Growth doesn’t just happen by accident. There are many ways people can grow their skills, but those hacks will only take you so far. Actual change happens when you get your mind right and have a growth mindset.
Carol Dweck defines a growth mindset as “when students had more of a growth mindset, they held the view that talents and abilities could be developed and that challenges were the way to do it.”
It isn’t as easy as just telling yourself that you believe you can develop your talents and abilities. There are five essential principles for reframing your thought process.
Focus on learning new skills
To improve your natural talents, you will have to learn new skills and improve those you already have. Let’s say you have a natural talent for helping and inspiring people. You might make an excellent leader, therapist, or life coach by focusing on the other skills needed.
For example, if you want to help people in a corporate setting, then learning management theories will take your innate ability to have people follow you to the next level.
If you want to be a therapist, then knowing more about how the brain works to process trauma will help specific clients. If you’re going to be a life coach, there are several listening skills you need to learn.
No matter your natural talent, learning a new skill, specific to your field of interest, will help you grow in your career. There are many ways to learn a new skill.
You can enroll in a traditional collegiate program and earn a degree or certificate. Apprenticing or working with a mentor is another prime opportunity to learn something new.
Good old-fashioned reading is another avenue of learning. Gaining knowledge isn’t the only way to grow. Growth can also happen through the challenges we face.
“I am very open to learning. I am like a sponge: I’d like to soak up in new things, new skills.” – Catriona Gray
View challenges as opportunities for growth
People who do not have a growth mindset view problems and obstacles as a bad thing. Those with a growth mindset realize that challenges might be the best thing to happen to us.
These challenges teach you something, either about yourself or about the world in general. It is new knowledge, and while it may have been a grueling experience, it gave you a new perspective.
Any obstacle gives us the chance to become wiser. It also strengthens the kind of person you are and builds your resiliency. If you can reframe your thought process to appreciate problems and challenges, you begin to face them differently.
“Picture your brain forming new connections as you meet the challenge and learn. Keep on going.” – Carol Dweck
Keep your word to others and yourself
When you learn to respect yourself more, it also improves your self-image. This increase in confidence opens you up to growth opportunities or other realizations.
I started a journey to walk around the lake by my house every day for a year. I made it about nine months without missing a day, and then we got hit with a brutally cold winter. After a few days of walking a mile and a half outside, by the water, in far below temperatures and feet of snow, I gave up.
However, during those nine months, I grew by leaps and bounds. I realized I was not happy at my job. I pursued a career in writing, as I had always wanted. About a year and a half since the inception of the project, I could leave my full-time career and write full-time.
The biggest reason was that I had kept my word to myself. I proved that I could be trusted. If I could walk around that lake with snow up to my knees, bundled up like an Eskimo, then I could figure out a way to earn money writing. I could do anything. That isn’t cocky or boastful; it is just what your mind starts to believe when you increase your level of self-respect.
“I feel keeping a promise to yourself is a direct reflection of the love you have for yourself. I used to make promises to myself and find them easy to break. Today, I love myself enough to not only make a promise to myself, but I love myself enough to keep that promise.” – Steve Maraboli
Take criticism and learn something from it
Even if you learn new skills, grow from challenges, and increase your self-respect, you will still face criticism. It is a necessary part of life, but it need not be viewed as a bad thing! Feedback is essential for growth.
It allows us to see how others perceive our work. We get the benefit of having the expertise of other people weigh in on what we have done. When I first started writing, I would get so angry at the editors who wanted to change my story.
Or worse, not publish it because it didn’t fit their publication. I could have given up. It would have been a much easier route than rewriting and resubmitting to get more bad news!
I would never have learned how to improve, and my dream of being a writer would have died right there. Each editor offered some other piece of the puzzle that helped me be a better writer.
I look forward to criticism now because I want to be the best writer I can be. Change your outlook on criticism, and you will be astounded by how much growth is possible!
“To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Unknown
Don’t be jealous of other people’s successes
Envy is another thing you will need to teach your brain to think about in a new way. Those first few months of writing on the Medium platform were brutal. I was getting turned down by the editor of PS I Love You, a popular publication, at every turn.
I had told my therapist about Medium, and the first time she pitched them, they published her article! I sobbed. I was in the car with my husband, and I burst into tears when I told him how my latest attempt had been rejected. That wasn’t the worst, I told him; they had published her piece on the first try!
He tried to tell me that my time would come and that her success didn’t mean I was a terrible writer. I had to figure out why I was envious. In the end, it was about the validation.
The prestige of having your work in this corner of the Medium world meant you were on your way. I wanted that. I dug deep, tried yet again, and wrote an article about when my mother left me behind to enter witness protection.
It is my highest earning article on the platform, and that publication has published the other three works I sent them. Persevere and use that feeling of envy to push you to do your best work.
“We find comfort among those who agree with us, and growth among those who don’t.” – Frank A. Clark
It really is all about what you tell yourself
These mindset shifts will help get your head in the game where it needs to be. Your only competition is yourself and the person you were yesterday. By learning new skills, you will have more knowledge to do the next task that is part of your development.
Strength and resilience will see you through the hard times. Those same hard times will provide you with opportunities to learn something that can only be understood by going through it.
Integrity will help you to keep earning that self-respect, which will help you realize your potential. Criticism will become your friend and provide you with opportunities to learn from those with more experience.
Finally, channeling your jealousy into a tool to keep being better will feed your motivation.
“Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So sail away from the safe harbor. Explore, Dream, Discover.” – Mark Twain
Is your mindset holding you back? Which of these mindset principles are you struggling with? Leave your thoughts in the comment section below. I’d love to hear which one you found the most helpful. Share any other tips if you have them!