Everything we are saying here is just words. You can choose to harken to them or to dismiss them as hearsay. But if you decide to change what you have internalized if it’s not in alignment with the growth mindset that God created each one of us with, you will see the change sooner than you expect. If you have the growth mindset, I encourage you: keep doing the right thing. It will pay off over time.
Truth #1 – Success comes with learning
The Bible speaks profusely about learning and the benefits of learning. Listen to this passage: “The heart of the wise teaches his mouth, And adds learning to his lips.” (Proverbs 16: 23) Those that make history, in art, science, politics, religion, or sports learn without ceasing. They learn new skills and new abilities and apply them immediately to whatever project they are working on.
I belong to elite networking groups with important individuals. Not to brag! Everyone can be in these groups if you have a teachable heart and long for something different. But what I see from these groups is that we are always learning.
We learn from each other, we study each other’s success stories and challenges, and we read life-changing books, constantly. This is how we grow. Thomas Stanley, the author of the millionaire mind and the millionaire next door, says that one trait millionaires have in common is that they read one book every month. You are not certainly trying to become a millionaire, but if you read a book a month, you would excel in your area.
It is so beautiful to watch babies in their first efforts. They try, they fail, they try again. And what do we tell them when they start to try a new skill? Yes, you can do this. So, if babies never decide to give up because it’s too hard to walk, how come we, adults, knowing what joy learning can bring, do we decide to never try new constructive things?
Truth #2 – Why people stop learning
The reason people stop learning is that they fear to make mistakes. Even though English is one of the two official languages of my country of origin, by personal choice, people speak only one language depending on where they grow up. Either they speak French, or they speak English. You gotta decide to learn the other language and master it to speak it. In high school and college, people leave the room when the language teacher enters. Those same people who refused to make effort ask me today how I did it to speak fluently both languages. Again, I am not bragging because everyone can do it. Do not be afraid of making mistakes.
You can spot a fixed mindset in a child as young as four. They never try difficult toys. They choose easy activities and think that they are not smart when they cannot figure something out. It is your call as a parent to encourage them and tell them it’s okay to make mistakes and learn from our mistakes. If you want a recommendation from me, I am not an expert in parenting, but buy your kids a jigsaw puzzle and see them through. Fixed mindsets will not enjoy the difficulty of this game.
When your children are done with the easiest puzzle, ask them to choose either to keep doing the easiest or to move up to the next. If they choose to keep doing the easiest, don’t worry, just find a way to tell them that they are not learning anything more by doing the same thing where they mastered the skills already. At that time, they are just having fun; they are not learning. It is more fun to learn something we don’t already know and figure it out. Don’t take my word for it. Check this out.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter, But the glory of kings is to search out a matter.” (Proverbs 25: 2) Why would God conceal a matter for men and have them search out the matter? God has the sense of humor. He is also the perfect instructor. He knows that if everything is disclosed to us we won’t learn, and we won’t grow. Also, we won’t enjoy life.
If someone brings you a challenging game for you to play and tells you all the tricks on how to figure it out, how much will you desire to play that game? What do we tell our most-talkative child who wants to tell us everything about the movie we are about to watch together?
“Okay, honey, can I just enjoy the surprise?”
It is fun to learn new skills.
Truth #3 – How to approach life smartly
Being skilled and smart doesn’t even mean not missing a task or giving the wrong answer or engaging yourself in the wrong activity. Being smart is also not knowing what the right thing to do is and trying it anyway. If you sit in the classroom and dare not to raise your hand when you are not sure of your answer, chances are you will not learn much. If no one else gives your answer for you to learn whether it was wrong or right, guess what, you will never know either. But when you give an answer, you will know if it was right or wrong. More importantly, you will know what the right answer is. And if you really can’t find anything to say, then ask for help, still, and admit that you have no idea what the answer is, and that you need some guidance finding it. Every instructor will appreciate that. Admitting our limitations is a sign of maturity.
How often do you seek help? In today’s world, there is an overwhelming amount of information everywhere you turn. If we want to know, we will know. But we need to look for knowledge. It is important that we be ready to learn. Remember I told you that those that become wealthy read at least one book a month? And these are not just novels to see who marries the princess. I’m talking about self-help books that will teach you a skill, an ability, or a principle. Learning is growing and vice versa.
Do you believe you can change something in your life even when you are the wealthiest, healthiest, most attractive, and most powerful person alive? We were made perfect by our Creator, but our ways have been corrupted by the devil, therefore we are no longer perfect. There is always something to improve in us.
Truth #4 – Take it from sports players
I hear that sports players train for hours a day. Why would the best player in the world, who has won five times the same title, train again? He is already the dream of every freshman.
You may be someone’s dream but if you stop training, that same person will grow, and you will shrink. I know that sounds competitive, but life is a constant competition against the clock. We may not compete against each other, but we compete against the clock. Do one thing every day no matter how small it is. It will add up over time. Growing is being consistent and steady.
Those that have a fixed mindset don’t agree to learning even when they are aware of their limitations. They think that going back to school is an admission of their weakness and unintelligence. I remember when I was a journalist hearing one of my coworkers say that he was done with college. He would not go back for a master’s degree knowing that his peers would be his instructors. And by this he meant that as he went out into the professional world after graduating from college, his classmates continued and were now teaching in the same schools. So, he didn’t want to be their student. This guy was good. He was very talented, and I have a great deal of respect for him. But he made a statement I wouldn’t recommend.
Now, am I saying that you must go back to conventional school to show that you have a growth mindset? No. You don’t have to pursue a degree just to show off. But if you stop learning, you will stop growing. The Bible says that the lack of knowledge produces destruction. And reading a good book a month will equip you sometimes more than those students who have to read books on the topic they hate just because it is mandatory.I couldn’t care less about statistics. But if you want a Ph.D. in my field, you need to study statistics with vigor. Education is finding equilibrium, not unnecessary instruction.
Truth #5 – Get help if you need it
If you feel that you need help in an area, seek that help unabashedly. If you need to go back to conventional school, do so even when your former classmates are going to be your instructors. If you need to learn a skill, do learn that skill with vigor.
You can spot people with different mindsets in their attitude. People with the growth mindset will have a certain attitude and those with a fixed mindset will have a different attitude. When you confront both with their mistakes, the way they react will tell you something about them. I am not talking about a single occasion but about a trend. We can all have different ways of appreciating people when they confront us with our mistakes. But you can tell people apart, who will welcome a feedback and who will just show little interest.
To know if someone shows little attention to feedbacks, they will only listen when you tell them whether their answer or action was right or wrong. Of course, if it was right, they will illuminate. If it was wrong, they will either disconnect or just disregard your comment as an unsolicited opinion. Know yourself and accept criticism even when it is unconstructive.