Do you remember the last time you faced a challenge in your life? What mindset were you in as you navigated it?
Maybe you missed a deadline, maybe you received a rejection letter from the publisher you applied to, or maybe you felt regretful after missing a great opportunity.
I’m going to tell you a story, and as you’re reading, I want you to keep that challenge in the back of your mind.
This is the story of a 5-year-old boy named Andy.
Every day at school, Andy enjoyed playing games like musical chairs and he excelled at counting. He was always the first to raise his hand, always wore a smile, and always participated. Until it was time to do arts and crafts…
Andy struggled to handle scissors and fold his paper like the other children. With a heavy heart, he slouched in his seat.
“I can’t do it,” he sighed.
Despite receiving help from his teacher, he kept his arms crossed over his chest.
“I can’t do it,” he repeated. His mind was made up.
Now I bet you’re thinking, just keep trying, Andy! You CAN do it!
But I want you to recall that moment when you faced a challenge in your own life. Did you encourage yourself with a simple reminder that you CAN get through it, or did you respond similar to Andy?
Did you choose to view the challenge in front of you as an opportunity for growth, or did you set your mind on believing you would never succeed?
Oftentimes, I think we find ourselves doing the latter. But I have to wonder how different our lives would be if we treated every challenge as a chance to learn.
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset
Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University describes mindsets like Andy’s as a Fixed Mindset. It’s a method of thinking where we believe the challenges we face in life demonstrate our incompetence, so we run away and rid ourselves of the chance to learn.
When we have a Fixed Mindset, we’re so focused on the NOW that we forget about the potential future.
And the best way to overcome “the tyranny of NOW”, as Dr. Dweck describes it, is by adopting a Growth Mindset.
Dr. Dweck explains that those who have a Growth Mindset focus less on what they can’t do NOW and more on what they CAN do in the future. In other words, it’s not that they’ll never overcome their challenges. They just haven’t overcome them YET.
What is the hurdle holding you back from achieving your goals and living your dream?
Which actions will you take to work towards that goal?What can you do TODAY to practise a Growth Mindset?
You might not be living the dream YET, but I want you to know that you CAN and you WILL, as long as you take action.
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