Growth mindset is important: how to cultivate one for success

growth mindset
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Maybe, like me, you’ve known people with a fixed rather than growth mindset. People who believe we come into this world fully formed and can’t change.

They’re not interested in self-help because they don’t see any way to improve. Rather than looking at the “log in their own eye”, they point the finger at shortcomings of others.

That doesn’t mean they think they’re perfect. Just that there’s nothing they can do about their flaws. They feel helpless to change weaknesses they believe to be ingrained.

Fixed mindset people see flaws as reminders of how they can’t change. How they’re “stuck” with what they’ve got.

These are the people in your life who mock failure and avoid it at all cost. That would be too costly to their fragile sense of self.

They rarely go outside their comfort zones, and stick to topics that won’t challenge them too much.

If you have a growth mindset, however, you see your weaknesses as opportunities. Here are three ways to have a growth mindset and how that sets you up for success.

1. Learn from your mistakes

Growth mindset people learn best from their mistakes. They see failure as an opportunity to grow and a necessary step on the path to success.

Growth mindset people learn best from their mistakes. They see failure as an opportunity to grow and a necessary step on the path to success. Click To Tweet

Failure, to people with a growth mindset, could even be considered success because it denotes that you tried.

It gives you information you can use to plot your next step in the right direction.

Thomas Edison famously said, “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” This is a perfect example of a growth mindset.

“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”

Thomas Edison

2. Know you can change

Changing beliefs as life marches on is another example of a growth mindset.

Fixed mindset people see their set of beliefs as, well, fixed. They scoff at those whose viewpoints change, attacking their character as weak or hypocritical.

Nothing could be further from the truth! Having the honesty and integrity to admit that you were wrong, or that your values have shifted, takes tremendous courage.

To stick to the same unexamined ideology means compromising truth for the sake of propping up a weak self-image.

To stick to the same unexamined ideology means compromising truth for the sake of propping up a weak self-image. Click To Tweet

Fixed mindset people think their beliefs define them so they refuse to change. Even in the face of evidence that their view needs revising.

Instead, they double down and dig their heels in deeper. This irrational clinging to a flimsy belief keeps the fixed mindset person stuck and floundering.

growth mindset

3. Growth mindset people like a challenge

Fixed mindset people tend to surround themselves with those who affirm their false sense of self.

While growth mindset people are more likely to enjoy the company of those who challenge them.

The latter view friendly criticism as helpful because it shows them how to improve. They may even prefer it to praise which they see as offering no opportunity for growth.

As you may have guessed, fixed mindset people handle criticism poorly. They see it as an attack on their sense of self, rather than a neutral comment or one with positive intent.

Fixed mindset is based so much on how others perceive us. There’s an element of people pleasing that defines the person’s whole character.

That’s why if you know these people you may notice their obsession with image or how they appear to others.

To them, life is about seeming smart and successful. That means avoiding any risk of public humiliation or vulnerability.

It seems like a very hollow way to live. One that quashes the true self in favor of others’ opinions. A life with little truth, integrity, or inner peace.

How to know your life purpose and how not to pick the wrong one

life purpose
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What is your life purpose? It’s easy to become obsessed with finding your unique purpose. And scared of picking the wrong one.

Asking for a sign is rarely the right way to go. What if we’ve already got our heart set on something?

We’ll say anything is a sign to get the green light to pursue our own will.

Discovering your life purpose can be a journey rather than a destination. It’s an ongoing discipline to pursue God’s plan for your life.

Discovering your life purpose can be a journey rather than a destination. It's an ongoing discipline to pursue God's plan for your life. Click To Tweet

Here are 5 ways to gain clarity on your life purpose.

1. Listen.

Prayer and quiet time help draw you closer to God. Bring your requests and wait for the response.

Listen to that voice inside that’s leading the way. Whether you call it God, the universe, or your intuition, you’re more likely to hear when you listen closely.

2. Pay attention to the desires of your heart.

That doesn’t mean you’ll have everything you want. But your heart’s desires can give clues as to what you’re supposed to move toward.

life purpose

3. Use your gifts.

Don’t pretend to be something you’re not, like an extrovert when you’re an introvert. God created us all differently to fulfil different roles in the world.

Your life purpose will involve using your gifts. So, hone your talents rather than ignoring them. Or spending too much time improving your weaknesses.

4. Have faith.

This is a hard one. In my experience, God requires me to step out in faith before the net appears.

The assurance never comes before I take the risk. Even when it doesn’t make any earthly sense.

This works in reverse as well. If doors are closing, perhaps there’s a reason. Resist the urge to force them open.

That would be insisting on your own will rather than having faith that your time will come. Learn how to discern between a healthy challenge and a truly closed door.

5. Accountability.

Seek friends or a small group who will encourage and support you on your journey. Surround yourself with like-minded people who want to see you grow.

