006B. A Conversation on Positive Growth Mindsets

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Key Quotes:

You can get through life growing by accident, but it’s much more powerful to grow intentionally and to understand the process of improvement, recognizing mistakes, and treating them as an opportunity for growth. – Wesley Jackson

“There’s also just in general, a growth mindset that helps you learn how to learn. And that’s a skill that’s useful in literally every aspect of your life. Because no matter what you’re doing, you can get better at it.” – Andrew Gilley

Episode Summary:

Delve into a conversation on this episode of Surviving Humanity with co-hosts Wesley Jackson and Andrew Gilley about an influential concept: the growth mindset. This perspective, prevalent among those who constantly seek to evolve and improve, holds transformative power on a self-help journey. It has the capacity to alter personal life trajectories and ripple through communities, leading to societal healing and growth.

However, adopting a growth mindset isn’t without its challenges. The human mind, while a potent tool, can also be a limiting factor. It often inhibits individuals from acknowledging their potential for change and improvement. This discussion provides guidance to help listeners identify and overcome these self-imposed barriers.

Wesley offers a personal anecdote, illustrating his journey of embracing a growth mindset to overcome chronic pain. The conversation goes further to assert that a growth mindset is not solely an individual pursuit. It can be encouraged and cultivated among peers, enhancing positivity and potential in others.

Prepare to engage with a nuanced exploration of growth mindset and its significant implications. This episode promises insight into personal transformation, societal growth, and the power of collective positive thinking.

Full Transcript:

[00:00:00] Wesley Jackson: How do you think a positive growth mindset is related to mind shifts? In today’s Self-Help Podcast episode, we explore why positive growth mindsets are worth revisiting today in the context of mind shifts. We then examine the nature of positive growth mindsets and how they’re an important factor in our lives. Lastly, we share insights we have compiled on how to effectively handle the difficulties that we all may encounter when adopting a positive growth mindset.

Welcome to Surviving Humanity: A Self-Help Podcast where we shift your perspective to help you overcome the obstacles in your life. We are Wesley Jackson and Andrew Gilley, and we hope to foster a sense of connection and community over our common struggles, while providing you with the tools to overcome them. As always, our FacebookSubreddit, and Twitter are the best places to go for community, connection, and support. Links to these are in the show notes.

Let’s get started. So Andrew, what exactly would you say a positive growth mindset is?

[00:00:55] Andrew Gilley: All right. Well, the terms “Growth and Fixed Mindset” were coined by a researcher named Carol S. Dweck, who was talking about the ways in which we can position our minds to capture our potential and learn, and grow. I really like the intro of the book where she lays this out, soshe got some students together, some toddlers basically, and gave them some challenging puzzles. And the point wasn’t whether the toddler solved the puzzle, but I noticed the different reactions in them. And you know, some kids got frustrated, you know, almost immediately, some got a little longer. And then some weirdly seemed to enjoy the frustration. One kid like threw his hands up and said, “I love a challenge.”

And one kid went, ” I was hoping this would be informative.”

When they couldn’t figure it out. And that’s a really interesting response to that. It does seem to suggest that there is a little bit of that in some of us.

So a fixed growth mindset is when you believe you have all the potential you’re ever going to have. That you have limits that are in you from being a certain kind of person and that there’s a limited amount of potential that you or anyone else for that matter can reach. A growth mindset or a positive growth mindset is just what it sounds like, believing in one’s capacity to grow and change. And it sounds really simple, but it’s a lot more complicated when we get to the actual psychology of it and the reasons that this helps so much. So fixed mindsets, in summary, have operate from a perspective of limitation, where we put ourselves in boxes.

And a positive growth mindset is breaking through those limitations. It rejects those limitations and our capacity to learn itself can grow and our abilities can grow, and our growth itself is what has potential.

[00:02:34] Wesley Jackson: Yeah, unlimited potential. What you just talked about really made me think about ‘scarcity versus abundance mindset’, as well.

