The Mastery Mindset

All of your results in life begin with your mind, this is a basic law of life. In order to get the results you want, you need to start by changing your mindset. You start with adopting a new mindset or framework of thinking, this changes your thoughts, which changes your feelings, which changes your actions, and finally changes your results. In order to simplify this process, I have reduced mindsets down to two fundamentals: Growth and Fixed.

To succeed in life you are going to need to follow a path to mastery and abandon the fixed mindset. That is a commitment to becoming the very best at whatever you do. In order to do this, you must adopt the growth mindset.

Before I tell you how to switch to a growth mindset, you should know exactly what it means. I first heard of this subject in the book Bounce by Matthew Syed. If you ever wanted to know how to seriously damage or help your kids future pay close attention. Syed talks about  a study done on a classroom of children. In this study they give all the kids the same test, but they do an experiment where they tell half the kids that they did well so they must be very smart, and half the kids that they did well because they must have worked very hard. While it seems like an innocent remark you may be asking "what's the harm of telling a kid that they are smart?".

It turns out that when given the choice of taking an easy or difficult test, the children who were told that they are intelligent were more likely to pick the easy one to preserve their new found ego of being smarter. On top of choosing the easier option, they also gave up far more easily than the other group and were more prone to cheat on their tests or complain. The other group of children who were praised on being harder workers were actually more likely to take the harder test to challenge themselves and it took them much longer to give up, if it at all. This highlights the difference between the Growth and Fixed mindset.

There are many names for this idea now such as solution versus problem focus, positive versus negative, or entrepreneurial versus purposeful approach. When you're on the path to mastery, taking the combination of these will ensure that slowly but surely you will rise to the top.

Lets talk about focusing on the positive over the negative. If you got your report card back and had 3 A's, 2 B's and an F- What would you naturally focus on? As humans we naturally have a negativity bias, so almost everyone is going to be getting down on themselves because they failed one course. The truth about life is that you need to develop the habit to continually focus on the positive things you already have. In this case you should have the awareness to say that the three classes you received an A are your strengths and you should be focusing on how to build on those.

In your business when you find something that works, double down on it and duplicate it- ditch what isn't working. We have the ability to overcome our natural negativity, but like anything else it is a habit that must be formed using self discipline and continually reinforced.

A practical thing you can do to become more positive is to take the mental diet: You are allowed to be negative but only for 2 minutes max, when you realize you are being negative you need to either reframe the situation or just stop. You do this for 7 days straight and if you find yourself having feelings of anger, frustration, sadness, or any other painful feelings for more than 2 minutes you have to start the week over.

In the book The ONE Thing by Gary Keller, he talks about the entrepreneurial vs purposeful approach to mastery. The difference in his words between being an E and a P are: doing what comes naturally, and doing what comes unnaturally. This is the difference between reaching the peak of your natural skill, and breaking past your limits and becoming world class.

If you are anything like how I was growing up, you most likely think that some people were born gifted and that you could never be like them. There's a reason this is a called the Talent Myth. The book Bounce is entirely based on debunking this theory that some people are naturally better than others. You may have heard of the 10,000 hour rule, where if you want to become a master at your craft you must spend between 7 to 10 years, or the equivalent of 10,000 hours. The truth about child prodigies is that they started before everyone else and had more practice than them.

With that said, Gary Keller's E vs P approach is an exact formula on how to break through your natural barriers. Entrepreneurial is the natural approach we take, you tackle challenges with your natural energy, enthusiasm, and natural abilities. The problem comes when you hit walls and then instead of finding new ways around them, you tend to give up and look for greener pastures in Keller's words. The purposeful or growth mindset comes when you will do whatever it takes to succeed, which is a result of sustained focus, adopting new models, systems, and achieving new breakthroughs. The rule to remember is a different result requires doing something different!

If you are going through tough times, think back to a time in your life when you overcame difficult challenges and won. For me learning sales and good social skills, following a year long exercise program, or finishing engineering tends to stick out as particularly tough. Focusing on these wins will help you develop your growth mindset. The alternative is focusing on how hard it is and how you don't know if you will be able to make it. If this is where your heads at, chances are you wont go far.

When you own a business one thing you will need to develop is solutions focus, which requires stepping back and analyzing all the different possible scenarios. I have learned that you get what you focus on for better or for worse. If you are trying to meet someone and get a date you most likely will be thinking of all the ways they are going to reject you, it is much better to concentrate on everything that can go right and then walk up with the expectation of winning.

On your journey to success remember: you are the product of your mind, and how you see the world and respond to situations is what will make or break you. Take a proactive approach to changing your mindset today by taking the mental diet, focus on past wins, and adopting new models and systems to bust your old plateaus. Remember, there is no such thing as an overnight success, the only way is to ensure that you become incrementally better every single day.

Until next time,

~Ben

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