What Is Growth Mindset? A Basic Intro to Growth Mindset

What is Growth Mindset

Show notes from Growth Philosophy Podcast EP007 – What is Growth Mindset

Today, I want to talk about a question that comes up quite often about growth mindset – this is the question I am talking about: what is a growth mindset.

Before I talk about what growth mindset means, I want to clarify what mindset is. Because that is the start – you can’t really understand the growth mindset without having clarity on what mindset actually is.

So, what exactly is mindset?

To put it simply, our mindset is the way we think.

It is our operating system.

Mindset = Our operating system #mindset #growthmindset #msalek Click To Tweet

Someone’s mindset basically determines how that person thinks. And the way we think determines our actions, it does a lot more in fact, as it determines everything we do and even how we feel. This makes our mindset an extremely important matter, as it affects every part of our lives. The difference in mindset, ultimately, is why two people facing the exact same situation will often come out with very different results, one better than the other.

The difference in #mindset, ultimately, is why two people facing the exact same situation will often come out with very different results, one better than the other. Click To Tweet

Mindset is what is talked about when you hear people mention the whole glass half full or empty thing.

When Henry Ford said “Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right – he was talking about our mindset. Those with a good mindset believe they can, whereas those with a bad mindset believe they can’t.

Having the right mindset is the difference between having a great life despite challenges, and having a shitty life because of those challenges.

Having the right #mindset is the difference between having a #greatlife despite #challenges, and having a shitty life because of those challenges Click To Tweet

The right mindset is what sets apart those who do well in life, and those who don’t.

Positivity and negativity are all part of our mindset. Those with the right mindset are positive and act more positively as a result of having a positive mindset.

In contrast, those with a poor mindset will be more negative and act negatively.

Having the right mindset helps people overcome setbacks and obstacles, and make lemonade when life gives them lemons. But a lack of it, on the other hand, keeps people stuck.

Having the #rightmindset helps people overcome #setbacks and #obstacles, and make lemonade when life gives them lemons. But a lack of it, on the other hand, keeps people stuck. Click To Tweet

I hope that clarified what mindset is. But to reiterate, our mindset is our operating system and determines the way we think.

So now you know what mindset is, let’s explore the main point of today’s talk – what growth mindset means.

Mindset, as you know by now, is basically the way you think.

A growth mindset then is a type of mindset – it’s a mindset that is focused on growing, and improving, as a person.

Remember earlier when I talked about the right and the wrong mindset? Well, a growth mindset is the former. This is what is essentially being referred to when you hear talk about the right mindset or a good mindset or a positive mindset. They are all basically the same thing – a way of thinking that helps you move forward.

So if I had to define growth mindset, here is how I would define it:

Growth mindset is a belief system, a way of thinking that helps you move forward, and make good decisions. It is about adopting a way of thinking that enables you to deal with challenges and setbacks and move forward no matter how big the obstacle might be, rather than being stuck because of those challenges and obstacles.

Growth mindset is a belief system, a way of thinking that helps you move forward, and make good decisions. #growthmindset #beliefs #thinkforyourself Click To Tweet

Having a growth mindset means you can think and act better. It makes you more positive. It enables you to move forward and achieve the things you want to achieve.

It is growth mindset that differentiates people who do well in life, and those who are perpetually stuck. Unfortunately, too many people fall in the latter category, too many people are stuck, which is why living with regrets is such a common thing. It is really disappointing but thankfully does not have to be the norm.

So here is the good news – the way we think is not set in stone. Think of our mindset like a software. You might have a buggy software, but it can be improved by installing a new update. Thanks to the way our brain works and neuroplasticity, we are capable of changing our programming, which is to say we can change the way we think. So if someone has a negative mindset, it does not have to be the case that they have to live with it for the rest of their life – they can change it.

Someone with a negative mindset CAN upgrade their mindset to install a better mindset – a positive, growth mindset.

How we think is crucial for our success and happiness, because that defines how we feel about anything and everything. It also determines how we act (or react).

So it is absolutely essential to adopt a growth mindset. Without having a growth mindset, it will be a massive struggle (if not impossible) to move forward in life. Let’s face it, if someone falls apart every time there is a setback or obstacle, how can they ever move forward?

How we think is crucial for our #success and #happiness, because that defines how we feel about anything and everything. It also determines how we act (or #react). Click To Tweet

Life is not a bed of roses. I wish it were, I wish it was simple and the road was smooth, but that’s just wishful thinking. There will be ups and downs, and everyone will experience challenges – it doesn’t matter who you are or what stage of life you are in, you will experience them.

