August 18, 2023
Knowledge is power, but is the habit of learning more powerful?
It’s your ability to learn that expands your life experience and gives you options and opportunities.
A growth mindset is a life skill that is useful in recovering well. Why? Because recovering your wellness and well-being is a process. One that has successes and setbacks. For example you may feel more able to exercise and push a little harder one day (Yay!), but feel like you are paying for it the following day (oops!). It helps to have a frame of mind that allows for positive progress, setbacks, mistakes and continual learning.
The great news is that a growth mindset is something that is learnable, and by its very nature you can start small and learn as you go.
Reading Carol Dwecks book “Mindset” was eye opening for me as I started to see how I had been approaching situations from a fixed mindset. I would recommend this book to anyone, as Carol Dweck has been researching the field of mindset and education for over 30 years and if you are learning about your life and how to be successful in your approach then “Mindset” has a lot to offer.
One of the difficulties in adopting a growth mindset is recognising when we are limiting ourselves with a fixed mindset. Byron Katies book “The Four Questions” asks us to question our thoughts and beliefs and this is a great start to start loosening the grip of a fixed mindset.
Schools often encourage growth mindset thinking, but just like toxic positivity there can be toxic growth mindsets. How? Growth mindset might not be a skill you have developed fully yet, and children in particular are building their skills and habits. Is being critical of yourself or someone else for not having a growth mindset empowering? We are all learning.
Have you ever stopped yourself from doing something because you “just can’t” or “don’t know how”? Or because someone else told you “you’re not a born dancer/ writer/ mathematician”?
I can see now that my fixed mindset often caused me to give up or quit at the first hurdle of a new venture, without really learning anything that was then useful to me. “I’m not able to do this, I can’t, It won’t work for me” are all examples of fixed mindset thinking. Julia Cameron refers to this as U-turns in her incredible book “Write for Life”. U-turns didn’t help me get further towards my goals. Becoming aware of when my fixed mindset was ruling my decisions was extremely empowering as I became increasingly able to recognise my fixed mindset thoughts and develop more useful growth mindset thought patterns.
Have you ever seen someone take on new information as they were attempting something and use it seemingly without any affront to their ego for not having known something before?
That “good to know, now I will try that” viewpoint is a growth mindset in action.
Before I was able to develop my own growth mindset learning, learning would always be a double edged sword. I would be happy to have learnt something, but I would also feel bad for having not known this thing before. In “Personality isn’t Permanent”, Benjamin Hardy explains that part of emotional healing is to be able to view our past self with empathy. Empathy can help us to feel positive about our learning.
Benjamin Hardy also talks about the “Gap” and the Gain”. In the “Gap” point of view you are comparing what you want with what you have. This can prevent us from truly making positive progress. I am reminded of traveling as a child “are we there yet”. This is a typical bored statement from a child who is neither enjoying the journey or eagerly anticipating a better future.
The “Gain” that Hardy is referring to is acknowledging the incremental improvements and praising the process of taking action towards your goals. Celebrating every success, no matter how small, encourages you in your pursuits.
Be curious. Be aware that you can learn from every situation you encounter, even if what you learn is “that doesn’t work for me”.
I hear people saying things like “This is my life now”. They say this is a resigned way, as if they are unable to do anything powerful to change their situation. While self acceptance and understanding is important in life, a growth mindset perspective means not knowing is a signal to LEARN rather than quit.
Above all, developing a growth mindset is a PRACTICE that requires PRACTICE.
One of the biggest gifts that cultivating a growth mindset will give you, is it allows you to set out to do something you wish to do but aren’t 100 percent sure you can. Believing, if you don’t succeed the first (or even second and third) time you will be learning something valuable. Developing a growth mindset allows you to realise you don’t know something yet and see that as a sign to learn. It’s ok not to know, you learn as you go. Mistakes are made and learnt from. Maybe more than once. We can also learn from our successes, if something goes right then we can question what worked about this and perhaps improve it.
I look back on myself at the start of my recovering well journey and I am able to feel compassion for myself back then without cringing. I am able to continue learning, truly looking forward to developing my abilities rather than being frustrated and critical of only now knowing how to do something.
There’s plenty more I wish to do in my life, if things go my way and I get to have a go at these things I am able to trust that I will be able to figure things out. If a situation arises that I am not sure how to handle I am more confident that I will be able to learn how to handle it.
Isn’t that what life's really about - understanding ourselves, and seeing what we are capable of.
October 06, 2023
I have found with the people that I help that using minerals gives us a strong foundation to work with.
On a personal level I am extremely grateful for the support of minerals!!
September 01, 2023
August 25, 2023
When you start to think in a downward spiral, or become distracted or focussing on negative “unwanted” thoughts - of the past, the present or the future you simply tell your brain “Useful Thoughts Only”
The trick is catching yourself in the act, but I suspect you may have a few (or even many) opportunities each day to practice this technique. The great thing is, even if you realise after quite a while that you have been riding the unhelpful thought train, you can stop at any time and tell yourself - USEFUL THOUGHTS ONLY.