It’s a disease to blame others.
I used to think about all the things that stop me from doing and stop me from setting my own rules.
There are and used to be too many ‘outside’ things that stopped me from believing in myself. It’s these self-limiting stories I told myself that led to unhappiness, no real progress, no real commitments, … no real anything in my life. It’s a life not worthwhile living.
Once I stopped blaming others, I realized how beautiful life can be!
The question for you might become how can I change my thinking? How can I change stop blaming others? How can I move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset?
Moving from a FIXED MINDSET to a GROWTH MINDSET
In Mindset, Carol Dweck differentiates between people with growth mindsets, who just want to learn, and those with fixed mindsets, who feel a pressure to prove to others that they are smart.
Fixed mindset people experience failure as something wrong with them. Growth mindset people use failure as an opportunity.
In her TED Talk ‘The Power of Believing That You Can Improve’, she hammers the point:
We have the ability to move from a “fixed” mindset to a “growth” oriented one.
- Instead of thinking “I’m either good or bad at something”, tell yourself the following story: “I can learn anything I want.”
- Instead of thinking “I don’t like to be challenged.”, tell yourself the following story: “I want to challenge myself.”
- Instead of “Tell me that I’m smart”, aim for “Tell me I try hard. ”
Unlike most of the 4M people who watched the TED talk, do yourself a favor and show real commitment BY APPLYING Carol’s lesson. Start improving the areas of your life you want to improve. Pick one NOW and start improving.
It’s the passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval that set’s the growth mindset apart from a fixed one.
If you stop looking for approval, you also stop blaming others and build a new foundation in your life — especially around people and things you used to think as blockages (your heritage, culture, upbringing), but now you appreciate them much more because you realize they are not the reason why you can’t do this or that.
The reason why you do NOT do this or that is YOU.
It’s your fixed mindset. So stop blaming others and WORK on your growth mindset — if you want to change or achieve anything that matters in your life. Don’t wait for others. Don’t wait for a mysterious lottery win.
Let me share two areas of my life — my body and my mind — where I used to blame others for my struggles, for my weaknesses, for my everything … but I stopped doing so because I realized that it doesn’t help me to blame others, and worked on myself instead.
I’m 2m tall. I blamed nature for being too tall — even though many many people would love to change with me.
The reason why I used to think that I am too tall is that I never felt comfortable around people when socializing. I’m almost a head taller than anyone else and mostly felt that “I don’t fit in”.
This feeling was even taken to another extreme when I travelled throughout South-East Asia where everyone and everything just seems so much smaller for me.
I try to make myself “smaller”, whenever I talk to people — and still feel doing so to this day, but try to resist it.
I would have never danced in the middle of the dance floor. And that’s why I’d admire men who are extremely good dancers. They dance as if they came from another planet where they inject rhythm and fun to people when born. (*LOL* — maybe I’m from a different planet called Germany where most people are stiff and don’t like to dance …)
I used to think that this tallness leads to extremely bad dancing, and body posture. I blamed my body for not dancing well and for not standing up straight.
BUT I changed this feeling and mindset around my tallness.
What might still be true for dancing (because I think I’m an horrible dancer, but dance regardless — and even in the middle of the dance floor :), is definitely not true for my posture anymore.
I tend to believe that my body posture is much better now than it used to be.
That’s what I did.
I started going to ecstatic dance sessions to feel my body and moves mindfully (no drugs, no alcohol). I started doing mobilizing my body every morning as part of my morning routine and went to yoga classes irregularly.
My advice: Get started with mobilizing your body in the morning as a daily practice.
You don’t even need to call it yoga. In fact, I don’t think about my practice as yoga. It’s wakening up and strengthen my body every morning. You might find other workouts better suited for you.
One video helped me a lot in the beginning:
Yoga taught me that my body has limits, now. I accept and work on them. I don’t expect to have a “perfect” body anymore — to never feel tired, or never be ill.
