In the last lesson, we talked about the balance between short-term and long-term goals. This lesson’s going to talk about how, exactly, to plant a seed that will get you closer to your long-term goals.
More specifically, we’ll talk about different mindsets that can truly change your life.
In your day-to-day life, you’ve started listening to yourself. You’ve learned how to set SMART goals, invest in your emotional bank account, and make and keep small promises to yourself. You know when to switch off the noisy radio channel that says you’re not “good enough”. You’ve created a more sustainable relationship to yourself by using a more powerful vocabulary that helps you see the light in difficult situations.
If you’re a gardener you know how important it is to prepare the soil. Your mindset is the soil – the place where your dreams, goals and ideas grow. Now it’s up to you to do something about it.
The More You Plant, the More You Grow
This is as close as personal development gets to a proven law.
More seeds = more growth.
The more you plant, the more you grow. It’s simple, but rarely easy. You must choose your seeds wisely and care for them wholeheartedly. Protect your seeds from the wind and other rough conditions.
But more than anything, believe in your seed with utter conviction and bring it into the world.
Think of Your Seed as a Gift
I like the word “seed” because it has a tone of potential attached to it. All the world’s greatest inventions – from the wheel to the iPod – grew from a small idea. . These ideas wouldn’t see the light of day unless their creators cared for them and made them a reality.
See your seed as your gift to the world. It’s part of your legacy, something that people can remember you by. Your seed is something that will outlive you long after you’re dead. It’s the sum of all your efforts; it’s the tree that stands tall in the sky and inspires others to listen to their own dreams and plant their seeds.
What’s Your Seed?
A great seed is an idea, a dream, or a goal that only you can grow. Combine all your experiences, all your strengths, and zoom in on that mission and try your hardest to make it a reality.
You owe the world and your fellow friends this gift. Write the book only you can write. Sing the song only you can sing. Speak up. Don’t let your voice become a silent echo. Make it count.
When you focus on your strengths and plant your seeds, you make a real difference. And yes, this is not going to happen overnight. This is not a race for the hare; this is a marathon for the tortoise that’s sleeping inside of you. Wake him up and start walking. Every step you take on that road will be rewarding and worthwhile. (For more information on how to make the most of your strengths, check out the post “How to Grow Your Strengths“).
If you don’t know what seeds you want to plant, don’t worry. Look around you. Explore other people’s dreams. Read books. Watch movies. Speak to people you admire and ask them where they get their ideas from.
Writer and cartoonist Austin Kleon has some really great tips on how to find your seeds. In his book, Steal Like an Artist, he suggests you create a family tree of ideas. In other words, you trace people whose ideas you really like and you steal them. You can’t steal from only one person – that would be plagiarism – instead, you steal from several different people and build on their work. Another less sexy word for that is research.
As Bréne Brown points out: you need to DIG. Get Deliberate. Get Inspired. Get Going.
Are you digging a hole for your seeds? If you don’t have anywhere to put your seeds, then how will you make them grow?
Adopt the Growth Mindset
One of the most important investments you can make is to adopt a growth mindset. Your life will never be the same again. But what exactly does it mean?
Standford researcher Carol S. Dweck has the answer. In her must-read book Mindset, she compares the fixed mindset to the growth mindset, and the results are astonishing.
The fixed mindset holds that we are born the way we are. In other words, we’re given a certain amount of intelligence, artistic abilities, and talents. But here’s the trick: we can’t do anything to improve them. These parts are built into our system, and can’t be replaced, modified or changed.
The growth mindset holds that we’re a work-in-progress. We have certain strengths and talents, but we must nurture these gifts to make the most of them. Remember Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hour rule? Yup, with the growth mindset, we must do the work, but we don’t care about that, because the work is the fun part.
Both views are valid, but one will make you happier than the other. Dweck has shown over and over again that people with a growth mindset are more likely to seek out new challenges. They’re generally more happy and fulfilled than people with a fixed mindset.
Do you want to see growth mindset in action? You don’t have to go far. Look at a healthy child who’s learning to walk for the first time. Is she giving up? Can you imagine her saying: “Hey, this walking thing is really not something for me. I wasn’t made to walk. I’m a total failure, I’ll have to crawl for the rest of my life.”
The very idea is absurd! Of course, the baby would continue to try. She wouldn’t give up until she could put one foot in front of the other. That’s the growth mindset in action.
The fixed mindset is a different kettle of fish. It hinders our growth and stops us from moving forward because we take every setback personally.
The fixed mindset is heavy to carry around and puts a lot of pressure on our emotional bank account.
The fixed mindset is no fun. Why? Because you start blaming yourself for all your mistakes. If you didn’t succeed with your goal, there must be something wrong with you. Perhaps you think that “I’m just not a very creative person” or “I’m so stupid”. Yes, the fixed mindset makes those “not enough” tapes spin around in your head, and they do you no good.
You’re much better off adopting a growth mindset. You’re here to learn from your mistakes, listen to yourself, and grow your seeds.
Next time we’ll learn one final lifehack that will turn your dreams into reality. It’s a simple ingredient that every successful person knows how to use to their full advantage, but most mediocre people don’t. Best of all, you can use it to improve all areas of your life.
If having a dream is planting your seed, then this is the trick that is the “fertiliser” that gets you the best results. Don’t miss it!
Catch you next time!
All the best,
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