[00:02:41] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm. Yeah.

[00:02:41] Wesley Jackson: It sounds just like that. I mean, yeah, I’ll just echo what you said pretty much. You know, the “Growth Mindset” is an approach to personal development that champions the belief, that our abilities and intelligence, like you said, can be developed over time. But this is only if we, you know, commit and dedicate ourselves to it, and realize that this is not necessarily easy work. It’s hard. A lot of the times very hard.

[00:03:04] Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:03:04] Wesley Jackson: But what we get out of it is a supreme amount of resilience, I would say, at the end of the day.

[00:03:11] Andrew Gilley: For sure. Yeah. It’s really interesting to try to approach that from a different perspective because it’s really difficult at first. I can’t remember who said this but, “Success is a lagging indicator of your habits.”

So by adapting that mindset, you know, that’s when you start to see new things happen down the line.

[00:03:27] Wesley Jackson: That’s a really good quote. We gotta look up who said that?

[00:03:30] Andrew Gilley: Yeah, I gotta give proper credit for that one.

So, yeah. So why are we talking about this now? Why is it relevant today?

[00:03:35] Wesley Jackson: So I would say, you know, in this era of extremely fast paced technological changes, economic uncertainties, global crises, et cetera, et cetera, we all know.

Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:03:46] Wesley Jackson: What’s going on.

[00:03:47] Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:03:47] Wesley Jackson: We all need this ability to adapt and grow, and the best way to do that is through adopting a growth mindset, or rather…

[00:03:56] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:03:56] Wesley Jackson: I would say cultivating one. You know, in particular we’ve all seen the pandemic’s far reaching effects, which we’ve already mentioned on our previous conversation episode from last month. And this has really kind of put shown a spotlight on the necessity for personal and professional adaptability in the face of uncertainty or the unknown. And this can be seen when we had to restructure our entire work and education norms in a very short period of time, and we did not do it very well. And because I would say most of us do not have that growth mindset that is capable of rolling with those proverbial punches. I’ll just cite something really quick from the World Economic Forum of All Places In the Future of Jobs report, they said that, “Complex problem solving, critical thinking, and creativity are the three most important skills for the workforce of 2020s and beyond. And these are skills that can be particularly cultivated with a growth mindset.”

 Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:04:54] Wesley Jackson: What do you think?

[00:04:54] Andrew Gilley: Definitely.

Why is it relevant today? Well, because of all of the things you were listing there, because of the different issues and crises that we’ve been facing, a lot of us kind of feel stuck. And this is true, and it was true for a lot of people, true for me even before that. You know, a lot people, you know, if particularly if you have like some kind of mental disorder or neurodivergence, you can think, “All right, this is it for me. This is my whole life now. I’m never getting any better.”

And it’s a really appealing feeling, especially if you’re really mentally ill because it lets you stew in something you’re familiar with. It’s a very tempting thing. But you see this in less dramatic ways. You’ll see, “Oh, I’m not a runner.”

“Oh, I’m not a reader.”

People think too little of themselves a lot of the time. They don’t think they can become things. You hear this a lot with hobbies and stuff, excuses for why people don’t start them. It’s fine if you don’t wanna start running or anything, but don’t do it because you’re not a runner. Do it because you don’t wanna become one. Because you could if you wanted.

Be barring any…

[00:05:48] Wesley Jackson: That’s a good line.

Andrew Gilley: Barring any kind of, you know, thing that really prevents you from doing that, a physical limitation of some kind. You have the ability to become whatever you want to become within reason, you can’t become a spaceship. Well, keep dreaming, I suppose. But you have the ability to become that. You have the ability to transform yourself, and I think that’s really relevant because a lot of people just feel slotted into their lot in life, and it’s like you can develop more, you can’t have more.

[00:06:12] Wesley Jackson: Yeah, I really like that.

[00:06:13] Andrew Gilley: So let’s talk about these mindsets. Why are these important to our lives? How are they shaping us?

