Growth Mindset Activities: A Guide to Kick Start a Growth Mindset.
(part 2 of 2)
Mount Everest: an analogy to understanding Growth Mindset activities.
1. Building an image of what you want / love in your mind.
Similar to wanting to climb Mount Everest, we know that we want to accomplish something that is outside our comfort zone. If the goal isn’t outside our comfort zone then we wouldn’t be growing as we pursue it. However, we are able to choose how far outside our comfort zone this goal exists – to start, we either choose a massive Mount Everest goal to tackle or smaller goals that prepare and grows us slowly for tackling the large Mount Everest goal. Whichever path you choose, still grows you as a person to accomplishing certain goals because they are purposeful actions.
The key to building the image in your mind so that you actually want to take action on it is to build/view it as if you are already in possession of it and that you absolutely love doing, being or having it in your life.
As a suggestion, take a piece of paper and sit in a quiet place where you won’t be distracted and ask yourself this question:
“One day/month/year from now, what would I love to have accomplished or completed that would make me feel absolutely amazing and wonderful because it just resonates so naturally with the spirit of who I am?”
Jot down some ideas that pop in your mind.
Now, write out and describe what emotions you would “experience” if these things happened right now, at this very moment, and also continue to describe how this could help other people around you. Also, understand that you don’t have to know right now how to achieve it because if it’s something new and a little bit out of your comfort zone you technically haven’t done anything like this before. Therefore, it makes sense not to know how to achieve it just yet.
Just like climbing Mount Everest, you may have some vague idea where to start (the preparing and training) but you won’t know all the exact steps forward right now. Hence, it’s a journey.
Continue through all steps for more clarification.
The image that we built in step 1 must continuously be entertained in our minds so that we reach a point of believing that we can do it or gaining the sense and thought that “doing this is possible for me”. This is the purpose of visualization (visualization is a purposeful action). It helps us believe that we are able to do it and if we have just an ounce that we are able to do it we’ll start taking some action towards it.
Believing that we can do something, in essence, means that we feel some positive emotion towards accomplishing it. The larger the goal; the more time you’ll spend visualizing to develop the belief that you can do it.
Similar to viewing yourself at the top of Everest, it aids in the general start of taking the first step forward to accomplishing the goal. We may not know how many steps it will take to get there or how long it will take but we will get there with purposeful steps towards the top. We can only start where we think we should start and that will take us to the next point in our journey of accomplishing the goal – Each step forward, with your foot, is a purposeful action because each step is taking you up to the summit.
However, if you start walking down Mount Everest, it’s no longer purposeful action steps – it’s just wasting time.
The description that you created in step 1 essentially painted a picture in your mind that has some positive emotions attached to it because it’s something you would love to exist in your life. The more you remind yourself of that “experience”/positive emotion the more you’ll start to believe in the idea that you can do it. Thus, visualization builds stronger connections between your imagination (your created image from step 1) and your feelings towards these images that you have created.
With the same idea that the emotion of fear can stop someone in their tracks, the emotion of love or happiness can initiate someone to take action.
3. Build gratitude towards your present and future results.
This is a continuation of visualization because it further strengthens your emotional connection between your created image/s and your feelings associated with it. It is so easy for you to feel wonderful positive feelings and then immediately start feeling negative and destructive feelings towards your created image/s. The switch occurs when you start imagining things going wrong – you’re trying to answer the “unknown” of the future with questions like:
“What if it doesn’t work out?”
“What if this goes wrong?”
“What if this doesn’t happen?”
When we start asking questions like these our imagination just “shows” us or creates scenarios of everything that could go wrong.
The same is true if we just ask the opposite of these questions:
“What if it does work out?”
“What if it goes right?”
What if this does happen?
Now our imagination starts ‘showing’ or creating images of things that can go well. It may not come as quickly in our minds only due to the fact that we don’t often practice using our imagination to ‘see’ the good things that can happen to us.
Gratitude strengthens and focuses our imagination to deliberately look at how well things can go for us. We can use these statements for things that have recently happened or we can use it to describe our created image from step 1.
Use statements like:
“I love that _______ has happened!”
“I am so happy that ________ came through”
“I am grateful that _________ exists in my life because _____”
For example, Mount Everest situation where we looked back at how far we have traveled already.
Looking back down the mountain after a few hours of travel:
“I love that we have already covered this much distance in a few short hours.”
Then looking up the mountain to scan our way forward:
“I love that we can cover this much distance in a few short hours.”
These statements help us focus and apply our attention and imagination on the constructive and positive aspects of a situation. It enforces that we take as many purposeful actions as possible and purposeful actions is what gets us the results that we want.
Gratitude also helps us strengthen the positive emotions that we associated with the created image from step 1.
4. Research and expressing yourself with small actions every single day – purposeful actions.
If you follow the above steps, you will at some point, depending on how large a goal that you set for yourself, start gaining the belief that you could actually do this (i.e. accomplish your goal). You’ll most likely and naturally, start asking questions about how to achieve this or where to start. These are “signs” to start taking purposeful action.
The research towards accomplishing something is helping you understand a clearer picture of what to expect so that you can start “preparing and training for the journey”.
Similarly to the Mount Everest story, a person would do as much research as they possibly can to prepare them mentally and physically. No one would just start walking up Mount Everest in a pair of jeans and a sandwich in their backpack. They understand that they need some questions answered first before they attempt the journey to reach the summit.
The research won’t convey a clear step-by-step blueprint of how to climb it but it will provide a direction towards the mental and physical tools and skills that are required as a minimum to succeed. The use of these tools and skills will need practice to efficiently help them with what issues may lie ahead of them.
Research builds a clearer way forward to knowing what purposeful action you should take to achieve the desired goal. Once you’ve gathered enough information you’ll have a clearer understanding of what your first or next step is.
The only thing stopping you is the decision to go for it - to apply your time, energy and creativity to fully accomplishing it.
It makes it easier to handle your goal when your research shows what is vaguely required of you to accomplish this goal. Just turn your research into mini goals and the take it one purposeful step at a time - one foot after the other towards the top.
Tell yourself that you are grateful for having read this because you landed on this page because you had some questions that needed answering. You have already taken purposeful action towards what you want to achieve just by trying to clarify your thoughts.
You have essentially gained more direction – well done!