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Mindset for Personal Growth

From a young age I wondered why people are unhappy in life, even when they have much to be happy about? This question took me on a wonderful journey to better understand the meaning of celebrating life.

One of the key causes for unhappiness stems from the realization that there is no curriculum for life and taking ‘no stand’ to be the lead actor in their own movie of life is a thorn in many people’s otherwise perfect life. The other reason that weighs on people’s happiness is the ‘half baked stands’ that made their life today, for which they carry deep regret. The secret to making a 'meaningful stand' in life is having a personal growth plan.

Water when it is agitated, it becomes difficult to see. But when you allow it to settle, you can see clearly.

The turbulent mind is like the agitated water, and to see clearly to your potential you will have to settle your mind. And this feat can be achieved through Personal Growth.

There must have been times in your life, when you have surprised yourself in the way you handled a situation, maybe it is at work, with your colleague, or subordinate or boss, or even a customer, maybe at home , with your spouse, or children, or parents. It might be something you said, something you did, or how you gave an idea or how you stood out in the room, or how you solved a crisis, or how you diffused a situation.

These instances of greatness that manifest randomly and far apart, is an echo of the potential that is latent in you, that you can harness to your advantage to achieve your dreams and live a fulfilled life.

Defining Personal Growth

I believe personal growth is the realization of your potential and taking an initiative towards it. It is not only about how far you have come but how far you can go. It is about the WHY and not so much about the WHAT. I define personal growth as;

“the strategic process of mining your best version

Personal growth can be applied to all areas of life. Personal growth looks and feels different to different people. Here are some feelings reflecting Personal Growth

  • Personal growth can look like the patients you have developed to care for the difficult people in your life,

  • Personal growth can be how you consciously reserve your judgment so you can listen and understand the other person better.

  • Personal Growth can be found in a person’s empowering habits like waking up on time, practicing self reflection, sleeping well, eating well, taking care of their health, reading, studying, managing finances, or meeting relationship goals.

  • It can be the kind words that describe you within your social circle

  • It can be the positive energy that you have started to exuberate that gravitates people to you

  • Sometimes personal growth can be in the form of a smile and the warmth that a person experience by reconnecting with someone they were estranged with

  • It can be the eureka moment in your life because you keep gaining new perspectives about yourself and your life.

Whatever personal growth looks like to you, you can get there. I believe it is best not to contain the experiences, expression and impact of personal growth. I like to see personal growth with very few limitations and endless possibilities, that is, anything that genuinely improves your life and takes you to your best version.

Not Personal Growth

The word personal growth is thrown around a lot, and at times used for underrating and discrediting one self and/or others. Here are a list of things that are NOT personal growth:

  • Personal growth is not perfection nor a destination.

  • It is not about what you achieved or learned, it is about the intention.

  • It’s not about being better than everyone else.

  • It is not about today, it's a way of life

  • Personal growth is not just about you or for you.

  • It Does not have a fixed-mindset, rather a growth mindset

  • It is not about the goal, it is about who you have become

  • It is not about knowing everything, but pursuing it

The pursuit for truth, excellence and greatness is the essence of the growth mindset and the growth journey. Being intentional in the four areas of personal growth is key to a meaningful, success and significant life. For any personal growth plan to work, one must first work through having a ‘growth mindset’.

The Growth Mindset

Psychologist Carol Dweck talks about fixed-mindset, it is where we believe about how we are, what we are, and what we are capable of. Many people live their lives believing who they are, what they are and what they are capable of based on what others have told them about them, like by their parents, their teachers, their friends, their colleagues, their culture, their religion, their partners, the society, etc.

Ask yourself, in what areas of your life are you operating out of a Fixed- Mindset. Personal growth is not just about “fixing” yourself or recognizing your weaknesses. It’s also about loving and accepting yourself wholly and unconditionally. Recognizing your strengths and appreciating them.

