What Can You Learn Today? Benefits of a Growth Mindset
I am a lifelong learner. I devour books and TED talks and podcasts. I love workshops and classes. This year, I decided to do a deep dive into learning with a year-long program at Stanford. I’m learning about sleep and dreams, 19th century history, meditation … and so much more.
It’s energizing and honestly, a little exhausting. I’m learning to be a student again: finding my way around campus, reading a lot, writing papers, taking part in discussions, meeting new people. I’m exploring new ideas and topics. I’m also exploring ideas on topics that had already been of interest, like flourishing and mindset. I have so much I want to share with you from my learning. But first I want to turn the table to you.
What Have You Learned Lately
You don’t have to be in a formal program to learn. Learning is largely about mindset and openness. James Clear said, “The surest way to prevent yourself from learning a topic is to believe you already know it.” It’s easy to think we know things, to get caught in routines and past experience.
It can be uncomfortable, frustrating, even, but opening to new ideas and practices leads to growth.
Think about what you’ve learned lately. It could be as simple as a fun fact. It could be an idea that you are still exploring. Maybe you made a connection between two places or people. Maybe you started learning a new instrument or language. Or maybe somebody showed you an easier way to do something with your phone. It’s all learning.
Do You Have a Growth Mindset?
A growth mindset is often contrasted with a fixed mindset. People with a growth mindset embrace challenges, keep going when faced with setbacks, see effort as the way to success or mastery, learn from criticism, and find inspiration and learn from the success of others.
Carol Dweck says, “The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.” Here’s her TED talk, if you want to learn more about growth mindset.
Instead of “I can’t” or “I’m not good at …,” a growth mindset says, “Not yet” or “I’m working on it.” Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone to learn something new is a worthy challenge.
3 Ways to Learn and Grow
I’ll admit, it can be uncomfortable learning new things or being a beginner, but there is so much to be gained if we push through that discomfort. Here are a few ideas for getting started.
- Dive (or dip a toe) into what you want to know. What’s something you’ve been interested in? Take one step today to start learning more. You could sign up for a class, check a book out of the library, email somebody you know who knows about your topic. It could be anything: French art, starting a business, raising chickens, Ukrainian history, wet felting, modern dance … Just start exploring. You could even start by journaling about specific questions or things you wonder or want to know.
- Forget what you know. Start by thinking like a beginner again. Get curious. Ask questions. Try a new way of doing things. You can actually be a beginner by trying something new — or you can make a fresh start with something you have experience with.
Check your mindset. Next time you hear yourself saying, “I’m just not good at …” check yourself. Get curious. Explore that area. What can you try? What can you learn? Ask: Can you show me how to … or watch a YouTube video or read or take a class. Go in with the idea “not yet.”
3 Steps to Having a Meaningful Life You Love
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Hi, I’m Melanie!
I’m a Journaling and Joy Coach and I believe your story is the key to the life you want.
I guide my clients through intentional processes to find the answers waiting for you in your stories, bringing compassion, deep listening — and fun — to the process.
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