I’ve got to be honest, there are a lot of things that I feel really grateful for lately.
This site actually becoming a fairly successful business, paying off my student loans as fast as I did, and just various accomplishments that I’ve had in the last few years have been incredible to experience.
Now that I have a lot more time to analyze the way I think about things and how I’ve gotten to this point, I’ve learned a lot about what works and doesn’t work from a mental standpoint.
The easiest (and probably laziest) way to describe how I’ve been successful so far would be saying something like: “I’m a lucky person“, or “I’m naturally intelligent“.
There’s a little truth to those things for most people’s success in life, but one of the most important traits I can really attribute everything to is my mindset.
I want to discuss having a growth mindset and the sneaky little mind trick I use daily
Before I go on, we probably need to discuss what a growth mindset is, right?
It’s actually something I picked up from being in education, and was a technique I saw routinely work with students.
Here’s the definition of growth mindset according to the person that coined the term, Carol Dweck:
“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts). This is because they worry less about looking smart and they put more energy into learning.”
Just for a little background, Carol Dweck is the author of Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, and she is highly regarded in the education world.
Adopting a growth mindset
I’m not exactly sure at what point I actually decided to develop a “growth mindset”, but I probably picked up the idea during one of the countless education classes I took in college and/or teacher in-service days that most educators totally freaking hate attending. 🙂
The idea is that you focus less on your abilities being fixed in place, and more on them being pliable and capable of growth.
Rather than believing I can’t do something because I’m not smart enough or outgoing enough, I believe that I can develop the skills I need for success by committing myself to learning how to put in the right kind of work.
Now – a growth mindset obviously doesn’t work for everything. I can’t be in the NBA because I’m 5’10 1/2 and don’t have a jumper. Dribbling is a little hard too. And rebounding. I suck at basketball.
However, I DO think that a growth mindset can apply to the things we all care about like making more money, paying off debt, developing better habits, blogging/side-hustling, moving up in a career, etc.
We all focus on various goals throughout the year like losing weight and spending less money, but I truly believe that focusing on creating a growth mindset will make all of those things fall into place much faster.
Here’s the brain trick I used to help develop a growth mindset:
When. Not if.
People that know me personally may or may not notice it, but I don’t talk about what will happen if I’m going to do something.
I make it a point to tell people when I’m going to make something happen.
“When I pay off my student loans”
“When I start my business”
“When I make $1,000,000 a year” (still efforting this one)
It’s a stupidly simple mind trick, but that’s what makes it so easy to overlook. I think people are so focused on the things that might go wrong or might hold them back, that they forget how bad@$$ the human mind is and what we are all capable of just by swapping a simple word for another.
If you want to pay off your student loans in five years, drop the phrase “if I can” from your vocabulary right now.
Tell people when you’re going to do it, and you’ll be shocked how your behaviors gradually change to help you get there. The same goes for moving up in your career, business, your life goals, whatever.
I truly believe that making the small change from “if” to “when” was a major pillar of the success that I’ve had so far in life.