Personal growth is about improving, whether it’s a weakness or a strength. It’s about being grateful for who you are and what you do, and how you contribute to the world. Recognizing your faults, things you don’t like about yourself, your mistakes, your weakness and instead of ignoring them or beating yourself up for them, it’s about accepting them and loving yourself regardless.

Loving yourself is not narcissism, It’s about being on your own side. It’s about being a friend to yourself. Sometimes personal growth doesn’t necessarily mean changing certain weaknesses and things you don’t like about yourself. It can sometimes be about changing how you see those things about yourself.

Personal growth helps you get to know yourself better and improves your relationship with yourself. Because every relationship starts with a relationship with the self. The more fulfilling the relationship is with yourself, the more fulfilling the relationships are with others. Here are few growth mindset that will help you have a great growth plan.

1. I Can Change & Improve

Growing up I was a blunt and cut-right with others. When my mother would try to tell me to be more polite and considerate, I would always tell her, 'this is who I am and people better like me for who I am, if they don't like me, I don't care, it is their problem.' This was my attitude for the longest time, and this showed in my life and my relationships. It never bothered me, because I had a fixed mindset that I can not change who I am.

To my surprise, as I learned about Personal Growth, and the different prerequisites to be effective in your growth journey, I instantly realized that I could change and improve. As I learned more about myself, I realized that the ‘don't care attitude’ was a persona I created to survive certain childhood difficulties, like stereotyping, racism and body shaming.

It served me well in the past , but I realized it is not serving me now, and the first mindset that I worked on was my attitude towards people. I realized even though I am extremely comfortable in my own skin and I don't care about other people's opinion, it is not necessary that I walk with that aura around me.

The power of personal growth can only be harnessed when you believe ‘I can change, I can get better, I can improve', unless you believe this, there's not much possibility for growth. Personal Growth is all about becoming your best version, and to be your best version, you have to constantly challenge the norm.

2. How Far Can I Go

From the workbook, we generally give a few pages for our son to study, he would immediately go through it and negotiate on the amount of pages he can do before he 'will get tired'. He has made up his mind that he 'will get tired' in 2 pages. I understand, as a little kid, he is trying to avoid studying, but sadly as adults we do the same things, we try to limit ourselves because we feel this is all we can do, or that this is enough.

'This is enough' is a mindset that limits the growth journey. It is not about what is enough or if it is good, , but it is about 'how far you can go'. It is about becoming your best version. Remember your best version is not about your position, or your bank balance or your social prestige, don't get me wrong, all of those metrics are important, but personal growth is about perfectly fitting your piece in the puzzle of life, otherwise the world is incomplete and broken.

This is where many people get stuck, they would go on an ultra focused goal achieving rampage, and finally when they achieve the goals, they are lost, not sure what to do next, and cracks in other areas of life would surface to break their achievement. It is not about is it enough, or is it good, it is about how far you can go.

3. Habit Resilience

People put their heart and soul into forming positive habits that serve them towards their success. Once I got an SOS message from one of my coaching clients telling me “I am not able to get back to my habits. I am upset that even after trying for many months, at the slightest disruption I slipped into my old ways in a matter of a few days. Am I that weak? Maybe this growth to my best version is not for me”.

I helped her better understand the essence of the ‘resilience mindset’, that is, positive habit formation is a lifelong practice of getting up every time you fall with the same enthusiasm. I also strengthen her ‘Bounce Back System’ that will minimize the downtime and heartache every time she falls.

Many times people try their best to make a habit stick, but with the slightest disruption the habit is put out of gear, this is because the 'why' behind the habit is not meaningful enough to overcome the 'terror barrier'; and secondly the weakness in the bounce back system. As a result the resentment towards the habit heightens, and the belief that it is an elusive habit for me and I won't be able to master it is reinforced, common simple examples are waking up earlier, reading a book, walking daily, writing a journal, etc.

We have all been there, but the shift in mindset is that it is not about how well you are progressing in your habit is or how long you have been doing it, rather it is how quickly you can get back on the saddle when you fall and try again. That is the key to making a habit stick.

