1. Challenges: also known as opportunities. It’s all in how you frame the situation.

For me, lockdown brought about the startling realisation of: “Is this it? If the world ends, is this all I did with my life?” I had a few hours of despair and darkness, and then did what all wise men before me have done… I spoke with my wife.

“Let’s just do it! Let’s just go on an adventure!” she said. And I wholeheartedly agreed.

So now, I look at life through the lens that everything is an opportunity. For example: looking ahead into this year or beyond, I’d like to pursue a masters or even a PhD in psychology and music. A fixed mindset says: “I’m stuck working and can’t pursue full-time studies”. A growth mindset says: “I can carve out time in the week to start brainstorming journal and thesis ideas!”

Do I have to be enrolled at a university to write? Of course not! So I’m getting a head start!

2. Words matter: both the ones you verbalise and the ones that float in your head. Pay attention to them – both words spoken and words that are thoughts. Doom and gloom words and thinking might very well lead you there in reality. Rather, replace negative thoughts with more positive ones to build a growth mindset. Listen to good lyrics in music. Watch and hear uplifting videos and podcasts.

“Replace judgment with acceptance, hate with compassion. If you are disrespecting yourself or lowering your ethical standards, the outcome of your decisions and their consequences will reflect that. Intend to think higher thoughts and hold yourself to it.”

3. Be More Authentic. I love Kevin Max’s lyric: “Be yourself, there’s no-one who does it quite like you.” It takes time to become our authentic selves, I think. But once we do, the drive to pursue our life’s purpose becomes pretty darn potent.

So what do these points mean in light of The Great Deep and other endeavours? Basically, it means it’s possible. So bit by bit, I am hoping to extend productivity and see where it leads. I’ve started it here on my Patreon page.

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