In this article I explain how to develop a growth mindset for successful ageing.
Your thoughts and beliefs determine your reality.
Your life will not be a positive experience if you have predominantly negative thoughts.
This is because the messages you are giving your sub-conscious mind are negative, and your sub-conscious mind creates what your thoughts tell it.
It is unable to differentiate, so tell it what you DO want, not what you DON’T want.
We can’t control the thoughts that pop into our heads, but we can control how we deal with negative thoughts when they arise.
As soon as you recognise a negative or undesirable thought, simply dismiss it instantly. I usually laugh and say something like “That’s not true, or “that’s rubbish”.
Your happiness and prosperity depend on this.
Developing a growth mindset will be particularly important for you if you want to make serious changes in your life in readiness for retirement, especially if you decide to start your own business to generate an additional source of income for your retirement.
Starting a new business at any stage of your life takes time and persistence.
Understanding this and having the right mindset for success will be critical to your success.
What’s On You Mind?
Successfully creating a long, healthy and wealthy retirement life for you and your family, is more about mindset than doing all the right things to maintain your health and well-being.
As I shared with you in my article Why Right Mindset for a Long Healthy Life I believe that the right mindset for ageing is:
to consciously choose to live a long, active and healthy life, to continue to contribute to society, to nurture your close personal and social relationships and to willingly share the knowledge and wisdom you possess with other people, both younger and older.
I have prepared this comprehensive article to share a proven model with you that will, if you decide to follow it, give you the best possible chance of succeeding in creating your personal ideal retirement.
Unfortunately many people underrate their own personal intelligence and ability. It seems we are our own worst critic.
We all have an underlying fear of failure, and these thoughts create a lot of anxiety that can wear you down over time, and cause a lack of action to improve your situation. This in turn leads to an overall lack of fulfillment in our lives.
In reality, we are all capable of being, or doing just about anything we really want to do. It all boils down to having the right mindset, belief in yourself and the confidence to take action in areas outside your comfort zone – in unfamiliar territory.
So in fact, you have the ability to overcome any concerns you might have by changing your limiting beliefs and thoughts (which are untrue in any case) and adopting a new mindset to approach challenges as learning new and valuable skills and exploring exciting new opportunities.
I have a good personal example to illustrate my point. In July 2012 after a lifelong corporate career during which I was Chief Financial Officer of two of Australia’s Top 50 Corporations, I decided it was time for me to move on and make a fresh start doing something new and different.
I had already decided that an internet based business was the only way to go. The internet is the future of business and I could use my corporate business experience, knowledge and skills on a platform where I could reach a worldwide audience of potential partners.
But this was a big step for me, because whilst I had used a pc regularly at work, my technical computer knowledge and skills were almost non-existent, and way outside my comfort zone. I had been fortunate to have a personal assistant who was highly skilled in all the software and hardware I used. So if I had any issues she fixed them for me.
But I have always had a strong belief that once I put my mind to it, I could become competent in almost anything that didn’t require 5 years at university to master.
So I quickly set about identifying the key things I needed to learn, which included getting an understanding of how internet marketing worked and the potential pitfalls for a newbie, plus becoming competent in basic WordPress (website) skills, auto-responders to send emails to my subscribers, and setting up sales funnels to get leads and buyers for my products.
So today, whilst I can’t claim to be an expert, I have mastered the basic skills. The good news for you if you decide to create your own online business to provide additional income in your retirement years is that is that new software has since become available that makes mastering these skills easier than ever.
So here is a proven model for the mindset you will need to create your ideal retirement. It’s called “The Growth Mindset For Success”.
The Growth Mindset For Success
The “growth mindset” was explained by Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University whose research into mindset and success has been published in her book “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success”.You will find a link to the book in Amazon at the end of this section.
According to Dr.Dweck:
There are basically 2 types of mindset; fixed and growth. People who believe that your personal human characteristics cannot be changed have a fixed mindset, whereas people who believe they can be positively changed have a growth mindset.
Or looked at another way, people are either learners or non-learners. We all start with the same mindset, but as we go through life, our circumstances and environment will mould our mindsets in one direction or the other.
How do you decide which of these two is predominant in your life right now?
If you don’t already know, which you probably do if you think about it, Dr. Dweck asked 4 simple questions to help you decide:
Read each statement and decide whether you mostly agree or disagree with it:
- Your intelligence is something basic about you that can’t be changed very much.
