There is no denying that modern life throws countless hurdles in our way. However, as Marcus Aurelius used to say, “the mind adapts and converts to its own purposes the obstacle to our acting. What stands in the way becomes the way.” What this ancient Roman emperor meant by this is that as long as we are able to grow and constantly change our frame of reference we can turn every obstacle into an opportunity for improvement and look for solutions in new creative ways.
For all these things to be possible, though, we need to be ready to await challenges with open arms and adopt a growth mindset that will help us turn every challenge into an opportunity to make ourselves better. Let’s see if we can help you with that.
Take some time to reflect
Your goal here is to get a good look at yourself with all of your good qualities and your shortcomings. This may feel painful at first, but knowing where you can make improvements is the first step in making those improvements. It’s also very important to embrace all of your peculiarities, quirks, and flaws as a part of your personality, don’t fear them, and use them to your advantage. For instance, Richard Branson – one of the most famous celebrities with ADHD – used the grit, creativity, and energy necessary for dealing with this disorder to fuel his business empire. Throwing problems under the rug wouldn’t help a bit.
In order to develop any new habit you need to make that habit easy and appealing while at the same time trying to make all the things detracting you unavailable and repellent. For instance, if you want to encourage yourself to learn, give yourself a small reward for every new skill or bit of info you acquire. Surround yourself with books and people who love to grow. Associate new habits with the existing ones. If you are into fitness, fire up an audiobook while you are running. At the same time, all the things that are slowing you down should be made hard to access and come with some sort of small penalty.
Make learning efficient and easy
Every new habit is much easier to develop if you see tangible benefits and score results. So, if you are losing focus while going through some challenging material over and over again, try using different resources. For instance, Australian students who use UNSW notes for studying have great success with this strategy since the materials are made by former students and use their experience to make learning simpler. Also, try practicing the things you have learned, use previous learning knowledge to promote new learning and teach it to other people. This is the best way to understand some new topics.
Take on new challenges
Here, we can learn a bit of two from bodybuilders. You see, you are not making gains with weights you can lift. To stimulate your muscles to grow you will need to try the weights you can lift. Sure, you will fail and you will fail more than a couple of times but at some point, your body will adapt and you will pass the milestone. This same philosophy can be applied to all other areas of your life. Take new challenges, especially the ones you think you can’t handle and don’t be afraid of failing since it is an essential part of every development process. The more adversity you experience the better results you’ll get.
Fuel your growth by fostering grit
Grit can be described as a positive attitude that promotes overcoming obstacles on the road to some goal. To get that powerful mental fuel you will need to find your North Star that will guide your future efforts – something deep within your personal core you value more than any comfort you will have to sacrifice to grow. Tie your goals to that invaluable part of your personality. Want to master some new skill? Remind yourself you are, for instance, a social animal. New skills will help you get more friends and sustain an active social life. Act from this deep need for connection and you will find the strength to persevere.
Develop habits instead of pursuing specific goals
Specific goals are an excellent tool for structuring short-term learning sessions. But, in terms of personal growth, they do more damage than harm. If you reach them you burn out the sense of gratification. If you don’t, you feel frustrated. So, instead of trying to learn how to play the guitar until some specific date, focus on developing a habit of playing every day for at least half an hour. Even better – ditch the results altogether, and turn playing into something you enjoy pressure-free. These new habits won’t only bear stronger results – they will make you fall in love with music which is a very powerful motivator.
We hope these few tips will help you get an idea or two about the small strategies you can use to fall in love with learning and develop a growth mindset. Change and evolution are essential for professional and personal development. Instead of looking at these changes as detriments, we need to embrace them and stay positive whenever we come into a position to learn something new. These few tips we gave you are far from a complete guide, but they are an excellent place to start your development.
Sophia Smith is beauty and lifestyle blogger, graphic designer and a food enthusiast. She is very passionate about eco-friendly and green topics, sustainable fashion, and conscious business. Sophia’s other hobbies centre around her love for yoga, wellness rituals and living in balance with nature. She loves sharing meaningful content that inspires people and has covered topics ranging from organic beauty products and sustainability to self-care and mental health. Sophia has contributed to a number of publications including Eco Warrior Princess, Naughty Nutrition, Herbs Mother Earth Living, Sivana Spirit, Urban Naturale, Carousel, and Cause Artist. You can find out more about her writing by following her on Twitter @sophia_bri.
Image courtesy of George Milton.