7 Things I Learned in May 2020

Examining what you learned is a good way to consolidate those learnings. So here are 7 of my biggest takeaways from last month.

7 things I learned in May 2020:

  1. Most professional podcasters have pretty extensive and involved workflows. Even the simplest workflow I came across during my research had at least (record the main content + edit + join/create finished podcast audio + finalise + publish). My workflow seems a bit too simple in comparison. That caused me to consider adding some steps as that would potentially improve the quality of the audio – but after some soul searching I decided against it. Yes, my workflow is incredibly simple, but that works for me. From experience, I know that I will lose interest in processes that take up a lot of time and energy. I hate complexity. Currently, I do one take podcasts. That can and does mean that my podcast episodes sometimes (often!) contain errors and bloopers, but I’m ok with it. The key for me is to provide value, and as long as I’m doing that I’m sure my listeners can get over the human errors. The desire to seek perfection is a continuous struggle, but I continue to get better at prioritising progress over perfection. Keeping things simple help, as does my increased self-awareness level.
  2. Self-awareness is valuable and is a continuous journey. This carries on from the first point. How I do things now is very different from how I used to do things even a few years ago. In a good way. The more I learn about myself, the better I get, especially since the insights help me to design strategies and do things in ways that leverage my strengths, and weaknesses.
  3. Not all chilli powder is the same. Chilli powder is chilli powder, right? That’s what you’d normally think. But if you did, you’d be wrong, as I learned recently. Being a big fan of spicy food, chilli powder is a staple in my groceries. The last time I was in Malaysia I got a big packet of their local Chilli powder, which I was excited to try. I usually add chilli powder to my coffee (the result of one of my food experiments last year). But adding the Malay chilli powder did not work out very well – it tasted very umami! This experience has made me realise that their chilli powder isn’t just chilli powder. That or their chilli has a different flavour profile. Either way, that umami flavour doesn’t pair well with coffee.  Tip: By the way, if you are a fellow spicy food lover, here’s a tip for you – next time you make got chocolate/cocoa, add a bit of chilli powder. It’ll take the drink to a whole different level!
  4. Applying a cold pack to the base of your neck helps you cool down faster. Very useful during summer.
  5. Practice does make you better. I came across my first podcast episode the other day and had a listen of it while considering putting it on YouTube. I’ve been podcasting for nearly 2 months now, and have over 10 episodes. Even though that’s not a lot or a long period of time, I can already hear the difference. My first podcast episode wasn’t that great. My latest episodes are much better. Yes there’s still a lot more for me to learn, I am pretty new to Podcasting still, but this is encouraging. The more you do something, the better you get. It’s a fact.
  6. Nutmeg works nicely in bread. Most of you probably know this about me by now – I love food. It’s one of my biggest passions. This doesn’t just involve trying things and cooking from scratch, but also includes experimentation. One such food experiment involved putting nutmeg Inn the flour while baking bread. The result is very promising. Bread flavoured with nutmeg works well, especially when paired with something sweet.
  7. It’s not a bad idea to stock up on essentials during times of panic. The Coronavirus lockdown caused a lot of stockpiling. I wasn’t too keen on that but realized later the problem with that notion. Stocks now are running low and prices are going up. My views have changed a bit now – stocking up on essentials during an impending crisis isn’t a bad idea after all. It’s not about following the crowd and panic buying, or overreacting, but rather about realising that panic creates self-fulfilling prophecies, like the grocery shortage that most places are experiencing right now thanks to the extended lockdown. As such, being prepared and stocking up isn’t a bad idea. Lesson learned for next time (hopefully there will be no next time, but it’s smart to prepare for the worst while hoping for the best).

It is a huge shortcut to learn from other people’s experiences, and mistakes – that is common knowledge. Hopefully, you will learn something useful from my learnings.

Now, here is a question for you – what did you learn in May?

Post them in the comments section below.

What Children Can Teach You About Growth Mindset

What Children Can Teach You About Growth Mindset

Over the last few weeks, I have touched on quite a few things related to the way we think. I have talked about mindset (which is a term for the way we think). I have gone over the concepts of growth mindset, and its counterpart, fixed mindset. In fact, last week’s episode was mainly focused on fixed mindset. As well as clarifying those concepts, I also covered the key differences between those two mindsets, along with some essential points about growth mindset, and fixed mindset.


Related reading: Fixed mindset definition


If you are not familiar with them, I suggest checking out the last few posts/my podcast. Having clarity on these fundamental principles will be hugely beneficial to improving the way you think, not to mention the positive impact it can have on your life.

That said, if you have listened to last week’s podcast episode on fixed mindset (which I hope you have), you now know what fixed mindset is, and why it is not good for you. The goal of the last episode was to give you clarity on fixed mindset, and help you clearly see the contrast between the general thinking pattern (a.k.a fixed mindset), and how it is different from a growth-focused thinking pattern (or growth mindset).