Wesley Jackson: So a growth mindset is critical to our lives because it serves as the foundation for learning growth and change. It shapes our understanding of ourselves, our abilities, what we’re capable of, and how we interact with the world around us, or AKA, our behaviors.

And it’s really important to note here that our perceptions of our abilities or our belief in our abilities can directly affect our mental health and overall wellbeing. And so by adopting a growth mindset, we can actually cultivate this sense of self-efficacy or resilience, self-reliance, and this promotes a sense of hope for the future, which is really important to have for a lot of us. Otherwise, everything seems hopeless and pointless. Kind of like what you were saying, you, if you’re very mentally ill, a lot of times you end up giving up and just stewing in it, and staying in that comfort zone, like you said. Which is sad to watch. And even obviously, more sad to experience yourself speaking from experience for both of us.

 Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:07:17] Wesley Jackson: And so, something that’s really interesting here is that research from psychologist, Dr. Kristin Neff, shows that cultivating self-compassion in particular, which is strongly tied to a growth mindset, can lead to reduced anxiety and depression. And so what would you say about that in terms of why you think it’s important to our lives, Andrew?

 Andrew Gilley: Yeah, aside from the emotional benefits, which aren’t many. There’s also just in general, a growth mindset helps you learn how to learn. And that’s a skill that’s useful in literally every aspect of your life. Because no matter what you’re doing, you can get better at it. You can cultivate your skills toward it, and understanding, you know how to identify mistakes, how to not beat yourself up too much about them, how to incorporate them, grow and learn from them, that’s useful. Whether you’re like playing a video game or socializing or at work, working on, let’s say, computer programming.

Literally, any aspect of your life can be improved by this. By this learning how to learn mindset, by this desire to improve. So fixed growth mindset just becomes a barrier then, we wanna expand ourselves. We don’t wanna close off our capacities. We want to expand them and share them with the world. And I think that’s what this mindset really helps us do. That’s what growth mindset helps us do.

[00:08:32] Wesley Jackson: I wanna name drop a course here for anyone that’s kind of new to this concept or wants to start somewhere really strong. Andrew mentioned “Learning How to Learn”.

There’s actually a course called that by Dr. Barbara Oakley on Coursera, which we’ll link in the show notes.

[00:08:48] Andrew Gilley: I actually haven’t seen that, so I’ll check that too.

[00:08:50] Wesley Jackson: I’ve done it myself. I really like it.

[00:08:51] Andrew Gilley: Cool. So then what do we have for urgency here? You know, it’s relevant to our lives, but why now? Why 2023?

[00:08:59] Wesley Jackson: So, I alluded to it earlier, but we’re at this critical juncture in space and time where the pace of change and uncertainty are accelerating actually due to global events. You know, we’ve got the birth of AI. We have worldwide economic downturn, et cetera, et cetera. The wars as usual. And so things, even though things seem to not be changing, they also at the same time seem to be getting worse for a lot of people, on the individual and the societal level. And so there’s a great need to develop resilience in the face of all of this, in order to actually cope with it and get through it. Most importantly, survive it really.

Yeah. Ideally thrive, of course. But let’s just say bare minimum here is just getting through all this stuff and without a growth mindset, that is extremely difficult. And if you don’t have that, more often than not, you’ll be led down the path of places like substance abuse, for example, in order to cope.

[00:09:56] Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:09:56] Wesley Jackson: That can even be food, for example. Like you canbinge eat in order to feel safer and more full, and less empty and afraid. I mean, I’m speaking from personal experience there. I used to have an issue with that when I was younger for a long time. And it was because I was always afraid.

And there’s a lot of fear going around and anxiety in this world right now. And so, something that’s interesting here is a data point from the American Psychological Association or APA, and they indicate that, “Mental health issues, including depression and anxiety are on the rise.” I don’t think we needed data to confirm that, but there it is. And obviously, this is particularly, in the wake of the global pandemic. And so, you know, getting this mindset, this growth mindset ingrained in your brain, honestly, the sooner the better, will serve you for, you know, as long as you live. I would say if you really get this down to a kind of, habit, like we said, the benefits are honestly unlimited.

