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5 New Habits to Help You Cultivate a Growth Mindset

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As we raise children, we often teach them that grit, perseverance, and resilience lead to mastery and success. They do. But what are we teaching them about their intelligence and capacity to learn?  When children believe that they have been born with predetermined skills and abilities or with a fixed intelligence that they cannot change, they are more likely to avoid challenging subjects and create artificial limits on themselves that will impact them into adulthood.

In her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success psychologist & researcher Dr. Carol S. Dweck suggested two general mindsets: fixed and growth. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that character, intelligence, and creative ability are unmoving givens that can’t be changed in any meaningful way. Looking perfect and avoiding failure at all costs becomes a way of maintaining that inner sense of competence. When challenged or frustrated by a task, you may hear people say things like, “I’m so stupid because I don’t know how,” or “I’m lousy at this, and I can’t get any better.” They don’t know how to do something and don’t want to make an effort because they believe they should only do what they already know how to do or what feels easy. This risk-averse mindset can lead to an unwillingness to push yourself to do challenging things. 

By contrast, Dweck suggests that a person with a growth mindset thrives on challenge, seeing it as a launchpad for growth and for extending existing abilities instead of evidence of unintelligence. With a growth mindset, you focus on continuous improvement and self-awareness through ongoing feedback. You recognize that you can improve through your specific efforts and deliberate practice. You can see yourself changing and growing through application and experience. Having a growth mindset means that for you, challenges are an opportunity for growth. You understand that your brain can learn new, complex tasks (at any age) and develop with training and effort. You may start thinking things like, “I can do hard things,” “It’s ok to make a mistake; that’s how I learn,” “With practice, I can and will get better.”

“In a growth mindset, challenges are exciting rather than threatening. So rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.” – Carol S. Dweck

So why is it vital to know about and develop a growth mindset?

The truth is that having a growth mindset and doing the hard things will absolutely help you accomplish more than you could even imagine. However, if you were born and raised in the 20th century, you were most likely not raised with a growth mindset. Before 2006, when Dweck’s Mindset book was published, children were more likely to be raised to believe that talent, intelligence, and ability are given at birth and governed by genetics. There are probably several skills and abilities that many may have given up on developing or not focused their efforts on because they believe that they lack the capacity to do them well. When they allow their default programming and conditioning to dictate how much effort is put into learning new skills without challenging norms, they will be subconsciously holding themselves back and miss out on exploring the outer limits of their talents.

I know that for me, there have been many times in my life that I just decided, “I am not good at that,” and just avoided the challenge. I, like many others of my generation, grew up having a fixed mindset. For example, I was convinced that I was no good at math. As a result, I did not like it and made little effort because it seemed too hard. My fear and loathing of all things math-related meant that I did not get my bachelor’s degree in psychology or business, subjects I really liked, because both had an advanced math requirement, and I was certain I wouldn’t be able to do it. 

The ironic thing, however, is that ultimately, I had no choice but to overcome my conviction that I was lousy at math if I wanted to pursue any degree in psychology. I was required to take a statistics class at the undergraduate level to get into a program and then a graduate-level research and statistics course. What I learned by completing both courses with an “A” was that by being willing to ask a million questions and putting maximum effort into understanding what seemed challenging, I could do things I had previously believed were not possible for me.  At the time, I did not know that I was applying the principles of having a growth mindset.

If you have a fixed mindset, here are five habits to help you cultivate a growth mindset. For the next 90 days, focus intentionally on integrating them into your daily life; being intentional means writing them down, thinking about them, and asking yourself, honestly, if you are using them.

  1. Be Curious and creative. Challenge yourself to learn something new every day and go beyond your comfort zone. You will discover new strategies to implement that will help you achieve goals you previously thought were impossible or too difficult. Keep tweaking them for effectiveness. 
  2. Be Committed to the growth, goals, & promises you make to yourself. If you want to see progress, it is essential to toss out the excuses and stay the course. Decide what you are going to do and that there is no room for excuses. Commit to your decision and then do what you have committed to for the time you have committed to doing it. Hold yourself accountable for your commitments. 
  3. Be Consistent with your efforts. Consistency is the key to developing new habits and learning new things. It is also usually one of our biggest hurdles and where good intentions fall apart. Be focused with your efforts. Decide what, when, and how you will channel 
  4. Be Courageous in the face of challenges. Setbacks and challenges are learning opportunities. They are your most significant opportunity for growth. Embrace them. Seek solutions and make adjustments. No matter how exhaustive your plan or fine-tuned the details, obstacles will surface unexpectedly and, unless you have a crystal ball, you won’t always be able to predict exactly what obstacles will occur. So, don’t waste energy on that. Instead, face obstacles when they show up with the lens of curiosity and be focused on solutions. Be agile in both your mindset and approach. 
  5. Embrace Constructive feedback & leverage it for growth & expansion. Sometimes your best prospects for personal and professional development come from utilizing corrective feedback to grow. Ask mentors and supervisors for specific feedback to give you clarity on the skills needed to move forward and the blind spots, obstacles, and pitfalls you may not be able to see by yourself.

By deliberately and intentionally focusing on these five habits daily, your life and work will shift positively in ways you can’t imagine. You will have more confidence because confidence is built through working on your skills and seeing growth and improvement over time. Making an effort is the only way forward, so be willing to do the work. Each new day is an opportunity to try again, so try again.

Dr. Samantha Madhosingh has dedicated the last 20 years to researching, understanding, & solving the infinite possibilities of human potential, behavior, & performance. She trains leaders on how to dismantle & unlearn the stories & biases that impact progress. Leaders who work closely with her achieve mastery in mindset, communication, & relationships. Dr. Samantha has authored & co-authored four books & appeared on CW, FOX, NBC, CBS, Emotional MoJo, Daytime and Heart&Soul. Learn more at https://askdrsamantha.com.

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Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

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Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

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How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

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It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

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Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

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People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

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5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

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Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
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