But that’s not a bad thing, as the struggles help us to get better and stronger and grow as a person. In the meantime, having a growth mindset enables us to deal with those challenges when they come.

So work on improving your mindset, for that is possibly the single most important thing you can do to completely change the course of your life.

Think about it like this – when you are going on a long road trip, there will be speed bumps and obstacles. It’s inevitable and unavoidable. Now, if you stop and give up at the first obstacle, you will never reach your destination. That’s unfortunately what happens when you have the wrong mindset. In contrast, having a growth mindset will help you to keep going, that is what will help you overcome those obstacles, and is ultimately what will help reach your goals, and have the life you want, not to mention make your mark and do all the amazing things you want to and are destined to do.

So examine your mindset. Where does it need work?

Now, if you want to learn more about how you can improve your mindset, check out my other podcast episodes (and blog posts), they can help. At the very least, they will get you started, and we will continue this journey over the course of future episodes.

As for now, that’s it for today. If you have any questions, reach out to me at my blog, leave me a comment – that really is the best way to contact me.

Before I end, I just want to say that it is always a privilege to have you here. So, thank you for your time. And I really hope that you found this useful.

Don’t forget to subscribe so that you don’t miss out on any upcoming podcast episodes.

I’ll be back next week with another episode. Until then, have a great week.

Listen to the full podcast episode here.

You can find (and listen to) all the Growth Philosophy podcast episodes so far here.

What Is Growth Mindset? #growthmindset #postivemindset #personalgrowth Click To Tweet

How to exercise your “hope” muscle

Hope is an essential part of life.

Without hope, getting out of bed would be challenging.
The lack of it is often what differentiates those who get on with things despite challenges and setbacks, and those who stop trying.

Without hope, carrying on is difficult.
Having it is what enables us to carry on during difficult times, no matter how difficult things seem.

The absence of hope makes life unnecessarily hard.
Unnecessarily, because there is always a reason to have hope. Because even in the direst, most difficult of times, there are things to be hopeful about.

Even during the most chaotic, challenging, and unprecedented times, there are always things that can give us hope.
Like now, during this Coronavirus situation.

It is unprecedented.
It is confusing.
It is chaotic.

It seems like the whole world is in disarray.

No one really knows what’s going on, or how things will play out.
No one really knows how long this situation will last, or how much worse it will get.
There are theories, but no one really knows.

All this uncertainty is confusing, and can even be worrying.

But there is hope.
People ARE getting better – there are confirmed cases of recoveries.
Cases ARE declining in many regions – especially noteworthy being China and South Korea.
New treatments and vaccines ARE being developed to deal with it.
And governments around the world ARE starting to get a handle on it.

There are lots of reasons to have hope.
At times it can get challenging, exercising our hope muscle – remembering all the blessings in our lives helps.
A gratitude log is a good way to do that.

There is always hope.

Even if things are chaotic and uncertain, there will always be things that are normal and certain.
Even if this is the new normal, there are things for us to be thankful for.
Even if the world seems to be in chaos, there are things that we can do.

There are lots of things to be thankful for.
Even in the darkest of days.
Like the fact that you are breathing right now.
Thousands of people around the world die every minute, but you are still alive.
That is a huge blessing.

All of us are blessed with lots.
It is good to remember that.
Especially during challenging times such as this.

Remembering the many big and little things to be thankful for helps us have perspective.
It helps renew hope.
So it is a good idea to make it a daily practice.

Notice the beauty around you.
Notice the blessings within you.
For they are there.

Exercise your hope muscle.
Because there is always a reason to have hope.
No matter the situation.

3 big reasons why prolonging the Coronavirus lockdown is a bad idea

If you’re reading this, you’re very likely in a lockdown. Like most people around the world. Most countries have implemented some form of quarantine and lockdown measures, which means people can’t really go out of their houses. I’ve seen first hand the empty streets, and closed shops, and the practice of social distancing in grocery stores and pharmacies. While the Coronavirus lockdown has proved useful, and it seems to be working, there are causes for concern. A recent conversation with a pregnant friend in Scotland who was being denied the usual pre-birth checks made me consider the potential drawbacks of such a measure. Since then I’ve been through quite a few research journals and articles to understand the pros and cons of the lockdown.