So, what would you say though, Andrew? Why do you think there’s a sense of urgency here for adopting a growth mindset?

 Andrew Gilley: Right. Well, people don’t usually intentionally, adopt a fixed growth mindset. I mean, it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense. We usually just learn this as a child. It’s a belief about the world. It comes from just incorrect beliefs about the way humans work. If you think things are fixed and innate in people, you can kind of see where this is gonna lead. This sort of thinking feeds into racism, misogyny, any kind of form of prejudice really.

If you think there are essential characteristics of a person that can’t be changed, in their brain, then it’s very, very easy to mold this into, you know, racist hierarchies and things like that. This is what Emmanuel Kant did for the record. And when you’re thinking in a fixed growth manner, you feed into that kind of hierarchical structural thinking. You’re ranking people based on what they deserve, and you’re putting yourself in there too. It’s like, you know, “Oh my, I only deserve what I get, in my place in society.”

And when you adopt that, it’s not only just about your own mindset, but it’s about what you’re putting out into the world. It’s about treating people as fixed and unchangeable, and destined in a certain way based on their upbringing, or class status, or any sort of status. And it’s really limiting to everyone really. When we put this mindset out there because it keeps everything in place and we don’t want things to be in place. We’ve been in place for a while. It’s not working that well.

You can kind of see the cracks really showed during the pandemic. You can see that the kind of model we have in sustainable there. So when we adopt a positive growth mindset, we avoid the traps of binary thinking, black and white. Thoughts about our fellow human beings. It not only helps us, but it helps us put better things out into the world too.

 Wesley Jackson: Yeah. Something that you just reminded me of in terms of what you were just saying is a quote from Victor Frankl, and it’s, I think I pronounced that right. Right, Andrew?

 Andrew Gilley: Yeah. Yes.

[00:12:44] Wesley Jackson: Okay, cool. So the quote goes, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we’re challenged to change ourselves.”

[00:12:51] Andrew Gilley: Very good.

[00:12:52] Wesley Jackson: What do you think about that?

[00:12:53] Andrew Gilley: Very good quote. Well, for listeners who might not know, Viktor Frankl is a Holocaust Survivor. So that quote in that context is pretty incredible.

[00:13:01] Wesley Jackson: Yeah. If he can get through that by changing him himself and his mindset, I’m pretty sure we can all get through almost anything.

 Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:13:10] Wesley Jackson: So yeah, it is just something that brought to mind, based off what you were just saying.

[00:13:14] Andrew Gilley: For sure.

[00:13:15] Wesley Jackson: So I’ll let you go again though. Where do you feel this problem actually comes from though, Andrew?

[00:13:20] Andrew Gilley: Yeah, I started to talk about this a little bit, so I’ll keep going on this theme. So, we’re all taught to think in binaries: “Are you smart or are you not?”

“Are you a good parent or a bad parent?”

“Are you a good chef or are you a bad chef?”

It’s a shortcut to lazy thinking. Binaries aren’t really how life goes in general overall. Things are in constant tension with each other. You know, a bad chef has the essence of a good chef within them. Every expert starts out a beginner.

So, I think a lot of this comes down to trying to pigeonhole people early in life. I think gender reveal parties are like that too, and we’re pushing kids to certain careers and ideas, and categorizing people into discrete categories. I think this is what leads to this kind of thinking — that we’re either one thing or another, or that certain kids are better than others at certain things — and that’s just the way it is. If we’re thinking more dialectically about being and becoming about stretching ourselves and improving ourselves and making ourselves larger inside. I think it’s a lot more worthwhile.

But black and white thinking is quick, easy, and feels good, and you can make a lot of money doing it online. So, it’s a lot more effort to think differently.