- You can learn new things, but you can’t really change how inteeligent you are.
- No matter how much intelligence you have, you can always change it quite a bit.
- You can always substantially change how intelligent you are.
You won’t be surprised to learn that questions 1 and 2 are typical of the fixed mindset, and that questions 3 and 4 reflect a growth mindset.
If you seem to favour the Fixed Mindset approach, it’s not true in any case
The growth mindset stems from a belief that your talent and intelligence are just the starting point, and that success comes as a result of effort, learning, testing, and persisting.
There are very few overnight successes and no get rich strategies that work. If anyone tells you otherwise-and they will if you research opportunites online – because they are lying.
Those people with a growth mindset are more resilient, work harder, and almost always achieve greater success than those with a fixed mindset, because they are motivated by the desire to grow and learn, and a strong belief in their own ability.
When they embark on a new project or venture, people with a growth mindset will do research to find out who the experts with proven success in that field are, and study exactly what those experts are doing and use it as a model for their own venture.
They are also not afraid to reach out to others with more experience than they have for guidance.
Tip: Find a mentor that has been there and done what you want to do and has proven success.
People with a fixed mindset believe that you are either born with talent and intelligence or you are not, and that it is not possible to change how talented or smart you are.
As a result, they are afraid to take risks for fear they might make a mistake—which would just confirm in their eyes that they have limited intelligence. In other words a fixed mindset leads people to remain in their comfort zone.
As many wise people, including Albert Einstein, have said: all success is achieved outside the comfort zone. So if you continue to do the same old things over and over, you will get the same results as you did before.
People with a fixed mindset also tend not to seek help from other people as they believe that those people will see that as a sign of weakness, and just confirm in their own minds that they really do lack intelligence.
Dr. Dweck’s research, unsurprisingly confirmed that people with a fixed mindset are less “successful” than those with a growth mindset.
But it also found that, you can overcome fixed-mindset thinking and develop a growth mindset.
Although learning new things requires effort and action. Your brain is capable of learning new things you never dreamed you could learn.
So How Do You Develop a Growth Mindset?
Scientists have discovered amazing things about the human brain in recent years, and can demonstrate that as you learn new things, your brain creates new “neural pathways” to embed that new learning.
The picture on the left shows a human brain’s cells, called neurons. The lines joining the cells are called synapses. They can be created by the brain to share new information among the cells. The overall structure of neurons and synapses are known as neural pathways.
The other good news is that age is not a factor in this process; so older people are as capable as younger people when it comes to learning and retaining new skills.
According to Dr Dweck:
“the brain can be re-modelled into the growth mindset by changing one’s point of view. When a dilemma comes up, take a step back and look at how you are viewing it. Are you looking at the problem with a fixed mindset or a growth mindset?
A growth mindset accepts new challenges, strategises a way to solve the challenge and then keeps working until the challenge is solved or achieved. A person with a growth mindset learns from setbacks and keeps moving forward”
Here is a phrase I use in my personal daily affirmations that may help:
Every problem or adverse situation contains the seeds of it’s own solution.
The secret is to focus on the positives in any situation or circumstance, not on the negatives.
If you think hard enough, the positives will come to you; they are always there. Just write down whatever comes into your head, then re-examine what you have written, thoughtfully. It may contain or at least some clues to the solution or answer you are seeking.
You can read more about training your brain in this article
Dr Dweck defined a 4 step process for your growth mindset development and implementation.
I have reviewed the 4 step process (see below), and I believe it is a good framework to follow. It will be important not to miss a step but you may wish to add some additional steps. We are all different and our work experience and background may influence how we approach this.
I have gone into a fair amount of detail and added as an example, a hypothetical project to set up your own home based internet marketing business. I personally find it helpful to have a structure defined as a base to work with.
You may also want to invest in Dr Dweck’s book; I will give you the Amazon link at the end of this section (P.S. this is not an affiliate link).
4 step process for your growth mindset development and implementation.
Step 1. Become aware of your fixed mindset thoughts
It is important to acknowledge that we all have fixed-mindset thoughts sometimes. The key is to recognize when the fixed mindset arises because that is the essential first step in the process of change.
Then analyse the circumstance carefully and ask yourself: If I was addressing this with a growth mindset, how could I view it differently?
Pay close attention to the situations that trigger your fixed-mindset thoughts and try to find a pattern. Notice the words that crop up in your mind that represent your fixed mindset e.g.:
- I can’t do that
- This is way too hard.
