You might have heard about the two different approaches to life; a growth mindset or a fixed mindset. The terms were originally coined by Dr Carol Dweck in her seminal book ‘Mindset‘. Though for a more practical and actionable discussion of mindset and how to create an awesome life, you will want to read ‘Gorilla Mindset‘ by Mike Cernovich, which I will quote here;
Research shows that those who adopted a growth mindset – a belief that challenges and difficulties give you an opportunity to grow your abilities – were far more likely to succeed than those with a fixed mindset, that is, a belief that your intelligence and ability do not increase but instead have a set-point.
You’re either in control of your life and have the opportunity to make of it what you will (growth mindset) or you’re stuck in the situation that the genetic lottery lands you in, and have little to no room for growth (fixed mindset).
Growth mindset towards ‘work’
Most people spend the majority of their life working – or not working and bemoaning that nobody will give them a job – and then waste the remainder of their precious time and energy trying to escape from the reality of their ‘normal’ life.
TV, video games, booze, porn, social media, etc…
It’s all escapism from reality. Living vicariously through other people or virtual reality, via the internet/idiot box. I say, what a complete and utter waste of human potential…
Anybody is capable of having a fulfilling life, which excites and stimulates them. Capable of creating value and making the world a better place. If only they got off their ass and did something.
There’s a reason I encased the word ‘work’ in inverted commas in the above title. When you have a growth mindset, you don’t see anything as work. It is just life. You have control. You choose what you do, where you spend your time and with whom.
I think you can have a growth mindset and be employed, and likewise you can have a fixed mindset and work for yourself, but it’s not the norm. High performers in employed roles are only semi-employed anyway. They don’t get paid for their time showing up, they get paid on results. Sales commission, equity stakes, performance bonuses…
Taking control of your life generally involves taking control of what you spend the majority of it doing and the outcome you get from it.
Growth mindset in action
In the past 2 days I’ve taken a long bus and a flight.
On the bus I:
- Wrote a freelance article (that will pay the fee for the journey 5 x over)
- Studied to improve my copywriting skills (that will lead to more future income and success)
- Read a book about the economy (to better understand the world I work in)
- Got some sleep (to regenerate)
On the plane I:
- Brainstormed business ideas out (to build in the near future)
- Drafted a whole advert and sales funnel that I will use myself and eventually teach others (to bring immediate income to my business and be leveraged exponentially)
- Read another book about the economy
- Drafted this article (because I had inspiration, so I wrote it down straight away to ensure it gets actioned)
Meanwhile, everyone around me…
- Played games on their phone or tablet
Seriously, nobody did anything else. Maybe a couple of people were reading, but everyone in my close vicinity was playing games or doing nothing.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t have any downtime or relax. Everyone needs to balance their chi and spend some time regenerating. Rather, I advocate making use of ‘dead time’. You’re stuck in a seat you can’t move from, you’re disconnected from the internet and the rest of the world.
It is the BEST time to be productive. You have no distractions and no opportunity to do something else instead.
To be honest, when you have a growth mindset, live your own life and run your own business, there really is no ‘on time’ and ‘off time’. You don’t go to the office (even metaphorically) and then check out for the day. It’s all one and the same. Work is play and play is work.
I like to party, and there is a massive hole in the Chiang Mai scene for a more upscale party, which integrates both expats and Thai people – so I started a little side business running parties with my friends.
It’s probably not going to make me rich, because I won’t be here for ever, to really grow it in to something huge, but…I get paid for having a party. It’s something I’m going to do anyway, and for a couple of hours work per month, I can create something of value, make a bit of money and A LOT of connections (that may open many other doors that I can’t even quantify right now).
Developing a growth mindset
For many years, since I first started reading self-development and business books, I had the concept of a growth mindset in mind and would have verbalised the benefits, had you asked me.
However, for a long time I was still stuck in something of a scarcity attitude and while I was trying to build a business I had too much of a tunnel vision. I thought that this absolutely had to work, and was afraid of failing. It meant that I shut out a lot of potential coming from oblique angles, because it didn’t perfectly align with my supposed straight line path to success. It hampered my development and it also ended up that I essentially created a job, which I happened to own, instead of a business.
Only when I came to terms with that finishing unsuccessfully and moved on did I really start to see life take off. Failing was actually an integral part of developing a growth mindset. Now, in hindsight, I see that I should have forced that failure much quicker, learnt the lessons and moved on.
Growth mindset = add value
Spend some time producing something that might be useful for other people (or even yourself). When you’re producing, you get in to a state of flow, which is pretty much a synonymous state with happiness and being present. Doing this on a regular basis will lead to significant growth in your life, giving you an all around better experience of living.
You’ll make more money, increasing your freedom and ability to do as you please with your life, when you get in to the habit of producing value at every opportunity. More importantly, you will be living a great life in the process of doing so.
Happiness is not a destination; it’s a real time, moment by moment practice.
Whenever I do take ‘down time’, I become supremely creative. When you shut the conscious mind off from work, especially when you focus on something in real time and change your environment, the subconscious goes to work and fills in gaps you’ve missed. Creates connections between things you hadn’t spotted and runs your latest thoughts and experiences through the database of past knowledge and experiences, to see what marries together and creates babies of awesomeness.
Mike, of aforementioned Gorilla Mindset fame just posted this:
How can I make more money?!
How many hours did you spend today (after your regular job) earning money? Even if you only earn $5/hr on eLance, you’re adopt the right money-making mindset.
Gorilla Mindset shift: It doesn’t matter how much (or little) you earn when starting your side business. What matters is you start something and begin to focus on earning supplemental income. Those income streams will become rivers over time.
I was reading a couple of blogs as I waited for my dinner (instead of dicking around playing games on my phone or gawping at some random girl’s Instagram selfies), with the intention of proof reading and posting this article when I got back. Lo and behold, 10 minutes earlier Mike posts, in part, about the same thing.
Now I can link to his post; he will probably re-tweet my post, boosting my readership. Growth. Mindset.