I started a new book last week, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, PhD. Mindset. That's one of the new It words these days, isn't it? It's up there with Abundance, Snowflake, and Kale. Mindset seems to be the theme for most of my readings/musings of late. I did a group hypnosis session last month about a prosperity mindset. T. Harv Eker keeps screaming at me to have a Warrior Mindset. And now, here's Dr. Dweck differentiating the growth from the fixed mindset.
I have noticed some universal takeaways.
Let me illustrate with a story I assume will resonate with a lot of you. When I was at school, we used to write our exams in the gym. Rows upon rows of desks and chairs. The scent of fear and I'll shower later was heavy in the air. "You may turn over your exams," the teacher would proclaim. Heads down, pencils up!
I would work diligently, really getting into my groove, right up until such a time as the teacher would start to do her rounds. I'd stare down at my paper but be watching her, scarcely blinking and really honing my peripheral vision skills. My blood pressure would slowly creep up to the point where I'd almost stroke out as she came up behind me. My breathing would get shallow. I would completely stop writing. All I could do was sit there and wait for her to move on, silently begging her to do so.
It would take another good ten minutes for my parasympathetic nervous system to get back to baseline and ten more beyond that to my exam-writing rhythm back. And why? Because I was being observed. I didn't need quantum mechanics to tell me that the mere act of being watched affects the observed reality. Every particle of my being felt that!
Obviously, there was more to it than that. I am human, after all, and my conditioned mind took over. "She's judging you!!!"
Fight, flight, or freeze.
Fight, flight, or freeze.
Fight, flight, or freeze.
Those were my only choices, two of which had been wrested from me by social convention and, most likely, school regulations. I froze. Deer in the headlights. Pupils dilated... "Now she's gonna think you're on drugs!"
You see how it can spiral.
The conditioned mind is fed by the lizard brain. The most primitive part of our brains, its only job is to protect us from danger. That was fine for early humans whose days mostly consisted of fending off predators and warriors from other tribes. And hunting, protecting the village's meat supply from predators and other tribes. That is how we evolved. The lizard - and I'm not visualising the Geiko gecko here - comes out hot, spitting and screaming like something out of Jurassic Park. Here's the problem: Mrs. Warren couldn't have been more than five feet tall, and that includes her Caucasian salt and pepper afro. Hardly a charging wildebeest.
What's my point?
I'm not going to get into the big fears and phobias - those can be addressed in some root cause coaching sessions - I'm talking about the debilitating area of social-anxiety. Yes, it, too, has its origins deep in your past and I believe will keep manifesting in your life until you have healed it, but for those among you who are scared to go don't like digging that deep, I can offer this as a band aid: Embrace a growth mindset. If you're wondering what that looks like:
Mrs. Warren was just doing her job. I wish I could tell her that these days I look forward to taking tests, because they show me areas where I could expand my knowledge. How exciting is that? I could even do some public speaking and convince myself that those butterflies are excitement! Oh, and I don't let my self-worth be determined by how well or how badly I do something. Five or six years ago, I read Deepak Chopra's Golf for Enlightenment. Actually, I read it at the start of every golf season for four years. I always laughed that I would never get to a point where I enjoyed a bad golf shot as much as a good one, but I can now laugh them off, and not throw a raging, turf-damaging tantrum like I might've once.
Think about all of the successful people that you know, both personally and at a remove – actors, musicians, professional athletes. You hear great stories of ‘overnight success’, but the people being referred to in such a way would tell you a much different story. James Dyson, the vacuum cleaner mogul, endured 5127 failed prototypes before his first successful model. Col Sanders had his recipe of eleven herbs and spices rejected over a thousand times. Harrison Ford had been acting for seven years – and at the time been throwing himself into his carpentry career – before he caught his break in American Graffiti. Steven Spielberg was actually rejected from the University of Southern California School of Theater, Film and Television on three separate occasions. Calgary Flames Captain Mark Giordano wasn’t drafted into the OHL, wasn’t drafted into the NHL, and had to work harder than most to get to where he is today — earning his keep in the AHL, keeping his NHL dream alive by detouring through Russia and the KHL, and improving every detail every season since as a regular with the Flames. He is short-listed to win this year’s Norris Trophy.
The experts (whomever they may be) say that much of human happiness is driven by the desire to grow. Growth means pushing back against the boundaries of fear and rejection. As Neale Donald Walsch said, "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone."
If you are content play it safe, to not challenge yourself, and to carry on as you are until your death, go for it! Just make sure to do it with eyes wide open, so you don't die full of regret. But I will also make myself available to you in those moments, ready to help you look at, rewrite, and share your life story.
Leave the world better
It takes twenty-one days to change a habit. If your mind's habit is predominantly a fixed-mindset, I invite you to purchase my growth-mindset hypnosis recording.
http://www.violetlight.ca/store/p7/Hypnosis_for_a_Growth_Mindset.html It is the first recording I have made available through the website, due to some previous technological issues which affected the quality of my other recordings.
While the recording is a great tool of suggestion therapy, suitable for most, as with any hypnosis, it is not for people with epilepsy or psychoses. If you have any mental health issues, please consult your physician before using any hypnosis or guided meditation.
To get to the root cause of your fixed-mindset, or any other issues which you would like addressed before you hand them off to the next generation, please contact me to arrange your complementary phone consultation and to book your sessions. 403-616-6108
Mental Health Coach