Where Personal Growth Starts

Xperience Growthblogposts

By: Carter Williams, Director of Xperience Growth Coaching & Consulting

If you’re reading this post, you already know the importance of personal growth. You might see growth as the missing link between where you are now and where you want to be. I agree with that.

Regardless of where you go to find opportunities to grow, all personal growth starts from the same place.

Personal growth comes from within us. We can go to seminars, sit through webinars, read books, get coaching and many other things to achieve personal growth. All that is good. What happens when you attend and do those things is that your mind is influenced to think and ultimately do something differently. Without absorbing the content and taking action, no growth happens.

I love the metaphor and imagery of a sponge. When I’m washing the dishes, I put soap into the sponge and it becomes soapy. I’m then able to suds-up plates & pots with the soap that the sponge first absorbed and then oozes out. What would happen if, instead of soap, I put motor oil on the sponge? Gross, right? The sponge would still absorb it and then I would lather up my plates & pots with motor oil. As you visualize the motor oil image, you’re noticing the same application as with the soap, yet with much different and messier outcome.

That is the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. A growth mindset is represented by the soap and the fixed is represented by the motor oil. We, of course, are the sponge.

Like the sponge, we absorb life into us. Here’s the big difference between this fun little sponge metaphor and us… it’s actually US that turns what we absorb into the soap or the motor oil. Based on how we mentally process life, we are either making our world and the world of those around us a cleaner, sparkly place or a big oily mess.

We have both growth and fixed mindsets within us. The growth mindset is who we really are. It’s us at our being, our core. It’s achieved through our degree of consciousness about ourselves. A growth mindset means anything and everything is possible within us. Eckhart Tolle describes consciousness in his book The New Earth by saying it “determines how you act in the world and interact with others.” The more conscious you are the more you are able to see possibilities, the more you are able to grow.

The fixed mindset is not who we really are. In Tolle’s definition, it’s our ego. It’s our unconscious thoughts, feelings, words and actions. For most of us, it’s how we default. Have you ever said or thought “Of course, this happened to me?” or “I can’t believe they did/said that?” We all have… and that is our ego talking. It’s fixed because it judges things based on our current and unconscious way of thinking. We’re turning what we absorb into our favorite blend of motor oil.

What can we do about our ego keeping our mindset fixed and getting in the way of our true conscious, growth-minded selves? Bring the unconscious conscious. See our ego for what it is, an illusion. Tolle says, “If you recognize illusion as illusion, it dissolves. The recognition of illusion is also its ending. It’s survival depends on your mistaking it for reality.”

It’s the growth mindset that allows us to have the success that we desire. The fixed mindset keeps us from it.

Brian Tracy a leader in personal and professional development says that high performing people are shown to have positive self talk and eliminate negative self talk. Successful people interpret EVERYTHING that happens to them as a positive and they tend to have a perspective that every event and situation has something positive. Sounds like a growth mindset to me.

He prescribed 5 ways to create positive mental programming to help keep us maintain a conscious, growth mindset

1. Affirmations repeated can install powerful positive commands

2. Write out goals in forms of affirmation

3. Positive visualization – mix emotion with the picture, the faster it becomes reality 

4. Feed your mind with positive books & other content

5. Associate yourself with positive people and remove/limit negative people

We can find ways to grow in all situations in life. It’s not about the situations, growth comes from within us. It simply takes conscious intentionality to have a growth mindset and stay away from a fixed mindset. In short, be the soapy sponge!