A GROWTH MINDSET

Hafsa Malik
9 min readAug 22, 2021

Before we could dive into what a growth mindset is or how Amal Totkay can help to achieve that, let’s figure out what “Mindset” actually means.

So what is mindset and how does it have anything to do with success or entrepreneurship? Mindset is basically a person’s frame of mind, the way he/she thinks or even perceives situations and tackle problems. It is a mental disposition, an inclination of a person’s beliefs and thoughts that in the end shape their habits. It’s the same thing that decides if the glass is half full or half empty. It is extremely important to develop a healthy self esteem as it not only affects our beliefs but also our attitudes and feelings about situations and ourselves as well.

A comparison of Fixed and Growth mindset. Credit; Google images

So what would a fixed mindset mean? It would mean that either the world is Black or White. It can never realize the presence of the grey area which overlaps the both. It all narrows down to either you can do something or you can’t at all. There will be no thought or learning process. So how does the growth mindset play its part?

A growth mindset acknowledges that intelligence can be developed and knowledge can be acquired through hard work and resilience. It understands that the journey is more important than the goal. Adopting a mindset like that is crucial in this world because it focuses on the development and improvement of a person. The presence of an innate ability/talent or a lack thereof is a problem of bare minimum. It acts as a shock absorber in times of failure and makes sure that we would spring right back up, bouncing higher and higher until we touch the success.

It is a weird analogy to think of, seems impossible too, but that’s what a growth mindset entails in the end. To make the impossible possible. Remember when you were told that you are bad at drawing and that you just lack the talent? Well they were all wrong. You can always practice, maybe you suck at sketching but what If you could learn to be good at painting? Did you try hard enough? Did you stop and think “I can do this If I try hard enough”?

We all can’t have a super teacher like Korosensei, but who’s to say we can’t teach ourselves. After all it’s all about realizing potentials, spotting thoughts, actions and words. Once you know your targets, you can catch yourself next time you think something like “It is what it is” and switch it to “how can i carry this forward”. With just a little bit of tuning you can wire your brain into finding solutions when you are stuck.The five tips sound simple but I can promise you that they are a literal walkthrough for the game called life;

  1. Self-Talk
  2. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
  3. Create New Habits
  4. Ask People Help
  5. Fake It Till You Make It

These steps help you to develop a growth mindset, which in turn, enables you to feel less overwhelmed and scared about making mistakes. This mindset helps you realize that mistake is not an aspect of one’s personality but something that fosters innovation and creativity.

My father has a growth mindset, he believes that a person can never stop learning. Therefore, I have been raised with the belief that you can never be perfect and that you can never stop learning. That’s where the first tip comes in;

1. Self Talk

It’s easy to get caught up in pessimistic thoughts or negativity when you face setbacks more than usual. Well that’s the time to shift your focus. For example; “what’s going wrong?” is a common question that comes to mind, how about we shift it to “What’s going well”. See! That doesn’t sound bad right?

A quote by Bob Proctor; Credit: Google images

Bob Proctor has said; “ Don’t be a victim of negative self talk….”

Self-talk is your inner dialogue. It reveals your ideas, inner thoughts and it is influenced by your subconscious mind. It can be distressing as well as encouraging. An optimist’s self-talk may be more hopeful and positive than a pessimist.

Takeaway: What I learned from this totka was that “I have the power to change my mind”. This might take some extra dose of courage but I have already applied the Amal principle and decided to try it from now on. All I have to do is to suppress the negative thoughts and focus on“ I can do it” or “If I want to, I can”.

2. GET OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE

We all know what a comfort zone is. For some it is being with their family, a getaway to the beach or something. It’s a place you don’t want to get out of because you know it, you feel safe there. Changes do look and sound hard because we are wired in a way where we always expect the worst and because our brain wants to keep us safe, It gets hard to accept the change. When we are in our comfort zone, our brain doesn’t want anything to change. It has zero stress levels and a steady performance. But getting out of your comfort zone from time to time may be able to create just about enough stress to increase your focus, drive, pace and even creativity. In turn, it helps to respond to life stress when unexpected events occur.

Takeaway: What I took from this totka was that getting out of your comfort zone may be the first step to have a growth mindset. And it will help a person to understand What they are really made of. It will help us to figure out what ticks us in a bad situation and how to face it. It may seem like out of control situations but once we are in control again through striving and grit, we would know that we can deal with anything. Even when things get sour, we will know it’s temporary and we will realize, we can always bounce back. Maybe it will also give us courage to push past the line again.

This is my favorite totka so far as this is what I’ve been trying to do nowadays.