How to express negative emotions without shame, for good health

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In the novel Brave New World, people took soma to keep negative emotions at bay.

Written in the 1930s, the book prophesied the advent of anti-depressants like Prozac. Those medications designed to lift us out of debilitating depression and anxiety.

Over the years, society has become less tolerant of people expressing their feelings. Unless, of course, those feelings are joyful.

Books like The Secret have made us fearful of entertaining negative thoughts. Our thoughts dictate our reality, it warns. So, if we give into sadness, we risk bringing calamity upon ourselves.

Shame over expressing emotions

I’ve had many instances of shame directed my way when I expressed negative feelings. I’ve been called a downer and advised to focus on the positive instead.

But is that not asking someone to deny reality? We are lying to ourselves when we take such a Pollyanna approach to life.

As we’ve seen in other posts on this blog, refusing to tell the truth about our negative circumstances can manifest as disease in the body.

Like The Secret in reverse, your body takes on the burden of those untruths. And it could result in serious illness.

You might train your mind to lie to you through the power of positive thinking. But this refusal to face reality results in adverse effects like chronic illness in middle age.

Some women go straight from raising children to caring for elderly parents. With barely a chance to breathe in between.

They’ve let their needs go unmet and unspoken for a lifetime. Until their bodies finally say “enough”!

The exhaustion that accompanies chronic illness could be God’s way of forcing you to rest when you refuse to do so voluntarily.

So, how can we acknowledge our emotions and avoid the health risks that come with suppressing our unpleasant feelings? Here are 5 ways.

1. Journal your emotions.

Set aside regular time to write down your thoughts and feelings. This helps you process your emotions and bring them out into the open.

2. Schedule time alone to process emotions.

Often our busyness is a way to mask or avoid what we’re feeling. To acknowledge our feelings seems like something so monumental it could pull us under.

So we distract ourselves with the minutiae of life, cater to everyone else’s endless needs, and neglect our own.

Creating space in our schedules to simply sit and think is a step in the direction of self care. One that can save us much heartache (and body ache) in future. Click To Tweet

Creating space in our schedules to simply sit and think is a step in the direction of self care. One that can save us much heartache (and body ache) in future.


3. Meditate.

Mindfulness simply means creating space in your mind to let your thoughts roam freely.

Eastern meditation practices dictate not thinking at all, but I don’t put those chains on myself.

Instead, I practice something more akin to western meditation. This includes pondering a relevant Bible verse, using a guided app like Pause, or setting a timer and letting my mind wander.

Suppressed emotions come to the surface quickly when we stop our constant doing. Try not to fight them when they appear, but observe them and let them give you information.

Suppressed emotions come to the surface quickly when we stop our constant doing. Click To Tweet

4. Seek support to work through emotions.

I had to distance myself from “friends” who shamed me for having a range of emotions. I’ve learned who to trust with all my feelings. And who to avoid sharing my deepest thoughts with.

You might seek the support of a therapist to talk through some of your problems. And spending time in the presence of God, the great Counselor, will help you know you’re not alone.

5. Watch a movie.

Search up “films that make you cry” if you need help bringing your emotions to the surface.

Sometimes sharing in someone else’s pain, even a character in a film, can help us get in touch with our own.

A good cry can be cathartic, and a tear-jerker film will help you get those feelings into the open where they belong.

Why it’s better to be an introvert: 5 reasons you’re enough

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Sometimes it seems like the world was made for extroverts. An introvert has to wear a social mask to get anywhere in business or in life.

We’re made to feel weird or deficient in some way because we don’t rush to fill every silence.

But research over the last several years has shown that extroverts are the ones lacking. Introverts have most of what they need inside of them.

That’s why we require less to feel satisfied. We are thrilled with our own company and have a fascinating inner life. Reading a book is plenty for us to feel fulfilled.

Introverts require less to feel satisfied. We are thrilled with our own company and have a fascinating inner life. Click To Tweet

If you’re an introvert, reframe the idea that you’re lacking. It’s actually extroverts who lack the ability to feel satisfied without lots of external stimulation.

What a blessing to be spared the need to go out hunting down excitement every day. We’ve got all the excitement we need within ourselves.

There’s some science behind the introvert desire for less stimulation. It’s in the way we respond to dopamine. We need less of it to feel satiated.

We’re more easily satisfied by quiet pleasures like reading a book or slowly taking in works of art at a museum.

Extroverts tend not to experience the same overwhelming pleasure of these activities.

Have you noticed how extroverts race through art galleries? While introverts easily spend the whole day there.

Here are 5 reasons it’s better to be an introvert:

1. Good listeners

We observe first and talk only when we genuinely have something to contribute. Not to hear the sound of our own voices or, heaven forbid, for attention. We don’t waste words.

We don’t take others’ words at face value. We’re looking for the meaning underneath so we can connect more deeply with the speaker.

