Being stagnant is one of the worst positions to be in if you’re trying to accomplish anything or grow as a person. To evolve, you have to cultivate a growth mindset that is fluid, can filter fact from fiction, can deal with losses and let downs, and is always absorbing new information.
Mastering a growth mindset is a surefire way toward personal development in all areas of your life. The only question is, how do you get to this point? For many, breaking out of the rut they are in and switching to a dynamic, growth-orientated mindset can be a challenge. Some never achieve it at all.
Here are some of my personal strategies for mastering growth mindset that I have used for years.
Past Failures Mean Nothing
It doesn’t get more straightforward than this. If you’re caught up on the past, there’s no way you are growing. In fact, if anything, you’re devolving.
Learn from the past, sure, but don’t let it be the focus of your drive. If your core motivation is nothing more than getting back at someone, making good on past wrongs, paving over past mistakes, or proving yourself to someone who didn’t support you or believe in you in the past, you’re not going to grow, your ideas are going to be stagnant, and your energy is just going to be off.
This is more than just a psychological issue. Scientifically speaking, the past no longer exists. It’s done, it’s over. None of it means anything from a growth standpoint.
The best way to overcome your past is to simply grow beyond it.
Meaning, if you’re trying to make up for past mistakes and failures, harping on them or basing your decisions on these failures is not going to help you overcome them. In fact, you are likely to repeat the same mistakes. Like energy attracts like energy.
Rather than being caught up in the past, always look toward the future. Think in terms of the future only.
Fact Over Fiction
This is an extremely underrated component of personal growth. If you can’t tell the difference between what’s true and what’s not, your mind is going to be muddied and constantly pulled toward dead ends.
If you don’t know how to extract truth from any given set of data or situation, then your chances of stagnation and failure skyrocket.
Because fact is the only thing that is actually real. You can’t create a solid sustainable business model off of erroneous information. You can’t properly help people based on erroneous information. You can’t build you personal finances or health based on erroneous information. It just doesn’t work.
Sure, you can get lucky from time to time. You can also swindle people. But these tactics aren’t sustainable, and will erode you. This is an example of fake growth, such as when you see a pastor of a mega-church drive around in a Rolls Royce and wear $1000 suits. It’s wealth generated from lies and deceit. Where do you think it will all end?
Nowhere is this more prevalent than in personal development though. You cannot evolve as a person if you hold fast to lies, opinions, and delusions. This fluff will get you nowhere as a person.
If you’re trying to grow based on false information, you’re going to hit a litany of road blocks, dead ends, pitfalls, and areas of self-sabotage. What you will perceive as “bad luck,” “the world being against you,” and “others trying to tear you down,” will in all actuality just be your own choices destroying you and limiting you from within.
One of the biggest secrets to self-fulfillment and personal growth is just letting go of all the false beliefs and constructs, and just allowing yourself to filter information from an unbiased standpoint. You’d be amazed at how much this increases your quality of life.
You make much better personal decisions when you interpret reality the proper way. You no longer make choices based on emotional or irrational conviction. Rather, your choices stem from rational interpretation of the world around you.
This is how many successful people seem to generate luck out of thin air. It’s not magic. They simply know how to “read” the world and make decisions based off of data rather than mere beliefs and blind faith.
Focus on Action, Not Endless Planning
You can get lost in the planning stages of any business venture, hobby, goal, or task. Don’t do it.
Instead, just dive in. If it’s something that does require a bit of planning, layout the groundwork and exactly what you need. Nothing more.
You can always learn from the mistakes you make along the way, but in order to do so you actually have to do something to begin with. If you want to grow, it’s not going to happen while you’re sitting around “planning” it for years.
Nothing can stagnate a person more than their own inability to create change or unwillingness to put in some hard work.
Often, it’s not for lack of skill or resources, regardless of what you might tell yourself. It’s all fear.
This fear paralyzes you, gets you believing that you aren’t good enough, can’t succeed, have no idea what you’re doing, and are destined to fail.
Failure isn’t what you should be worried about. Stagnation is.
There’s nothing wrong with setting off on a task and falling short. There’s nothing wrong with attempting something new and winging things until you learn the ropes. Experimenting and learning from past failures is one of the top ways we learn. It’s hardwired into our brains.
Unless you’re some kind of savant, the truth is, failure and hard work go hand in hand. Testing, adapting, problem solving, and building on experience is quite literally how we evolved to learn and progress. When it comes to getting things done, action trumps planning most of the time.
This is not because planning is futile, but because all too often, the “planning” is not productive or even necessary. Sitting on your hands and deliberating as to how to go about changing your life can only get you so far in even the best case scenarios.
Don’t Settle For Mediocrity
You’re trying to evolve, not just succeed. There’s a difference.
A growth mindset involves changing how you approach everything you do. This means going hard at the gym, switching to a diet that fuels you instead of weakening you, allocating time to get everything accomplished, setting the bar high for yourself and having the drive to make it all happen.
You’ll notice that when you start living ferociously like this, growth just naturally happens.
Just changing your diet and committing to a hard exercise routine that involves muscle gain, you’re going to naturally cultivate a growth mindset. Body chemistry is half the battle sometimes. If you feel oddly lethargic and unable to find the drive to complete projects and generate positive flow in your life, it might just be that your body and mind is literally off track.
Everything came together for me when I began meditating and committing myself to martial arts. When you work for change in one large area of your life, it tends to bleed over into other parts. Don’t ever settle for just getting by, or mediocrity. You’ll never grow that way.
If you find yourself wanting to take the lesser of two roads, resist it. Remember what I said about making mistakes and failing. There’s no reason not to take a challenge head on or attempt to evolve past what you are now. Don’t wait to make important life changes for the better. Don’t wait to cut out toxic people from your life. Don’t wait to open that new business. Don’t wait to start a plant-based diet or bulking regime.
The key to growth mindset is that you are not limited to what you are now. You can adapt, you can evolve, you can change. Your mind is the primary tool of this change, and as long as you are open and receptive to the possibility, that change can be manifested.
Make Evolving a Priority
You should always be striving to better yourself physically, mentally, and spiritually. This is one of the core aspects of ancient wisdom traditions, as well as martial arts and yoga. Personal evolution shouldn’t be a fad, or a hobby, or something you do just to meet a certain goal and then quit.
Growth is achieved easily when evolution because your constant state of being. Always look for ways to learn, better yourself, grow stronger.
Thirst for knowledge is a big one here, and it didn’t really open up for me until I started meditating on a regular basis. Meditation has a tendency to open the mind, allowing digestion and understanding of knowledge easier. From this, you begin to see how important learning is in general.
Physical training works in a similar fashion. Part of the reason why many people don’t like the idea of “working out” is because they find it to be a fruitless tedium that doesn’t really result in anything.
The issue is that they aren’t going that extra mile to ensure progress. You have to lift weights, tear muscle, learn balance, push your body to its limits so you can evolve past those limits. Once you see the results of your training, it’s easy to love physical training and it becomes just as fun as anything else that’s rewarding. It starts with the mind, though.
The seed of personal evolution has to be planted in a fertile mind. When you take on the growth mindset, evolution naturally follows, because you are at a point where you are allowing your Self to evolve past the limits you imposed in the first place. Take away those limits and there’s no limit to your growth potential.
The founder of Digital Sages, Matt has an extensive background in self-mastery and has authored several books on the subject. His goal is to demystify important esoteric subjects and help people transform their lives through self-awareness and personal empowerment.