One of the individuals whom I consider as an ideal candidate representing the “Growth Mindset” is Helen Keller. As a lecturer, writer and political activist. she holds a beacon of hope to all those who are blind, deaf or both. To the general public, she became an inspiration.
Born with the ability to hear and see, Helen lost both these abilities when she fell ill before she was two years. This affected her speech development. Had she succumbed to a belief that she is now forever doomed to live in ignorance and misery because of her condition, she would not be known as whom we know her.
She was a remarkable individual who wrote several articles and 12 of her books were published. She also travelled the world as a spokesperson for the emancipation of those who are deaf and blind and women’s rights. Helen was also the first known deaf and blind person to get a bachelor of arts degree.
In all fairness, if she had given up the desire to make the best of her life, none would have felt surprised considering the profound challenges she faced. But what she did was not just work hard to make the best of her life, but she also had refused to indulge in any “Blame Game”.
Refusing to play the “Blame Game” in any situation
Playing the “Blame Game” may provide temporary relief but it merely acts as a relief to our ego. It neither tunes our mind to focus harder on what we need to work on or accept our shortcomings with grace. Before we indulge in this negative vicious “game”, asking ourselves the value of this mindless exercise can enable us to change our thinking. This will not only help us think logically but also keep our mind on the objective and purpose of our efforts in the situation.
Imbibe the use of Positive Language and Affirmations in our life.
Our use of language can not only help us emerge out of a “Victim Mindset” but it can play a valuable tool in overcoming what we call as “Fixed Mindset”. A “Fixed Mindset” is when we believe that since our basic qualities are “fixed”, there is no scope for improving them. Unlike a Growth Mindset, those with Fixed Mindset tend to become comfortable in the current state of knowledge they are in. It is through steady efforts, we can elevate our approach to life and enjoy a Growth Mindset. This is an ideal mindset that can nurture us to focus on learning and development and positive energy as we journey through life.
The usage of words or phrases like never, hopeless, not good, just bad, awful, terrible and useless can be replaced with words that convey the meaning we wish to but without the aura of negativity. The replacement of these undesirable words with equally effective but positive words and phrases like dissatisfied, lack preference, challenging, prioritise etc can reinforce our deep desire to develop and grow.
As we all know, condemning, condescending and contemptuous language have an effect of taking away the confidence and self-esteem of the listener. So just like how we take care to speak positively to others through the use of refined language, the manner we speak to ourselves is also crucial.
Instead of telling ourselves that we were awful and that’s why we handled a situation poorly, telling ourselves that we could have been better, enables us to look at ourselves less harshly. This does not imply that we reduce our efforts in improving and becoming the best we can but it simply means that we are accessing our performance realistically and respectfully just like we would appraise another person’s performance.
“Affirmations” can be defined as statements that actively promote positive thinking, a healthy mental attitude and promote create self-empowerment. By linking visualization with positive affirmations, we create a greater level of motivation in ourselves to achieve our goal or dream. Two examples of positive affirmations are – “I live my life to the best of my ability” and “I learn from my mistakes”.
A Growth Mindset teaches us resilience and a passion for progress and development. Individuals like Helen Keller, the Late Indian Scientist and President Dr.Abdul Kalam, American Talk Show Host and Philanthropist Oprah Winfrey and Indian Super Star Rajnikanth are few of the many personalities who remind us that when life throws challenges, refuse to give up.