“Suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into a better shape.”
Charles Dickens (Author, Great Expectations)
“It is better by noble boldness to run the risk of being subject to half of the evils we anticipate than to remain in cowardly listlessness for fear of what might happen.”
Herodotus (Ancient Greek Historian and Author)
“Life is inherently risky. There is only one big risk you should avoid at all costs, and that is the risk of doing nothing.”
Denis Waitley (Author, The Psychology of Winning)
I’d never been out of the country.
I was 30 years old and trapped in a small town.
I used to sit at my desk at work and sneakily look at pictures of Australia and Europe and plan imaginary flights around the world.
By 10AM every morning I’d have 20 different tabs open on my browser, all full of flights I wanted to take, hotels I wanted to stay at, and places I wanted to visit.
Then my boss would walk by and I’d quickly close down all my fantasy tabs.
I’d dream of taking these amazing trips and then I’d get resentful for not being able to go.
I’d think about all of the unfair circumstances that were against me.
I was born into a family without a lot of money.
I was too busy to get a second job or start my own business.
There were a lot of other people against me too.
My boss was a tyrant and my friends weren’t very successful.
How was I ever going to change my life with all of these cards stacked against me?
I felt helpless and alone. But it wasn’t my fault.
It was just the way things were.
This was my lot in life and no amount of hard work was going to change it.
It wasn’t until I got really sick and had to stay overnight in a hospital that I realized just how quickly things can change.
I realized that things can get much worse at a moment’s notice.
But at the same time, things can get much better just as fast.
This simple shift in my focus changed everything.
I could either let my circumstances quickly ruin my life, or I could work to quickly improve my life.
If I accepted responsibility for changing my life, I could control which way it changed—for better, not worse.
Taking responsibility in this way helped me finally travel outside of the country to, now, more than 30 other countries.
Why You Should Attribute All Your Success To Hard Work
All of your failures and successes in life are the result of your personal effort.
A study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology found that kids who were told that their performance on a computer test was due to their intelligence rather than their effort started to measure their own intelligence based on other people’s opinions.
When these kids failed a more difficult computer test, they saw their low performance as an indicator that they simply weren’t intelligent enough to succeed.
But the kids praised for their effort saw their intelligence as “malleable.”
They recognized that they could succeed by working harder.
Another study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology polled high school students about their attitudes on growth.
Some students told the research team that they believed people fell into particular categories, such as nerds, jocks, barbies, or goths, and that they were unlikely to change over time.
These students were more likely to get stressed out, have chronic anxiety and low self-esteem, and poor physical health.
Others students told the scientists that people were likely to adapt and grow.
These students experienced less stress, had high self-esteem, and strong physical health.
5 Ways To Develop A Growth Mindset In Life
If you failed in life, it’s because you didn’t work hard enough.
Forget about all the negative people and situations that have come against you.
These things don’t count.
You don’t have enough time to get up early and work on a personal project?
You don’t have enough money to take the trip you’ve always wanted to take?
Boo-hoo. It’s your fault.
If you want to do more, work harder. The end.
You might think that this perspective is limiting, but in reality, it’s the best perspective to have in terms of increasing your rates of growth and success.
When you base your achievements on your efforts alone, you open yourself up to rapid growth.
Instead of being a victim to your external circumstances, you know you can change your circumstances.
Instead of believing your abilities are fixed, you know you can improve your abilities.
The only way to keep improving in life is to maintain a growth mindset.
Without this growth mindset, your progress will slow and eventually stall.
Here are 5 ways to maintain a growth mindset and make rapid gains in life…
1. Take responsibility for yourself.
The only way to move forward with your life is to take responsibility for it.
Life is not what happens to you, it’s how you handle what happens to you.
Bad things happen for no reason.
Bad people do bad things.
These things are not your fault. But how you handle them is.
The reason so many people have a hard time taking responsibility for themselves is because they’ve experienced pain.
Someone or something did them wrong and it’s not their fault. This is a very limiting belief.
Listen—life is full of pain. But this is a good thing.
The problem with life is not that there’s pain, it’s that you expect there not to be pain.
But pain is a gift.
Pain creates happiness. Pain creates ambition. Drive. Hunger.
You can’t always control pain, or when or how it happens. But you can always control how you respond to it.
