Why not have a go this month?

Motorcycles with learner plates

Did you know that September is the Festival of Learning’s ‘Have A Go’ month?  In celebration of lifelong learning and self development, it’s encouraging people to try new things.

I have long been an advocate for lifelong learning and I believe that our education shouldn’t stop when we leave school.

And whether you consider learning to be education in the formal sense, such as gaining qualifications etc., or whether you are interested in learning more about yourself and how you can get the best out of life, education and evolving is key.

Just as the world around us evolves, so do we. So should we.  We’re not the same people we were when we were younger.   Situations and experiences shape us.  Sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

We are constantly evolving.

The positive side of that is that we have the opportunity to choose what we become.  Our resources may be limited at times and we may need support to do it, but ultimately, we have the power to change our experience.

And without learning, we stagnate.  Physically and mentally.  We lose motivation and desire quickly if we’re not stimulated and engaged with the world or the people around us.  And it can be difficult to get it back.

Trying new things brings novelty, and our brains love novelty.

Research has shown that we are much more likely to stick at a new habit or skill if it involves something new.

During lockdown, many people have struggled with motivation, and after months of being stuck at home without routine or structure, it can be hard to get yourself back out there again.  So trying something new could be one way to take small steps.

Whether it’s a new activity we’ve never tried before, or perhaps doing something familiar in a different way, we can build our interest back up.

Is there something you’ve always wanted to have a go at?  Perhaps a new skill or ambition, or just greater awareness of self?  Something to improve your health or wellbeing, or open doors to new opportunities?

Sign up for a class, join a group, try a taster event…you never know where it might lead!

Photo by The Ride Academy on Unsplash

Can we benefit from having a neutral mindset?

So far in this month of March Mindset Matters, we’ve looked at the most commonly known traits of the fixed or growth mindset.  Maybe you have recognised where you tend to naturally sit within these.   But are there any other alternatives? And can we benefit from having a neutral mindset?

When it comes to our personal growth, we know that our mindset can have a huge effect on how we approach life.   And we know that having a growth mindset, and actively seeking out new experiences can help us to keep learning.

We’ve also seen how having a fixed mindset can be detrimental to our personal development, and how it can hold us back.  But if we are ‘go go go’ all the time in a growth mindset phase, we may be missing out on the most important bit.  And that is ‘learning’.

I would suggest that sometimes it can be helpful to slip into neutral and do nothing.  To wait and see. Or at least assimilate what we have learned.  Can we really benefit from having a neutral mindset?

In order for us to grow and develop, we need to try new things, or take on new experiences or challenges.  Sometimes we’ll be successful and sometimes we won’t, but either way the experience will have taught us some key things.  What went well, what didn’t go so well, what would I repeat next time, what would I do differently next time.   And in order to assimilate and understand, we need a period of rest and reflection, so that learning can then ‘bed in’.

Likewise, if we are full steam ahead on a particular goal or target, we need to pause along the way and check in with our progress.  This helps us recognise how far we’ve come (along with ‘what’s working/what isn’t’) but also to check that where we are heading is still in the right direction.

We need to assess whether what we are doing is going to get us to where we want to be.  Or maybe where we want to be has changed.

A motivational quote about personal growth

How can a neutral mindset help me?

A journey of personal growth might just open up new goals that we hadn’t previously thought possible.  And as we prove to ourselves what we are capable of, and we develop new skills, we build the confidence to think bigger.

Time for self reflection is crucial to allowing this process to happen.  And of course, we need rest to recharge our batteries.

But what if I feel guilty for taking a rest

The idea of rest is a tricky one for some people. If you’re used to being on the go, slowing down or coming to a halt, can feel as though you’re missing out. Or worse, being lazy. But this is far from it.

Our bodies, and especially our minds, need rest to make sense of what’s going on and to regenerate, so if you’re finding it difficult to allow yourself permission, try reframing it as a period of review or reflection instead, to consolidate your learning!

So if you’re on a journey of growth and you’re feeling a little jaded or foggy about where you’re going next, try slipping into neutral for a while.

For more discussion on monthly themes of personal growth, follow me on Instagram at https://www.instagram.com/startalittlefire  or check out my podcast, Sunday Night Motivation.

 

Photo credit:   Alok Sharma on Unsplash

The Perils of a Fixed Mindset

So, I started off in last week’s post looking at different forms of mindset, and how the most common that we hear about are the ‘growth’ or ‘fixed’ mindsets.  These terms would seem to suggest that we are either one or the other, and don’t take into account how we change and develop through our experiences. But why does it even matter?

Because the way we approach things is hugely affected by our mindset, and therefore our life experiences will be affected by our mindset. And if we have a fixed mindset, we will tend to think in two ways:

  1. We think of ourselves as having traits or the type of personality that is rigid – this is just how I am. This is me. I’m just unlucky, lazy, I can’t do this/that/the other.
  2. And conversely, we think that other people who are successful/happy or whatever, are just born that way. They are lucky, things seem to land in their lap. We can fail to recognise the work, study, effort that they’ve put in, to get to where they are.

Being closed off in this way can actually contribute to keeping us stuck. If I feel that I’m not a lucky person or good things don’t happen to me, then it can stop me from being open to new experiences, or putting myself out of my comfort zone. And if more rubbish things keep happening, then that is just reinforcing my beliefs.

Even taking the smallest steps to challenge our thoughts when we hear ourselves having these fixed ideas, can help us to grow. Change is possible. But it needs action kicking it up the backside first.

Next week, I’ll be looking at some tips on how we can start to develop a growth mindset, and get things moving.

 

 

Photo credit:  https://unsplash.com/@cristina_gottardi