Instead I listen to my body and build my life around it — for instance, going to bed early, sleeping 6h, if not 7.5h. Eating good food at regular times.
How can you improve dancing if you don’t start practicing dancing in the first place? How can you improve anything in life if you don’t practice it and think instead “you’re either good or bad at it”?
I found this binary thinking extremely harming.
Whenever someone tells me they aren’t good at anything, I shrink. I think “it’s not true.” It’s your mind(set), dude.
Tim Ferriss’ book “The 4 Hour Body” helped me a lot in starting to change my physiology.
I used to blame nature, my parents, my teachers for not being smart enough. For not being sharp and analytical enough. I always wanted to be good with numbers, but I’m not.
It took me a long time to discover that it’s not IQ but emotional intelligence, sensitivity and mindfulness that set me apart.
Especially three books and their insights helped me to realize that.
#First book: Emotional Intelligence by Daniel Goleman
You are emotional intelligent if you’re capable of recognizing your own and other people’s emotions, and using these to guide your thinking and behavior.
For a highly sensitive person like myself, emotional intelligence becomes even more important. But in my upbringing — in school, in university, at home or in society generally — analytical and rational intelligence is much more valued than emotional intelligence.
#Second book: The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron
In “The Highly Sensitive Person”, Elaine N. Aron explains that sensitivity is normal and be found in 15 to 20% of the population. Our brains also work a little differently than others.
We’re more aware than others of subtleties. This is mainly because our brain processes information and reflects on it more deeply. For example, if we wear glasses, we see more than others by noticing more.
Sensitivity is valued differently in different cultures. In cultures where it is not valued, a highly sensitive person tends to have low self-esteem. Your are told “don’t be so sensitive” so that they feel abnormal.
Third book: The Power of NOW by Eckhart Tolle
It’s not really a book for the mind. Don’t read it in order to feed your mind, stroke your ego or validate your beliefs.
It’s a book to teach you to be free of your mind. If you will, it’s a book about your ongoing thinking patterns and self-limiting beliefs and how to overcome them.
The easy and quickest answer — but yet most difficult to understand and act upon:
Always say “yes” to the present moment.
Other lessons I found extremely valuable:
- Love is not to be found outside of you.
- Don’t take life so seriously.
- There is a fine balance between honoring the past and losing yourself in it.
- Letting go requires strength and a lot of courage.
- Give up defining yourself and others.
- You are more than your mind.
- Whatever you fight, you strengthen, and what you resist, persists.
- Power over others is weakness disguised as strength.
- Worry is a waste of time.
Perhaps you are ripe for this book like I was. Even so it was not always easy to let go of cherished beliefs and practices, but ultimately it is the only thing I can do if I really want freedom. Eckhart Tolle showed me how conditioned I have become in a gentle and easy manner — showing me a path to freedom of thoughts, judgements, blaming, attachment, …
I’m not saying that I’m not doing all of these things anymore.
Of course not! My ‘f*cking’ mind presents me with challenges every moment to stay present.
But I now consider every thought of judgement, or thought of blame a challenge to stay present and not let my mind control me like a marionette.
I aim to be in control of my thoughts realizing that I am NOT MY THOUGHTS!
How can you also do this you might wonder?
Start meditating. I started by using headspace. It’s an app that allows you to gentle start with 5 minute sessions and slowly increase the intensity — as you wish.
Later I went to the Berkeley Zen Centre in California every morning for a few weeks in a row till I established an habit that sticks.
Now I meditate every morning, and try to stay mindful throughout the day when I am working, walking, eating, or chatting with people.
The POWER OF NOW can transform your thinking. The result? More joy, right now. — Oprah Winfrey
What are you thoughts about moving from a FIXED MINDSET to a GROWTH MINDSET? — to #BeYourself. To become a better version of yourself. To be more honest to yourself. To stop lying. To start improving — with small incremental gains and routines.