Introverts look for the meaning beneath words, so we can connect more deeply with the speaker. Click To Tweet

2. Quality over quantity

Because we dislike small talk, we make deeper connections with fewer people.

We prefer a long conversation with one person over several short chats. Because relationships to us are about so much more than being entertained.


3. Independence

Introverts are very productive when alone. We don’t need anyone else to create great work.

We thrive on extended time alone concentrating on a quiet activity. Writing, for instance, is an ideal mode of expression for an introvert.

4. Patience

Extroverts need short-term rewards in order to keep moving toward a goal. Introverts tend to be more patient and wait for the reward at the end of a long toil.

We seldom make rash decisions. Instead we do research and weigh pros and cons before committing. As a result we are less likely to make decisions we regret.

5. Unassuming

Sometimes, the innate humility of the introvert is due to society making us feel less than.

But we do benefit from our observer status, which prevents us from needing so much attention.

Because introverts don't crave the spotlight, we are seen as more trustworthy with secrets, and less gossipy. Click To Tweet

Because we don’t crave the spotlight we are seen to be more trustworthy with secrets, and less gossipy.

That’s because gossip and revealing secrets are a way to get attention, something introverts actually avoid.

Complex PTSD: how to understand and overcome relational trauma

complex PTSD
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Complex PTSD, first coined in the 90s, generally refers to PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) with additional symptoms.

Complex PTSD describes a response to trauma that has been repeated over and over. It is more commonly seen in sufferers of abuse and neglect in the first 15 years of life.

The fact that the abuse is inflicted by someone who is supposed to take care of the victim separates it from simple PTSD.

The sense of being powerless to escape the situation also plays a part.

Since complex PTSD is so new and under-diagnosed, it can be hard to find help. You may have been going through your whole adult life wondering what’s wrong with you.

But it’s important to note that CPTSD is a normal response to traumatic events. There’s nothing wrong with you if you suffer the effects of complex PTSD.

There's nothing wrong with you if you suffer the effects of complex PTSD. Click To Tweet

It might help to reframe how you feel as a response to trauma rather than a disorder. Not only is this true, it will alleviate some of your misplaced shame or self-blame.

Causes of complex PTSD

If you’re struggling with complex PTSD it helps to know the causes. These include (but are not limited to):

1. Repeated and/or multiple traumas in childhood over a long period of time

2. Situations, like a family home, where escape or rescue were unlikely or impossible

3. Harm suffered at the hands of someone close to you, like a parent or other caregiver

Our normal human responses to these traumas helped us cope as children, or whenever the abuse or neglect occurred.

But, as adults, those coping mechanisms become maladaptive. They hold us back from living the full and happy lives we deserve.

Symptoms of CPTSD:

1. difficulty controlling your emotions

2. feeling like the world is a scary place

3. feeling empty or hopeless

4. feeling worthlessness

5. feeling like no one understands you

6. difficulty forming close relationships

7. disconnection or disassociation. This is a way of coping with stress and events that are too hard to handle. (For me this manifested as maladaptive daydreaming.)

8. suicidal thoughts

9. constantly feeling on high alert which can affect your sleep patterns and make you startle easily

10. loss of systems of meanings. This can refer to a loss of faith in long-held beliefs, like God. It can also refer to a sense of despair or hopelessness in the world.

Self care strategies for complex PTSD

complex PTSD

What can we do to overcome the symptoms of complex PTSD? Here are seven self care strategies to help you cope, so you can live a happier life.

1. Deep breathing to calm yourself when you feel overwhelmed by a flashback or other anxious thoughts.

2. Engage your senses with pleasant smells or tastes to ground yourself.

3. Comfort yourself with a soft blanket, listen to soothing music, or watch a nice movie.

4. Keep a diary to record when you experience flashbacks or dissociative episodes.

(I did this as part of my treatment for maladaptive daydreaming. It helps to take note of what triggers you, so you can find patterns and make sense of it all.)

5. Find support.

This could mean telling a trusted friend, pastor or counselor. Or it could lead you to a support group or online forum.

6. Take care of your health.

Eat a balanced diet and exercise for 30 minutes most days. Getting outside for your physical activity is especially helpful. Nature has proven healing effects.

7. Set boundaries.

Be kind to yourself by setting healthy boundaries with the people who have harmed you.

It’s okay to spend time by yourself while you’re recovering. Or say no to family events that make you feel unsafe.

Only you know what level of contact to uphold with your abusers, if any.

Consider releasing the desire for validation from the people who hurt you. They may never own up to what they did.

It’s within your power to forgive them anyway. Forgiveness releases you from the unhealthy bonds that bind you to them.

It’s a gift you give yourself and an essential aspect of your healing.

*Please note I’m not a licensed therapist. These views are formed from my own experience and research, and do not replace the advice of a professional.