By taking responsibility for the good or bad in your life, you put yourself back in the driver’s seat.
Now, you have the power to make things better. Now, you have the power to change and grow.
2. Have unreasonable expectations.
The most important part of making positive things happen is expecting positive things to happen.
This kind of positive expectation does not come naturally. It has to be developed.
Too many people complain when things are going bad and apologize when things are going well.
In bad times, they focus on their problems instead of focusing on solutions.
In good times, they walk on eggshells, anxiously waiting for the good times to end.
If you expect bad things to happen, they will happen.
If you constantly worry about what might go wrong, things will go wrong.
Worrying is not a positive action. It’s not some kind of moral sacrifice that will prevent bad things from happening either.
People worry because they’re either too lazy to prepare or because they don’t believe in themselves.
If you want to rapidly change your life for the better, stop fearing negative what-ifs and start expecting positive what-ifs.
The next time you find yourself asking, “What if everything goes wrong?” Reverse it and ask, “What if everything goes right?”
Living with expectancy means knowing you can create your own future.
You can get anything you want in life if you apply yourself correctly.
3. Ignore friendly advice.
Unsolicited opinions are worthless.
It doesn’t matter who the opinion comes from, it’s value is zero.
The only thing that makes an opinion valuable is if you want it, understand it, and apply it to the right part of your life.
Too many people falsely believe that other people know more than they do.
These people tell themselves that they should always be open for criticism.
More than anything else, other people’s opinions are holding you back from taking your life to the next level.
Stop passively taking in unsolicited advice.
Your mind is not a garbage dump.
No matter what you’re doing with your life, other people are going to attack you with their opinions.
They’re going to throw them in your face, toss them in your lap, and stuff them in your ears.
They’ll give you puppy dog eyes and beg you to listen. They’ll act hurt or angry or disappointed if you don’t listen.
Don’t fall into the trap of listening to other people about how you should live your own life.
Instead, get to work mapping out what you want, how you want to be, and where you want to end up.
Define these things for yourself and then seek the advice you need from people who have accomplished what you’re trying to accomplish.
4. Seize opportunities before you’re ready.
What is your idea-to-execution turnaround time?
For most people, it’s far too long.
When the majority of the population sees an opportunity, they imagine themselves seizing it but then they hesitate.
They take a step back and start to look at the opportunity realistically.
First, they have to decide whether or not a goal is safe.
Second, they need to mentally catalogue all of the things that they need to learn and practice before they can seize the opportunity.
The problem is that learning about an opportunity or determining how safe an opportunity is does not take you any closer to seizing it.
If you wait until you’re no longer intimidated by an opportunity, or if you wait until you know everything there is to know about an opportunity, you’ve waited too long to seize it.
Big opportunities go to those who act before they are ready.
The key is being willing to fail first-hand while you’re seizing the opportunity.
This willingness to fail will focus and energize you.
The risk of looking stupid in a real life situation will snap your brain to attention.
Now, there are immediate consequences. Now, your brain is getting immediate feedback.
Be willing to fail before others. This will drastically cut down your idea-to-execution turnaround time.
5. Follow up success with risk.
If you want to accomplish anything great in life, you’re going to have to put yourself in uncontrolled environments over and over again.
As soon as you stop taking risks, you stop moving forward.
As soon as you start following up success with playing it safe, you stop growing.
The fastest way to increase your growth is to increase your risk tolerance.
Low levels of risk tolerance is what drives people to conserve their efforts unnecessarily and freeze up right before making a big change.
Fear of risk is connected to fear of the unknown.
Human beings naturally fear uncertainty because it’s the unknown that brings us the most pain.
It’s much easier to handle the punch in the face that you see coming.
Whether it’s a storm you’re not prepared for, a disease you can’t cure, or a layoff you didn’t see coming, unknown territory hits hard.
But, at the same time, unknown territory precedes all achievement.
Overcoming uncertainty is necessary for anyone who wants to change their life for the better.
The best things in life involve risk and the most successful people in life keep taking risks. Success is never a stopping point. It’s simply a milestone. If you want to keep growing, you must keep taking risks. You must also take responsibility for your life, have unreasonable expectations, and ignore unsolicited advice. Only then will you be in a position to seize opportunities before others and grow faster than those around you.
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