To be perfectly honest, I have no business writing anything ⏤ let alone a book. In fact, if you had asked me ten years ago if I would ever write a book, I would have most likely said something like, “I should probably read one first.” I mean think about it. I dont have a college degree. Hell, I’ve never even taken a writing course… I don’t even think I’m supposed to use “never even.” I mean I’ve always been a math guy (go figure, if you know my mother), so writing is definitely not my forte… I just Googled how to spell “forte.” Needless to say, no one saw a book in my future. No one but me.
People hate it and I don’t sell a single copy.
That is what a growth mindset is all about. Understanding that our abilities are not confined to our innate characteristics. We develop. My mother has been an educator for 40 years, teaching mathematics and now as an administrator. I spent my entire childhood in and around math. I spent a couple of hours every morning, before elementary school, in an algebra class. So, naturally I always excelled at math. Wait… Naturally? Seems more like a developed trait. What if my mother was an english teacher? Would I have “naturally” excelled at writing? I do believe we have innate characteristics about ourselves, but I believe that many of those perceived traits are actually just learned behaviors. From the moment we are born, our little minds become sponges soaking up everything we can take in. We learn at a rapid rate and don’t really begin to show any signs of slowing until our early twenties. Now, it is thought that we tend to not just slow in our ability to learn but also in our approach to it. As we age, we tend to go from relying on learning new information to relying more on past experiences. So, the real question here is, do we slow in our ability to learn or do we slow in our willingness to do so?
A fixed mindset can be very detrimental. This is the limiting belief system that we are confined to certain traits and abilities. A fixed mindset would have caused me to look at the proposition of a book and say, “Hell No, I dont know how to write. I’ve never done anything like that.” This is a common response for many in new endeavors, but look at that statement again. The first is admitting inevitable failure due to the inability to do something. The second is confirming that failure based on past experience. Not pursuing new information and relying on past experiences. Exactly what science says we are going to do as we age.
Many people seem to feel that if they don’t make an attempt at certain things, then they can never really fail at them. I believe on the contrary ⏤ that the only real failure is in the fail to attempt. No matter the outcome of a new endeavor, you cannot fail. With a growth mindset, you will be open to the benefits that come with any and every outcome, even perceived failure. You will learn from every attempt, grow in every struggle, begin to conquer certain fears, and so much more. You will win every time you lose and you will win every time you win. A growth mindset is truly a win, win.
So, in the traditional approach to accomplishments… I should have never wrote that book. But, eff that! What’s the worst that could of happened? People hate it and I don’t sell a single copy. Not the most ideal situation, sure. But even if that did happen, what about the journey? I have learned so much about myself during this whole process and it’s been such a rewarding experience along the way. I could have easily talked myself out of this idea. Simply stating, “writing isn’t my thing, I’ve never done it before.” I could have subjected myself to the fear of rejection from others. I could have simply said, “I have no idea how to publish a book. Where would I even start?” I didn’t do that because I try and find every opportunity to grow.
A growth mindset is focused on living a life of learning ⏤ becoming a forever student. In terms of mental capacity and our abilities to learn, there is so much more to the equation. Understanding how your mind works, the way we take in and store information, and how our own thoughts can impact our surroundings is key. Health, exercise, meditation, diet, and stress all impact our ability to learn, retain information, and mentally excel. You are not restricted to your innate characteristics. You are not limited to your areas of experience. You are not confined by your fears. In the most cliche´ statement possible ⏤ You can do anything you put your mind to.