- I’m not good enough.
- I give up.
You might even think all of the above in this exact sequence.
Step 2. Make the decision that you are going to change
Like many habits or practices you have adopted, consciously or unconsciously, at some stage in your life, if you want to change you have to actually make a decision to do so.
So you now need to make a conscious decision to change your mindset.
Create your own affirmation and say it to yourself at least once a day, in the morning or evening, and also when a situation arises that may initially trigger a fixed mindset thought in your head.
Dismiss that thought, say your affirmation and look for a growth minded point of view.
With practice this will become easier and easier, and eventually your positively re-wired brain will take control and think with a growth mindset automatically.
Document your successes
It will also help, for a period of time to record your growth mindset decisions in a journal where you document your successes and outline the process you used to create that success.
Not every growth mindset decision you take will be a success. But your success rate will improve with practice.
Every highly successful internet marketer shares their story; the many failures they had on their journey before becoming successful.
But this is not exclusive to internet marketers. I am quite sure that every successful businessman in almost every industry will have had projects that they put time and money into, that didn’t succeed.
There is actually no such thing as failure, only ideas that provide valuable learning but no financial return.
In fact having “failures” along the way are a good sign. They demonstrate that a person or a business is actually doing things outside their comfort zone and taking calculated risks that will lead to greater future success. So don’t be discouraged when things don’t always work out the way you planned.
As Thomas Edison, the inventor of the telephone famously said when he was questioned over the fact that he openly admitted that it had taken 11,000 experiments before he finally discovered the secret of electric light bulb:
“I did not fail once, what I did was eliminate 11,000 possible solutions that didn’t work”
Step 3. When, where and how will you enact your growth mindset plan
Having cultivated and embedded it in your neural system, you need to decide what you are going to do.
In the context of starting a new online business, that might be something like:
“Within the next 3 months I intend to learn the basic skills required to set up an online business, to specify the features and benefits I am looking for in a program, and research the available options until I find one that I believe will meet my desired outcomes.
The solution I identify will need to meet the majority of my requirements for my ideal solution, and have a proven track record of success.
The solution will have a “low-cost entry level” that will enable me to receive basic training and to learn the features and benefits from inside the system, with high quality support to respond to my questions, before I make a long-term commitment of time and money”
Within 6 months I intend to have identified the most suitable program available and I will then commence on a part-time basis so that I can learn all the necessary skills and build my business.
Once I have built my income to an acceptable level I plan to resign from my current employment and make this my full time income source,
I intend to achieve this whole process within 2 years”
Step 4. Define how you intend to keep working on your growth mindset plan so you don’t slip back into the fixed mindset
This has largely been defined in my example for step 3. But as you will need to devote your available time during the research and start-up phases to continuing with your day job and having quality time to spend with your family and hobbies, some things will need to change to make sufficient time to keep to your project plan.
So you will need to develop a more detailed plan for the time you need to spend on your new business as well as other activities.
You will need to make sure your partner has a clear understanding of what will be involved as you will need their help and encouragement. If this aspect goes wrong and causes friction it could be a major hurdle to your motivation and increase the risk of slipping back into old habits.
It may be advisable to also sacrifice your personal hobbies and pastimes in this initial phase, to give you additional time, but also as a sign of your commitment to your growth mindset project.eg. A game of golf can take 6 hours or more out of your weekend, so you might want to cut back on how often you play during this phase.
Bear in mind you will need some time off and respite, so don’t go too mad.
You may decide to cut back on time spent at your day job. Working long hours can become a habit, and there is always something you can be doing at work-but keep that to a minimum and gradually cut back so that no one notices.
Tip: Tell no one at work what you are doing.
If you do, you can guarantee it will get back to your boss and cause you problems. There is no such thing as a s secret in a work situation. People simply can’t resist telling someone else when they know something the other person doesn’t know.
Having some powerful affirmations around your new mindset and project that you say to yourself daily is an essential and surprisingly powerful element of your success.
P.S. Be sure to watch this presentation by Carol Dweck explaining her research into growth and fixed mindset. I had some new insights from watching this:
I hope you find this section useful. If you want to learn more you can get Dr Dweks book from Amazon here
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success Dr Carol Dweck:
The Right Mindset for Success-HBR Interview with Carol Dweck
14 Powerful questions to help you overcome negative thinking;
The power of a positive attitude: