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Last Updated on December 15, 2020

5 Ways to Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Self Improvement

5 Ways to Cultivate a Growth Mindset for Self Improvement

Think about a self-improvement goal you have, like becoming a better public speaker, earning a promotion at work, or losing weight. Be honest: What’s been stopping you from achieving, or even making progress, toward your goal?

Do excuses like these sound familiar?

I’m a naturally shy person — speaking in front of people makes me nervous. I’m not a good writer, so I’ll never get promoted. I have a slow metabolism, and I’m not an athletic person — losing weight is impossible! If so, then what may be holding you back is a “fixed mindset”.

You’ve probably heard this term, coined by Stanford University psychology professor Carol Dweck. She outlines the idea of growth mindset and fixed mindset in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.

Essentially, it’s the (erroneous) belief that your abilities are more or less finite and what happens to you, good and bad, is largely due to forces beyond your control, such as natural born talent and luck.

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For example: The only reason my presentation went well was that Sally was feeling sick, so this time she didn’t outshine me. Or: I can’t do yoga; I have always been really inflexible.

As Dweck argues, a fixed mindset is what stops many of us from trying to improve in certain areas where we think we’ve hit our ceiling. In truth, of course, we’re all capable of reaching new heights. It’s just a matter of shifting from a fixed mindset to what Dweck calls a “growth mindset,” a belief that we actually are in control of what we achieve.

Yes, we all have inherent limitations; no matter how hard you try, you may never play tennis like Serena Williams. But, there’s a giant territory between being better than you are now and being the best in the world.

If you have a growth mindset, you think:

If I stretch 10 minutes every day, I will become more flexible or If I take a class and practice every day, I will become a better writer. 

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You’ll take on self-improvement projects and you’ll persevere through challenges because, deep down, you know you can succeed.

If you think you’ve been holding yourself back with a fixed mindset, how do you go about shifting to a growth mindset? Here are 5 ways:

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    1. Get Expert Help

    Can’t even run around the block? Find a running coach experienced with beginners and have her create a training plan for you that includes running with other novices. You’ll be amazed at how far you’re running in just a couple weeks.

    Hopeless in the kitchen? Take a cooking class, and learn to make two new dishes. With expert guidance, accountability, and social support, you’ll soon have the confidence to step out of your comfort zone.

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    Once you get a taste of accomplishment, you’ll be ready for the next challenge.

    2. Look Around You

    If you’re not able to recognize your own ability to improve, look to family members or friends for evidence that effort and perseverance pays off. Maybe a friend set out to learn Spanish and became fluent.

    If you instinctively think, “She’s obviously good with languages,” reframe your thinking. Are you really going to take that accomplishment away from your friend? More likely, she studied hard and practiced often.

    3. Praise for Effort, Not Skill

    When you get in the habit of recognizing effort in others, you’ll start to change the way you think about your own abilities. Instead of telling a friend, “You’re such a good cook!” say, “I love how you’re always collecting recipes and trying such interesting dishes.” Rather than telling your child, “You’re so smart” when they ace a math test, say “You studied hard for that and deserved a good grade.”

    Acknowledging effort over talent is a subtle but important change to make when working to adopt a growth mindset.

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    4. Compete with Yourself

    Yes, caring how we rank is human nature, but caring too much is counterproductive and fuels a fixed mindset.

    We all have our strengths. What’s important is not how you compare to others but how you compare to where you were yesterday, last week, or last year.

    Are you moving forward and making progress in the areas that you care about? If so, that’s all that matters.

    5. Learn from Failure

    When you have a fixed mindset, the voice in your head says, I didn’t make the sale because I’m terrible at closing.

    Challenge this mindset. Could it be that you didn’t prepare enough to answer all the clients’ questions? What could you have done differently to change the outcome? If you think about it hard enough, you’ll probably come up with lessons to apply to your next sales opportunity.

    More Tips about Changing Your Mindset

    Featured photo credit: Natasha Brazil via unsplash.com

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    Sharen Ross

    Marketing Strategy Consultant

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    Last Updated on January 19, 2021

    When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You

    When You Learn A Second Language, These 7 Amazing Things Will Happen To You

    Learning a second language is not a walk in the park. But if you decide to do it, the most amazing things will happen to you.

    Language teachers have heard just about every possible excuse from students explaining why they’re not able to learn a language right now. Out of the dozens of reasons claimed by these students, none of them are legitimate reasons. Not one.

