Grow with a Learning Mindset!
Life is full of ups and downs. Perhaps you recently ended a relationship, got negative feedback on a work project, or fell into a bout of stress, anxiety, or depression. Because our brains are wired to pay attention to the negative, losses like these are often magnified and/or rehashed over time, with the result that they become fertile ground for self-criticism. Adopting a learning mindset will help you shift from focusing on the negative so that you are more open to recognizing how these experiences can actually be catalysts for growth and future happiness.
Every single experience in life contains information to help us further align with our intentions.
This is a single thread that weaves throughout Uncovering Happiness and MBSR Every Day: Daily Practices from the Heart of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction. If you’ve followed my writings you know I’m a big fan of short phrases to help us grow from the inevitable obstacles of life. In this post, I’d like to introduce you to one of these phrases:
Forgive, Investigate, and Invite
Did you recently fall short in a parenting moment, a business meeting, an intimate relationship, or in trying to create better habits? Rather than ruminate on the slip, look at it as a learning opportunity. You can bring a learning mindset to an experience like this in the following ways:
- Forgive – You can forgive yourself for what happened. That was the past, you did the best you could with what you knew and what was going on. Hindsight is 20/20, you can’t undo or change what’s already happened.
- Investigate – This isn’t meant to be self-indulgent and we don’t want to let ourselves off the hook. This is an opportunity to learn and grow. Look at what happened, investigate to see what new understanding might help you the next time you encounter a similar situation.
- Invite – Now that you’re in the present moment, with this new understanding, make the choice to begin again.
From a larger perspective, you can’t possibly lose in life if you look at everything that comes your way as an experience from which to learn and grow.
This learning mindset is something to intentionally practice and repeat in life, turning it from a state of mind to a trait of your character. This can be done in the same way you learned how to walk, talk, and ride a bike. As you bring it into your life over and again, the brain memorizes it as a procedural approach to life so it becomes more automatic.
What would the days, weeks and months ahead be like for you if you came from a learning mindset? Could you learn to get better at communicating in relationships, as a parent, at work? Could your commitment to exercise more or bring more play into your life become more of a reality?
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