From everything I’ve learned, here’s what’s become clear to me: prolonging the Coronavirus lockdown is a bad idea.


Three main reasons:
1. The Economic costs
2. The Health costs
3. The Social costs

Economic costs

The lockdown has already seen many small businesses go out of business. It’s not that they’ve hit pause and will come back after the Coronavirus situation normalises. No, they are gone forever, because they just could not exist without the lack of business. Then there’s the number of people who’ve been unemployed. When businesses cease to exist, their employees cease to have jobs – it’s simple math.

You might argue that governments are providing financial help, like the trillion-dollar stimulus package bill that the USA just sanctioned, the multi-billion pounds fiscal stimulus that the UK government has offered, or the similar stimulus packages that other countries around the world are offering to their citizens and business. Yes, that’s great, and will certainly help. However, how long can the governments continue with these stimuli? I was reading recently that businesses in the Philippines, for example, have already asked for another 281 billion pesos ($5.52 billion) fiscal stimulus – this is even after a fiscal stimulus was already provided. The same will very likely be the case in other countries as well if it isn’t already that is. The longer the lockdown continues, the more funding and help businesses will need to stay afloat.

Here’s another factor to consider. According to the research from Imperial College London, it’ll take about 18 months of the current level of quarantine and social distancing for this approach to be truly effective. No government in the world has the sort of funds necessary to feed all their citizens for 18 months, while putting the whole economy of lockdown. It’s not just impractical, it’s unfeasible. No business means no salary, which means no tax revenue, which means the governments have no income. Most governments around the world are in debt already, how long do you think they can realistically keep funding the economy?

Health costs

If history is a predictor, which it often is, the large scale unemployment will cause a massive amount of health problems, both physical and psychological. This is what happened during the last recession, which cut short collective life expectancy, caused a huge spike in mental health issues like depression and stress, and also significantly increased the rate of suicide. According to research I read, there were 10,000 more suicides than normal in just Europe and the USA alone during that recession. And this time around, economists are predicting an even bigger recession. A recession that will only get worse the longer economies are in a state of lockdown.

Then there’s the impact on recent graduates – the young people who’ll find themselves looking for a job during a frozen economy. The mental and physical health toll on them will be significant.

Social costs

Let’s say, for argument’s sake, that governments around the world, or at least in the countries where the threat of Coronavirus is biggest, can continue to fund people and businesses for 18 months. That may help with the economic costs, and to an extent, the health costs, but still leaves a lot of the health costs unmet, namely those related to mental health issues. And then there are the social costs. Humans are social beings. Isolate them for a long time, and there will be problems. The social structures and institutions we are used to and depend on will be damaged the longer the lockdown is prolonged. There’s already a rise in social mistrust, especially as people are worried about who might be a carrier of the virus. The tensions that prolonging the period of social isolation can have a significant negative impact on our social ties, and the way we operate as a society. The longer the lockdown continues, the worse the social costs will be.

Good idea in the long term?

In light of those massive implications, the benefits of prolonging the Coronavirus lockdown doesn’t really seem justified. Yes, the lockdown can and will save lives. But the question we should be asking isn’t just will it save lives, but rather, will it save more lives than it will take in the long term? The matter at hand isn’t quite black and white – it’s not as simple as establishing whether the lockdown measures will save lives. We need to weigh up the long term implications of the lockdown measures to really understand the true cost of prolonging the lockdown.

So, is the long term cost, and the drawbacks, really worth the short term benefits?

I don’t believe so.

Based on all the research and evidence I’ve read, the long term costs outweigh the short term benefits.

The longer the Coronavirus lockdown continues, the worse things will get. There’s no point in crying over spilled milk, and what’s done is done, but it really is about time that governments weigh up the true implications of continuing with the lockdown, and come up with better solutions. I’m sure better solutions are possible. Smart people around the world are already working on alternative options, it can be worth looking into them.

Saving lives is absolutely important, but not if it means adopting practices that end up being the catalyst of losing a lot more lives in the long term. That’s, unfortunately, where the current lockdown is doing.

If you believe I’m wrong, let me know why. What have I missed, what am I not taking into account? I am always willing to be corrected.

Wherever in the world you are reading this from, I sincerely hope you, and your family, are safe, and in good health and spirit. One of the key things you can do during challenging times like these is to stay positive, if not for your own sake, then at least for the sake of those around you. Remember, there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Things WILL get better – it’s not a matter of if, but rather, when. Until then, all we can do is stay calm, and do our best.