I am going to ask you a series of questions. I want you to say yes or no. Don’t overthink them. Just say what is most appropriate.
- Your family is in a place where you can’t do anything to improve your condition.
- You can try a few things, but you don’t see how these are going to improve your family’s condition.
- Even though your family is prosperous right now, you can still improve a thing or two to put your family at a more stable situation.
- You can always improve the emotional stability of your family.
Remember this, if you think you cannot or you can, you are right. Maybe that is how Henry Ford said it. If you can change something in your family, you can do the same in your career, your business, your spiritual situation, or your health. Let’s do the same exercise again. Say yes or no.
- You are who you are, nothing can change you.
- You may be who you are, but we all need some change.
- You want to try new things just for fun, nothing will change you.
- Some basic transformation can take place in you if you want to.
How many yeses did you get? How we perceive change depends on the mental state in which we are. When you have a fixed mindset, you will focus on how others see you. You want to keep a certain look, a certain stature, and a certain identity. When you have a growth mindset, you will focus on improving you and improving others that depend on you.
Do you this?
Let me give you some hints with which you will determine if you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset. Do you always prove your point to make sure you are right? We don’t always have to be right. Are you constantly impulsive upon your actions, and do you seek ways to make your next actions better than the first? I am not asking you to be over-judgmental about yourself, but I’m asking you to seek ways to improve who you are.
When you are put on the spot, before you react, think about this: how can this be my opportunity to help myself and the other person? Even when someone is clearly trying to make you mad or sad or ashamed, you can still react in a way that will help you and help them. A growth mindset will see what appears to be negative as an opportunity in disguise. Being put on the spot doesn’t necessarily have a negative impact on the growth mindset.
When we get out of college or high school and land on the job market, we expect a well-paying job, in a nice office, with a recognizable name brand as our employer. We expect this to validate our value. Nothing bad about having all this glamour. But does it really show our value?
When we pray for a spouse, we expect a spotless individual, sent from heaven to us, with the best smile, sexy teeth that are artistically put in place, who walks like a majesty, and talks like a knight or queen. All this to prove that we are someone extra-ordinary. But is this the mark of our extra-ordinary self? Jesus already valued our life by saying that even our hair cannot go down in a comb without heaven’s permission (emphasis added.) Our value is in God’s hand. We just need to express it with confidence. The mirage we come out with from college will have to stop somewhere.
Speaking of glamour. You must understand, in case you haven’t yet, that work is changing. The time when we walked or drove to the corporate building and took a seat in our office are about gone. Work is now evolving. As I’m writing this piece, I am running my business from my laptop and the small round table of my dining room. Are you upset about that? Is the value of this product gone down because of that? It shouldn’t bother you.
In addition to my business, I am the director of research and development of a company working with over ten big Fortune 500 companies. I do most of my work from the same setting I told you earlier. I don’t need to go to the office to do my job perfectly well. Do you think someone would pay me good money working in this condition if they don’t feel satisfied with what I do? Glamour is no longer what it used to be. If work can change this drastically in a generation, why wouldn’t we change our mindset?
Are you expecting a finite product?
Nothing will ever come to you as a finite product. I was fortunate to talk to a brother the other day about marriage. We agreed that whomever we marry is a work in progress. In fact, said we, if we found a finite product, how proud would we be with that person? Shouldn’t we put our touch on the piece of art we will enjoy for the rest of our life? Yes, your spouse is the divine piece of art for your goodness. No job will come without challenge. It is how and what life is.
Even when you think you deserve more and better, accept what is. Right now, just take orders from that guy who didn’t go to your Ivy League and who dropped out of college. He is your boss. There is nothing to prove to anyone. Be teachable. The best blessings go to the teachable heart. I’m talking here as a preacher, but these things are relevant in theology, psychology, or coaching.
We all have a choice to make in life. A fixed mindset will tell you to choose a finite product you may never find, and when you do find it, you may not enjoy it; the growth mindset will help you accept the challenge of life and enjoy the work it entails.
What happens when you accept challenge?
When you accept challenge, it doesn’t mean that you are a defeatist. Quite the contrary. It doesn’t mean that this is where your glass ceiling is. Quite the contrary. Accepting challenge without trying to prove or validate yourself means you are willing to learn something and stretch yourself. And boy, do we need to learn constantly even from our subordinates!
The more we learn, the more we grow. Sometimes, life will just take us places we will need to learn new things. Those times are when we feel as we are failing, or it could be where our life reaches a total stop. Nothing that we try is working. We are ashamed to share our situation because we think we will disappoint someone who held us in the highest esteem. But that is not true: a temporary insufficient result does not define your value.
Don’t batter your eyelid when Brazil is disqualified by a second-grade soccer country in the world cup. In sports, losing a competition does not mean the end of the world. It just means there is something we didn’t do well. We go back, disappointed for sure, but we go back and train some more.
If you find yourself in a world where people regard effort as a curse or a sign that you are not qualified enough or even smart, then run away from that world. They will keep your genius in the box. Have nothing to do with them. Get a ticket to go to a world where effort sharpens talent and position people as leaders in their fields. No one can become a leader without effort. Study history and see who has become a well-known individual without really putting effort in their art. Chances are you will find none. In our coaching program at Act On Your Dream Today, we tell people this: Don’t look at those who are born with a million dollars in the account for them, even they have to make effort to keep that money growing. Give a million dollars to someone who doesn’t like effort and come back a year later. They will be a shadow of themselves.