3. Create New Habits

Habits are not only important but they also grow stronger over time. They also become more automatic as they create neurological cravings. They help to shape lives more than we realize. Our brain, by default, clings to habits as a certain behavior is rewarded by the feeling of happiness due to dopamine release. Hence the neurological cravings. According to experts, the best way to form a new habit is to tie it to an existing habit like our morning routine. As John Maxwell has said; You will never change your life until you change something you do daily. The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. ” After all, habits are small decisions that we can make.

Takeaway: This totka showed me that developing a growth mindset is as easy to change as habits. It is true that even making new habits can be difficult but it is definitely a choice we can make deliberately at some point in our lives. We just need to work for it and make a conscious effort to maintain it. Amal principle “kam kam kam” coming to play.

4. Ask People Help

The hidden secret for personal growth is asking for help. It is essential especially in our modern times. Humans are highly functioning social beings, who rely on meaningful relationships and cooperation to survive. Even though evolution has changed a lot of things , our need for others, their help and support remains the same. Asking for help is important as it is essential for growth, so that survival in the modern times is possible and we could thrive in it too. Asking for help means that you are giving yourself a chance to be vulnerable, that can lead to the formation of trust building and strong bond formation with people around you. This vulnerability helps you to begin a journey of personal growth. Those reserved emotions inside you, they can finally be explored. This is also linked to getting out of your comfort zone discussed above. The more you improve as an individual, the more you can grow to your potential. This is a path of success and ultimately happiness.

Asking for help means mustering all of your courage to open a part of yourself and to acknowledge that you are smart enough to know that you still need to know more to grow. This way you challenge yourself and your fixed beliefs and then allow yourself to see that asking someone for help is beneficial, acceptable and even normal.

Takeaway: What I understood from this was that although few extraordinary people do extraordinary things alone, maybe taking help and becoming a lifelong learner is not a bad thing. So we should not be afraid to ask for help and give ourselves permission to experience growth by taking that helping hand.

5. Fake It Till You Make It

This expression is cliche at this point. You just have to know how to be within the fine line where you don’t want it to be a flat out lie to live with. The concept is basically to act as if you already have it even before you actually do. It relates to the notion of virtualizing a future success to manifest it in one’s behavior. Amy Cuddy, a social psychologist, believes that we can influence our minds. She believed if we portray we are confident through our body language. We can configure our brain for confidence and reduce our anxiety. Research suggests that changing your behavior first can change the way you think or feel.

Takeaway: I don’t totally agree with this totka because I think that it has a potential to backfire, like acting you know more than you do can lead to the exposure of you knowing nothing at all. But then again, it’s all about how and when you should apply this. It may be helpful for times like when you are intimidated. Just faking confidence may help to curate your inner courage, after all behavior does affect the way you think.

Working On Implying The Tips

I have already started working on the first two tips. They are by far my most favorites. But how do you start? What is the first step? Following are the steps a person can take to develop a growth mindset.

  1. Listen To Yourself

Listening to yourself means listening to that inner voice, listening to that inner monologue. It can help to figure out the type of mindset you have. “What If this goes wrong?” seems ominous, “If you don’t try, nobody will see you failing” seems downright depressing. But, it also shows you might have a fixed mindset. The first step to change something, is to recognize what needs to be changed in the first place.

2. Choice

One thing you need to know is that you always have a choice. In the first step we recognized the mindset. Now is the time to do something about it. That voice inside you is trying to protect you. Just like we established that our brain is wired to protect you. So now, will you listen to it? Will you let your fears define you or take that leap out of your comfort zone to try something new. Maybe the passion and goal you are looking for has been there all along, waiting for you to take that one step.

3. Argue

Remember that inner voice always telling you to step back or stand down? Well, it’s time to show who’s the boss. When it tells you that you can’t do it, shout back that you can. The first totka “Self-Talk” is the key to develop a growth mindset.

4. Practice And Implement

It’s time to practice and implement what you have learned so far. Amal is the first step to change. If you want to do something, then do it. Start to make a difference from today itself. Put yourself in challenging situations, put into use that new voice. The setbacks and failures will just help you to thrive and survive. Replace the word “failure” with “learning”. All those extraordinary things that those extraordinary people did, It wasn’t a one time attempt. They failed, learned, tried and tried again, until they were successful.

You need to follow through all those trials to change what and how you want. Sometimes, things might not go the way you thought they would. But that’s okay, stand up, bounce back, shake the negativity off you and dive back right in. You’ll be able to cultivate that mindset of growth you desire over time.

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