Understanding and getting clarity on fixed mindset gives you an important perspective on what NOT to do. It also helps you become aware of what you might be doing when it comes to the way you think that is not good for you. This is an extremely important part of personal growth and improvement. I cannot stress just how important this is. After all, if you do not know what you might be doing wrong, how can you improve them?!

Understanding and getting clarity on fixed #mindset gives you an important perspective on what NOT to do Click To Tweet

This is, in fact, one of the main reasons why having a fixed mindset is so common. So common that it is the default mindset for most.

Yes, fixed mindset, unfortunately, is the default mindset most people have. It is incredibly unfortunate but this is how most adults think. Now here’s something really key I want to point out to you – fixed mindset might be the default way of thinking for most, but no one is actually born with a fixed mindset.

We are all, in fact, born with a growth mindset.

Don’t believe me? Then here’s a glaring example for you – you will never see a baby give up trying to walk just because it fell several times (if not lots of times). You don’t even need to look at other babies, just consider your own case. If you did that, give up after you fell a few times, you would never have learned to walk!

The fact that you can walk today is a testament to the growth mindset that drove you when you were learning to walk. That focus on growth, rather than what is possible and what is not, is what enabled you as a child to overcome the challenges of walking, and learn how to walk. The same principle holds true for nearly everything children learn how to do, it holds true for nearly everything you learned how to do.

We are all born with a growth mindset #growthmindset #mindset #mindsetiseverything Click To Tweet

Children hardly ever, if ever, call it quits.

Yet, that is exactly what most people do as adults. If something does not work out after a few tries (or even one try!), most people throw in the towel. This behaviour is new, it is not our innate behaviour or thinking style – this is learned behaviour.

This is a mindset people learn during their formative years, while they are growing up.

Fixed mindset is a mindset developed based mainly on what they learn from the people around them while they are growing up. The parameters and metrics like possible and impossible are not known to children – we learn about them while we are growing up.

The fixed mindset is actually not our natural mindset. It is NOT how we think when we are born, it is not how we think when we learn to develop our essential motor and life skills as children, and it most certainly is not the mindset that we have that enabled us to learn to survive and grow up.

Our natural mindset is a mindset focused on learning and progress. Our natural mindset is a mindset focused on growth.

Fixed mindset is not our natural mindset. It is NOT how we think when we are born #fixedmindset #mindsetmatters #thinkbetter Click To Tweet

So, just in case it is not abundantly clear by now, growth mindset is our natural state.

That is our original mindset.

We just forget about it along the way.

It is very normal to pick up a limiting mindset. Things happen – often things that are not very pleasant, things that make us reevaluate our possibilities. We learn about subjective boundaries of what is possible and what is not, be it from teachers, parents, those around us, the media, and so on. We learn about what our limits are supposed to be. We learn about what we are, and are not, supposed to be capable of. We learn about what is and is not. realistic. And so on.

From the time we start making sense of things and start thinking, we pick up a lot of things about our world and our reality, many (if not most) of which limit our beliefs of what is possible. But as you learned in the last weeks, the limits of our own possibility are often subjective, as impossible is nearly always a matter of perspective. If you believe something to be impossible, it will absolutely always be impossible.

Impossible is nearly always a matter of perspective #doyourimpossible #success #perspective Click To Tweet


Related reading: Why you need to examine your perspectives


But when you believe that something is possible, or even that it can be possible, then you open up a whole world of possibilities. This is how Neil Armstrong and the others achieved the impossible and stepped foot on the moon. This is how Roger Bannister ran the humanly-impossible 4-minute mile. And this same lack of belief in what is possible is also what helped Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay to reach the peak of the Everest.

When you believe that something is possible, or even that it can be possible, you open up a whole world of possibilities #doingtheimpossible #growthmindset #personalgrowth Click To Tweet

It’s all in our minds. Good or bad, possible or impossible, probable or improbable… the way we think is ultimately what defines each of those labels for us.

So if you take away just one thing from today’s episode, I want you to understand this – learning about growth mindset is not really about installing a new mindset, or a new way of thinking. Rather, it’s about going back to our roots, it’s about going back to our natural state of growth, and progress.

We all have it within us, it’s simply a matter of getting back in touch with that state of mind.

It’s about reminding ourselves what we have forgotten.

On that note, if improving the way you think is something you want to learn more about, check out my latest book “How to Think Better in 7 Days“. You can get your copy from Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes&Noble.

That’s it for today. I hope you found this guide useful. Share your thoughts and notes in the comments section below. Also, if you have any suggestions or requests for future episodes, feel free to add them in the comments.

Keep working on your mindset, because that is one crucial factor that affects every area of your life.

A better mindset always equals a better life.

So, think better.

I’ll see you again next time. Have a great week!


These are the show notes/abridged transcript of my latest podcast episode – What Children Can Teach You About Growth Mindset. You can listen to it (and the other episodes) here: Growth Philosophy podcast.

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