Learning Growth

My daughter’s biggest challenge in her life right now is her resistance to change.  During our latest conversation about it, in which I was trying to persuade her of the potential opportunities and experiences she was missing out on, of the undue stress she was causing herself worrying about something that always works out, I found myself saying to her, “The only thing that’s constant in this world is change”.  My son replied, “Wow, Mom, that’s deep”. LOL

Deep or not, it’s true.  The world and our lives are in constant motion.  Because of this, it is actually harder on us: mentally, emotionally, and physically, to resist change, than to embrace it.  But, despite that truth, we continue to perpetuate this fear and hatred of change. 

So, let me offer you four ways to alter your mindset and overcome your resistance to change.

1. Replace “Change” with “Growth”

Replace Change with Growth

I think whenever we hear the word “Change”, we’ve become programmed to immediately say (or at least think), “I hate change”.  Even if that change opens the door to improving our lives, we tiptoe so hesitantly through that door, kicking and screaming all the way, instead of throwing ourselves head-long into a world of new opportunity. 

Replacing the word “Change” with the word “Growth” doesn’t immediately make everything easier, but it erases our knee-jerk animosity towards the idea.  There’s a finality implied with the word “change” that doesn’t exist with the word “growth”.  Growth implies a state of continuing on, moving forward.  It allows us space and time to keep working on something without a deadline.  Adjusting to a growth mindset allows us to adopt a much more forgiving standard for our lives.

In the classroom, especially among my gifted students, who have a proclivity for perfectionism, I always tried to drive home the phrase, “I Believe in the Power of Yet”. 

  • “I don’t understand this…yet.”
  • “I haven’t mastered this concept…yet.”
  • “I can’t get Mrs. Hartman to give me an ‘A’…yet” 😛

Unlike the idea of change in which one day you are one thing, and the next day you are different, the power of “yet”, along with the idea of growth, allows us to keep moving forward without judgement or any limitations. 

As is often the case, what we preach to others isn’t always as easy to practice in our own lives.  I remember the first fight I had with my husband.  I felt absolutely horrible.  He comforted me by saying, “it’s okay honey, we’re still learning each other”.  With those 5 words, he erased all my feelings of failure.  He gave us space to continue growing

2. Replace the Success/Failure Mindset with a Growth Mindset

Growth Mindset is exactly what it sounds like.  It’s a conscious reprogramming from our embedded success/failure mindset to one that rewards improvement and learning.

Growth Mindset

Growth mindset allows for mistakes.  It recognizes that our best learning comes from improving upon failures. A growth mindset erases the perniciousness of perfection and celebrates progress.    

“The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting”

Walt Disney

Walt Disney himself is a representation of the Growth Mindset.  He’s what we call a “Famous Failure”.  The man who created Mickey Mouse, Feature-length animated movies, Disneyland and Disney World, among so much else was actually fired at age 22 for… “not being creative enough”.  The history of the world is composed of millions of nameless people who gave up at that point.  If Disney had allowed his failure to define him at 22, we wouldn’t know his name, either.

Other Famous Failures include Soichiro Honda, who was compelled to build his own factory when his product was rejected by Toyota.  That factory was bombed and destroyed during WWII not once, not twice, but four times.  Yet he persisted to rebuild and grow.  He said,

“Success is 99% failure”

Soichiro Honda

Colonel Sanders’s recipe for Fried Chicken was rejected by 1,009 restaurants.  Henry Ford’s first company went bankrupt.  J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series was rejected by all 12 major publishing houses. 

Failure didn’t overcome these individuals.  Instead, growth allowed them to learn from their mistakes, and build their determination and resiliency.

3. Replace “Faith” with “Understanding”

Replace Faith with Understanding

Growth requires faith.  Taking on the challenge of growth requires us to have faith in ourselves.  It requires us to say, “even though I am afraid, I believe I can be successful”.   

Now replace Faith in yourself with Understanding.  In other words, instead of believing you can do something, recognize your strength and resilience and understand that you know you can do what is asked of you. No one got to wherever they are at this moment in their life without overcoming thousands of obstacles and mistakes, and making countless course-corrections. 

Growth

When we recognize all that we have accomplished, all that we are able to overcome, it no longer becomes a belief that we can do something, but an understanding that we know we can. 

Whether or not you’re practicing Everyday Reflection, consider taking your next reflection time to think about things you have overcome.  We all have those experiences in our Book of Life.  Recreate the feeling of strength you felt when you finally crossed over whatever problem lay in your path.  Imagine if we didn’t allow life to quash those feelings of empowerment, how we would tackle every day.  We’d all stand 10 feet tall!

You have the strength and resilience in you to grow.  It’s the mind that is holding you back. 

“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.”

Henry Ford

If you can do these 3 things:

  • Replace “change” with “growth”
  • Replace Success/Failure Mindset with Growth Mindset
  • Replace “faith” with “understanding”

You are ready to tackle the biggest challenge.  This is where our strength and resiliency really come into question. 

Change Perspective

4. Replace “Trial” with “Opportunity”

The summer before one of my best friends started a new teaching position, I texted to check in on her.  Her response was simple, “Growth is hard”.  It was one of the simplest yet profound statements I had heard in a long time.  Growth is hard.  If it wasn’t, it wouldn’t be purposeful. 

We have come to Earth to be tried and tested; to learn and grow.  And that growth is painful because we don’t learn from complacency.  Just as a teacher, a parent, or a personal trainer increases the difficulty of a task to increase growth, so does our Creator.

“God will take you as you are at this very moment and begin to work with you”

Dieter F. Uchtdorf

When enduring a trial, we are able to learn just that—endurance.  Through trials we can simultaneously learn dependency on others and recognize the strength in ourselves.  We learn new life skills: determination, humility, courage, reflection, and new relationship skills: empathy, communication, patience, charity.  With so much to be gained from one experience, why do we hide from them?  Because we are afraid we can’t handle them?  You can.  You already have. 

Change Trial to Opportunity

And that’s the last step and one that we will likely spend a great portion of our lives learning to practice: Replace the word “Trial” with “Opportunity”, and seek out those opportunities.  When you alter your negative emotional response to “change” with a positive emotional response to opportunities for growth, your resistance to change fades away. You embrace the Power of ‘Yes’, and allow new experiences, new people, and a wealth of happiness to enter your life.

Leave a Reply