“I’ve had so many lectures about having a growth mindset as opposed to fixed mindset.
At these lectures we hear the messages: ‘Don’t worry,’ ‘don’t stress’ and ‘be happy.’
We are also told that we must also be ‘resilient.’ It is further explained to us that we
shouldn’t have a fixed mindset, because it holds us back from success.
But here is the problem…nobody tells us how to do it!”
Sofia Grace Franklin, (aged fifteen)
My daughter explained the above to me a couple of years ago and it really resonated with me because she is so right – nobody really teaches you how to develop a strong mind.
I’ve always been fascinated by the mind and it started way back when I began studying martial arts. There was a mysticism that surrounded the oriental arts that went way beyond the physical and I remember my first class when we learned to stand in the “horse stance.”
After standing in this particular stance (you can look it up on YouTube), for just a few minutes, my legs were burning, and my face contorted with pain – at least that’s how I would describe myself as I was standing in front of a mirror!
Our instructor simply told us to focus our minds and to ignore the pain…just as I tell my two sons today as they have worked themselves up to holding the stance for over ten minutes.
Talking to my friend and internal martial arts master, Chris Chappell, who has devoted most of his nearly sixty years to the study of both the arts and developing the mind,he tells me that the key to develop and strengthen the mind is to go through the body.
When I started my first business from my living room in London, there were days when I simply could not get out of bed. Looking back, I was consumed with excitement and fear…but fear was winning the day. I would make excuses not to make the short trip from my bedroom into the office, which was my dining room and simply lay in bed feeling sorry for myself while watching cable TV.
But something inside was pushing me to simply get over the fear and do something – I managed to think of the martial arts stories that my teacher told me when he was in Japan and how they immersed themselves in cold water, to “energize” the system and also to toughen the mind, so I started taking cold showers.
Now, I’m not for any minute suggesting you do the same, but all I am telling you is what worked for me. You have to be careful when you shock the body with cold water or any other physical practice, so if you are inspired to do so, get a check-up from your doctor first.
Starting a Business
Simply deciding to start a business is a courageous step to take – if it is your first business, you are delving into the unknown and nobody can really prepare you for it, but here are some points to help you from my personal experiences.
Embrace fear and stop focusing on success – in my opinion, you should not put too much pressure on yourself to succeed and I know that sounds odd when talking about starting a business that you want to be successful. But if you take away the pressure and focus on how you are going to survive the first critical year, especially in cash-flow terms, you can start to build a solid foundation for success. With fear, you have two choices as it can either paralyze you or motivate you…yet it remains the same emotion.
- Do something physical if you can – it may be going for a morning walk, or simply push-ing yourself a little harder in the gym, but you are learning to overcome obstacles and break through barriers, just as you will face in business. I once had someone who couldn’t do hardly any physical activity due to the effect of injuries, but they could take some light dumbells and work within their limits. You can also take up tai chi, yoga or focus on deep breathing. Use your imagination.
- Research how to develop a growth mindset – the psychologist Carol Dweck coined this term, and you can research her work. Remember that as a child, you were fearless, carefree, instinctive and hugely creative. Those qualities are not lost and they just maybe residing deep within you.
- Stop caring – worrying about what others think about you is only going to add to your stress. You have to start to focus on you and making mistakes is part of the learning process.
Your mindset is your most valuable asset – it’s the focal point for everything you do.
Life is about reality and not just about suc-cess – failure is part of the learning process.
A growth mindset is one that can change, as opposed to a fixed one and in my opinion, you were born with all the qualities you need to develop your mindset and it can simply just be a process of re-connecting.
Sometimes it can be about “unlearning” and re-wiring the brain.
Ultimately, you have to face and embrace your fears and as one great boxing trainer once explained when talking about the emotions of the hero and the coward. He said that they both had exactly the same fear…but they used it differently!