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Good morning dear reader & welcome to my world for another week. In my last two articles I wrote on the many frustrations there can be in business today. There are many reasons why it can be hard to stick to good habits or develop new skills. But more often than not, the biggest challenge is sitting between your two ears.

Your mind is a powerful thing. The stories you tell yourself & the things you believe about yourself can either prevent change from happening or allow new skills to blossom. So do external influences & impositions by others which can distract one from achieving your objectives.

Recently, I have been learning more about the link between our beliefs, our behaviours & some of the circumstances which prevent many from achieving our goals. If you are interested in actually sticking to your values, building better habits, & reaching a higher level of achievement, then you will hopefully enjoy the ideas in this post.

How Your Beliefs Can Help You or Hurt You. Carol Dweck is a researcher at Stanford University. She is well–known for her work on “the fixed mindset vs. the growth mindset.” Here is how Dweck describes the difference between these two mindsets & how they impact your performance…

In a fixed mindset students believe their basic abilities, their intelligence, their talents, are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount & that is that, & then their goal becomes to look smart all the time & never look dumb. In a growth mindset students understand their talents & abilities can be developed through effort, good teaching & persistence. They do not necessarily think everyone is the same or anyone can be Einstein, but they believe everyone can get smarter if they work at it.

—Carol Dweck, Stanford University

Dweck's research raises an important question about the connection between what you believe & what you do. If you believe things about yourself like…

  • “It is hard for me to lose weight.”
  • “I am not good with numbers.”
  • “I am not a natural athlete.”
  • “I am a procrastinator.”
It becomes pretty clear those fixed mindsets will cause you to avoid experiences where you might feel like a failure. As a result, you do not learn as much & it is hard to get better. Conversely there are also those today who honestly think everything they believe & do is correct & others will toe the line & simply follow. 1

What can you do about this? How can you change the things you believe about yourself, eliminate your mindset, & actually achieve your goals? In my experience, the only way I know to change the type of person you believe you are is to build a new & better identity for yourself.

The best musicians practice every day. The best athletes practice every day. The best writers practice every day. Yes, their results are fantastic & they get to enjoy the fruits of their labour … But it is not the results which set them apart, it is the dedication to daily practice. It is the fact their identity is centred on being the type of person who does their craft each day. People with a growth mindset focus on the process of building a better identity rather than the product.

So often, we overestimate the importance of a single event & underestimate the importance of making better choices on a daily basis. Some fall victim to a fixed mindset & think we are defined by the result.

Sustainable & long–lasting change starts with building a better identity, not by focusing on results like your performance or your appearance.

Here is the truth: it is your daily actions which will change what you believe about yourself & the person you become. It is about setting a schedule, showing up, & sticking to it. It is about focusing on building the right identity rather than worrying about getting the right result.

In my experience, when you let the results define you ~ your talent, your test scores, your weight, your job, your performance, your appearance ~ you become the victim of a fixed mindset. But when you dedicate yourself to showing up each day & focusing on the habits which form a better identity, this is when you learn & develop. This is what a growth mindset looks like in the real world.

In case I have not made it clear enough already: skill is something you can cultivate. You can become more creative, more intelligent, more athletic, more artistic, & more successful by focusing on the process, not the outcome.

Instead of worrying about an outcome & pushing your goals through which may be detrimental to others, commit to the process of publishing your ideas on a consistent basis. It is not about the result, it is about building the identity of the type of person who gets to enjoy those results.

Thank you for taking the time to be with me once again. I hope my journey may encourage you also. This is Kenn Butler in Paradise, Nelson, with my best wishes for the weekend ahead. Fins Up Mako men, I will be there for you on Friday evening & next week in Blenheim [or Auckland] for another final. I look forward to being with you all again next week.

[1]  James Clear


Kenn Butler
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