Every journey of self-development is unique and personal to the individual who undertakes it. There are numerous challenges that arise during our journey; many seem daunting and impossible to overcome, while others simply float by like a leaf blowing in the wind. However, for those situations that push us well beyond our perceived limits, when we seem to linger further and further away from our intended goals, what are we supposed to do? You may be asking, how do we go about overcoming these challenges, and why is it that so many others seem to just “naturally” have to ability to overcome these seemingly insurmountable challenges in their lives? Well, numerous books, podcasts, and interviews of successful athletes, CEOs, and self-help gurus have pointed to one common theme, and that is “Growth Mindset”. Although, what exactly is “Growth Mindset”?
Growth mindset is an attitude, and adaptive method or way that individuals approach situations in their lives, no matter how big or small. Carol Dweck, American Psychologist and avid writer about all things mindset, Growth Mindset is describes as such: “people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.” (Dweck, 2015). A Growth Mindset is essentially a perception one embodies to holistically develop into the type of person you wish to ideally be, even in the face of the struggles or difficult situations that come along the way, awesome right? Today we will be looking into what you and I can do to support our embodiment of Growth Mindset within our lives, and start tapping into the immense power and energy that lies dormant within each and over one of us!
“Mind over Matter”
To assist in developing one’s growth mindset, we must understand how our minds, and more specifically how our attitudes influence a great portion of our lives. The perception that we hold of ourselves, along with the environment we are in, deeply influences how rapidly we can begin to cultivate and develop a growth mindset. Most importantly, our attitude towards ourselves and our journey of self-improvement is key in developing a growth mindset. Attitude leads to aptitude and affinity, and this affinity structures our perception of events and situations that occur on a day-to-day basis. If you go into a situation expecting the worst possible outcome, there should be little to no surprise if something negative comes out of the situation. Even if it the situation ends up being an exceptionally pleasant and amazing experience, you of course will find some fault or issue with the outcome that had occurred. With everything, and especially in terms of facilitating a growth mindset, you must become very mindful of the situation and/or challenge before you. Becoming more mindful of your attitude towards the situation is essential, since through mindfulness you can extract the necessary components to build the instrument of growth within your mind, and thus within your whole self.
Of course the term “mindfulness” has become a loose within the past decade due to the admissions and additions of many folks, professional and other. ” Mindfulness” now spans across a wide range of disciplines and subjects such as meditation. In our case, Mindfulness boils down to being in the present moment as it unfolds before you. Due to the nature of mindfulness as it pertains to growth mindset, it is this awareness that is crucial for the constructive attitude founded and developed over time with consistent and diligent effort. This could be becoming more cognizant of an issue or situation; how it relates to you at that given time, and what it means for you either in a holistic sense or in a “trivially”. In this way, a hopeless (or even hopeful) experience can become a pillar for greater discovery given the time and effort. Mindfulness allows an individual to become the technician of their mind, tinkering away at the intricate nature of your thought processes, and optimizing them to better yourself and better your mindset. Mindfulness becomes a fantastic tool in supporting the facilitation of a growth mindset (For a deeper dive into the Power of Mindfulness click here!). Although will all things, tools can be abused, and be warned of falling victim to intellectualizing all of your experiences. Brooding over what should and could be done to its utmost perfection will leave you stranded, as no progress is truly being made to actually bring about the necessary changes. Mindfulness can be both a in-the-moment and retrospective practice, and in the case of changing our behaviors and perspectives, the in-the-moment awareness is what is most important. Act diligently and hold this idea with respect, and see your life blossom in ways you haven’t seen before.
Wu is The Wei
To help support Growth mindset, one should “be like water making its way through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it… Be Water, My Friend.” – Bruce Lee. What Grandmaster Lee has described is known as “Wu Wei”, another powerful tool that you can utilize to support your attitude towards facilitating a growing and hopeful frame of mind. Wu Wei is a Taoist idea which has been practiced and embraced by many individuals, such as thinker Alan Watts, who went on to say “Change is not merely a force of destruction. Every form is really a pattern of movement, and every living thing is like the river, which, if it did not flow out, would never have been able to flow in.” Wu Wei is simply “being” if taken to that point, but as described by many who study the principle, it boils down to; “doing by not-doing,” seems counter-intuitive right? Although, it really isn’t as confusing as you may initially think. Lets consider those who practice this principle as individuals who go with the flow of the situations around them. This can be interpreted as tranquil and effortless movement, becoming one with the spiraling tornado winds of the day to day, and aligns with a principle that has been shot around the mindset playing field, flowstate. Wu Wei is about flowing along with the situation, but being conscious of how you, the way you act, speak, hear, react, and interpret your environment impacts you, and thus directing that flow in a more considerate way. Wu Wei is like Mindfulness’ cool aunt or uncle who always gives a sense of free-flowing, yet mature advice. Using the above principles in conjunction will provide benefits left and right, and can allow for a greater sense of grace and appreciation for the subtle actions within our lives and in the environments we are in.
Bringing It All Together!
Applying these ideas with a mindful eye and a willing heart allows individuals to progress through thick and thin without them spiraling out into total disarray. Understand that being mindful and appreciative of the process comes with a steely mind and a steadfast heart. You must be willing to find growth in nearly every nook and cranny you come across during your journey. No challenge should be met with persistent pain or anguish, but with positivity and optimism for what it represents, a pillar for your success. Of course, keep into consideration your sense of well being, these principles enhance possibility of moving forward within difficult situations and grow from it. Stimulating deeper connections and considerations within. However, the danger of blind “due diligence” or toxic hyper-optimism can cause a lot more harm than good. Make sure you are using these mindful techniques to also become in-touch with your reality, and grow in a healthy, holistic manner.
In the same way, no blessing should be taken for granted. Be thankful during the good, and during the “bad”. Continue pushing forward, and remember, you are not alone. Talk with a friend or a close family member, or join us on Discord and discuss whats on your mind, but never forget, keeping marching forward, even if you need to take a long (and well needed) break from the journey that you have taken thus far. Don’t be afraid to take a few sharp lefts (or rights), and remember, this is your life, your lovely and personal journey. Now go out there and be a rock star! We at KOA know that you can and will achieve the goals and dreams that are ideally set for you!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FeEd1jnPRFc – Clip of Alan Watts discussing Wu Wei
https://www.myrkothum.com/wu-wei/ – Wu Wei – Success Without Effort?
https://knightsofacademia.org/the-power-of-mindfulness/ – The Power of Mindfulness