    “I don’t have enough time…”
    “I learned a language already but I forgot it…”
    “It’s just not the right time for me right now…”

    It’s likely that you have some of these excuses floating around in your head too. And so did many people who have since learned a new language successfully.

    Learning a language is no different from making time to go to the gym. Making time to read a book. It’s all a matter of priorities and commitment. The obstacle is rarely about finding ways to learn a language, but about understanding why you should learn a language.

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    Not enough people are talking about the latter, but scientific research has revealed some amazing things that will happen when you learn a new language.

    Today, we’ll share 7 amazing things that will happen when you learn a second language (or third, or fourth).

    1. Make Decisions That You Used To Struggle Making

    The first benefit has the potential to change the lives of many people reading this. Learning a language can help you make decisions faster and more effectively. According to a study done at the University of Chicago,[1] learning a second language can help you eliminate loss aversion,[2] which will allow you to make smarter decisions that will pay off long-term.

    You will train in and develop a process for making fast decisions during your language speaking practice. You will be forced to make a decision about what a word or sentence means or about how to say a specific thing, and you will constantly be testing whether it makes sense. There’s no time to reflect when you’re having a live conversation with someone.

    Not all of us were born to resist marshmallows when we were young, but we can always train our brains to be tougher. Learning a second language will help you do just that.[3]

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    2. Expand Your Career Opportunities And Mindset On A Global Scale

    The world is becoming a more global place by the second. Companies in your country are doing more business than ever across the world, and there’s a severe shortage of bilingual speakers. Even if you do not fluently speak a second language, having another language under your belt will immediately show others that you’re a globally-minded individual with cultural experiences that other candidates can’t offer.

    The Economist calculated the bonus income one can make from knowing certain languages:

    • Spanish — 1.5 percent bonus
    • French — 2.3 percent bonus
    • German — 3.8 percent bonus

      If you want to get the full list, check out this post on the most useful languages to learn for your career.

      3. Become A More Interesting Person For Others To Talk To

      Learning a second language is not just about adding a language to your repertoire, but about encountering a completely new culture. Many people are fascinated when they learn about new cultures they’re not familiar with.

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      More importantly, becoming bilingual will help you connect and be more relatable to other people, especially if you speak a popular language like Spanish or Mandarin. Being fluent is not necessary to achieve this: even having basic conversational skills can do wonders for how people perceive you and for how much value you can add for others. Many of today’s problems come from miscommunication and from people’s feelings of disconnection from others. You’ll be surprised how much speaking someone’s language can unite you with them and allow you to hear what they have to say.

      4. Experience Travel In A Completely New Way

      Planning trips does not have to be limited to searching on TripAdvisor or simply asking people in your inner circle. There’s a whole different world available to you if you remove some language barriers. Just as you know your city better than any journalist would, local native speakers will be able to show you the hot spots within a city that you would have never discovered on your own. Speaking a second language will allow you to build relationships with locals who will give you an insider’s view of your destination.

      More importantly, you’ll have a global network of friends who you can rely on wherever you are around the world.

      5. Learn A Third, Fourth, Or Fifth Language With Ease

      Once you learn a second language, learning a third, fourth, or fifth language will be much easier. Like building a business or achieving any goal, the process of learning a language can be replicated more easily after you’ve done it once. The first time around is usually the hardest.

      “Every time I learn a new language, I find it easier than the one before. The reasoning is simple: with every new language I study, I figure out ways to learn more efficiently.” -Benny Lewis

      With each language, your confidence improves, your resilience increases, and you develop learning hacks based on your previous language learning experiences.

      6. Remember Things You Previously Couldn’t Remember

      Scientists and researchers often refer to the brain as a muscle. Similarly to how we get our bodies in shape, we train our brains to remember new words and to think on the spot, and we connect new neurons in our minds.

      With more training, your brain will naturally strengthen, just like a muscle. Small things that you would have previously forgotten will then become easier to remember.

      7. Feel More Connected To Your Roots And Self

      Something strange happens when you’re learning a language, something that rarely occurs in your daily life. With the culture that you discover from your second language, you begin to think about your own heritage. You will reflect more on where you come from, the history of your ancestors, and ultimately where you fit into this world.

      Becoming bilingual makes you come to terms with how you view the world. It will enhance your appreciation of the world you live in, your own culture, and ultimately who you are as an individual.

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      Featured photo credit: Dmitry Ratushny via unsplash.com

      Reference

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