Habit is at the heart of growth, so having a positive understanding about habits and being willing to constantly evolve your habit to keep abreast with the growth plan is imperative to creating a resilient success habit

4. Articulating Emotions

There was once a young boy who was short tempered, and his grandfather asked him to nail the fence whenever the boy was angry. So the boy set out to the fence with a hammer and nail. On the first day, he returned and reported to the grandfather that he had nailed some 30 odd nails.

And this continued for many days, and over time the number of nails steadily declined, until one day the boy rushed with excitement to tell his grandfather that he had not nailed a single nail today.

The grandfather congratulated him and immediately said, from today, for every day you are able to manage your temper, you start pulling out a nail, the boy agreed, and in some time the boy returned with extreme happiness that he had pulled out all the nail he had hammered in.

The boy was so happy, so was the grandfather, then the grandfather took him to the fence and pointed to the holes. He told the boy, every time you lose your temper it leaves scars, just like the holes in the wall.

The growth mindset is not that you should not express your emotions or feel your emotion, rather it is how you should express them appropriately according to the situation and be able to articulate the emotions when necessary. It is not about suppressing or repressing, it is about articulating.

Believing in your ability to manage your emotion and constantly working on the ability to articulate your emotions is key. A person with a growth mindset is not afraid to access any of their emotion like anger, frustration, sadness, despair, happiness, sorrow, pride, etc. They are comfortable to accept their failure, express their anger, but all the while being in touch with reality, and willing to constantly work towards articulating what they feel.

5. Listen to Grow

In the shrub forest lived a colony of frogs, and as the group of frogs were hopping about one day, suddenly few frogs had fallen into a ditch. Even with the most valiant effort of all the frogs to jump out the ditch, only one was making progress. Each time that one frog looked up, he could see the frogs at the mouth of the ditch speaking to him.

Once the frog jumped out of the ditch, he started to go around thanking every frog for encouraging him and cheering for him as he tried over and over again. But the truth was the frogs were actually shouting ‘You can not do it, the ditch is too deep’, luckily this frog was deaf.

Many times what we listen to will either make us or break us. In this story the fact that the frog was deaf helped it jump out the ditch. With a growth mindset we take extra measures to protect what we listen to, but we are very cautious not to close our ears completely to the world, but seek the right ones. The heart of the mindset is to learn from everywhere and everyone. This can only happen when we are willing to empty ourselves and have humility to learn from others.

Young children have this habit of learning something new and immediately they feel they know it all, and they will not stop talking about it. Sadly even some adults walk around as if they know it all. The bitter truth is if you are not willing to listen, you will never learn anything new.

This is truly the problem in many relationship, there is so much we can learn from each others, but instead we are focused inward on what we know. With an attitude to learn to grow, we see the world and relationship as an elixir of ever flowing knowledge, and we are always eager and curious to learn.

6. Where Can I Find Help & How Can I Help

Generally I have heard people say they find it easier to give help than ask for help. A person with a growth mindset is always willing to ask for help, because they are always looking for new ways to understand themselves, others and the world.

They want to make a more accurate meaning of the shadows of reality. They are constantly improving their inner circle and becoming more valuable for the people they influence. A growth mindset person, as an abundance mentality, that is they are always trying to give themselves to others.

Great Tragedy of Life

It is said that people regret not their mistakes rather the risks they didn't take because of the fear of mistakes. Here are top five deathbed regret:

1. I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me

2. I wish I hadn't worked so hard

3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier

We bemoan the loss of our forests, we worry over our dwindling resources of coal and oil, we decry the waste in our factories. But the greatest waste of all, we pay no attention to - is the waste of our own potential mind power.” - Robert Collier

Success is the sum of small efforts repeated day in and day out, that is, the more you learn about the laws of growth, the more you will be living by them. The more you practice intentional growth in the different areas of life, the more your life will feel whole. And before you realize it, you will be moving beyond Success into Significance, that is, you will be achieving your career, Wealth, Health, Relationship and other goals, and at the same time you will be helping others achieve theirs.

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