[00:14:22] Wesley Jackson: Yeah, it was, like you said, it’s just lazy thinking. It’s the path of least resistance. It requires very, very little effort. If your entire world is this or that.

[00:14:31] Andrew Gilley: Yep.

[00:14:32] Wesley Jackson: It’s very dualistic.

[00:14:33] Andrew Gilley: Yes. And how about you? What are you pinning as some sources here?

[00:14:37] Wesley Jackson: It’s a combination of societal norms, familial influence, and educational systems in particular throughout the world, not just the US that often foster this fixed mindset in us at a very young age. And this is like further amplified by fear-based teachings and thus, later on interactions. That end up limiting our self-belief and potential as a result, which a lot of people don’t really make that connection. They like to stay within the bubble, within the circle, and they never leave it. And because it feels safe. And that is what is familiar and known territory for us. And I mean, I’m reflecting on my own upbringing.

There are many instances where my failures, I perceived were met with disappointment and discouragement from others, and so that caused me as well, to see every failure as some sort of major setback within my life.

[00:15:27] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:28] Wesley Jackson: Rather than a learning opportunity and an opportunity for growth where I actually came out of it stronger, smarter, you know, harder, better, faster, stronger than before. And this was a byproduct of generations of fixed mindset patterns within my family and the community at large.

[00:15:45] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:15:46] Wesley Jackson: And so to quote again, Dr. Carol Dweck, she has shown that these patterns can be passed down within families and institutions. And a study involving 373 seventh graders found that students’ mindsets strongly reflected their caregiver’s views on failure and intelligence. So it was kind of like what you were saying earlier, Andrew, where you either see yourself as smart or essentially dumb, or like my own case in point, for example, I thought that I was just bad at math my entire life because that’s what everybody else told me.

But in reality, I just had a learning disability, which is dyscalculus, the go figure. So, it’s just really interesting to see how much what other people tell us at a young age really affects the way that we see ourselves.

[00:16:32] Andrew Gilley: Yeah, absolutely. It’s a lot about self-perception. I do think that’s an important point.Zone in on there, because it’s really about, you know, it’s about self-compassion and self-love to be able to believe that you have that kind of potential too. So that ties in as well.

[00:16:46] Wesley Jackson: You’re totally right there. Because this self-compassion and self-love, what it really requires that the foundation is acceptance of your failures, right? None of us are perfect, but you and I have both talked about our perfectionist streaks throughout our lives. And a perfectionist mindset is actually a narrow mindset, funnily enough.

Andrew Gilley: Yeah. Absolutely.

 Wesley Jackson: You think that you’re doing everything that you possibly can in order to make something so perfect. But in reality, you’re actually pigeonholing yourself like you said.

[00:17:14] Andrew Gilley: Yep. Yeah, if you’re trying to be perfect, you’re never gonna do anything interesting.

Wesley Jackson: So your turn.

 Andrew Gilley: All right.

[00:17:20] Wesley Jackson: Who do you feel that this is a problem in particular for?

 Andrew Gilley: So, anyone who really feels the effects of being pigeonholed there. You know, typecast actors, you know, people who are racially profiled. We all get put in boxes and when you get put in that box enough by enough people, you start to believe it.

Like you were saying, you know, bad at math, you know. That was the feedback you were getting around you. It starts at school, and gradually broadens to everyone we interact with occupations, you know. Occupations have this big problem too. Our generation was told very much that if growing up, you know, we gotta go to college and get a degree so we don’t end up being a plumber or something.

And now, everything’s like, “Yeah, you should go to trade school and be a plumber because there are no more jobs.”

So that sort of thing is, it’s a cultural signifier. So it’s like you get pigeonholed in a certain type of job or status, or something and you’re told you have to do certain things to fit in. And so, yeah, it’s gonna be a problem for everybody, but the more pressure you face to conform, the more of problem it’s going to be for you.

[00:18:18] Wesley Jackson: Yeah, and that I would say that’s especially relevant for disadvantaged communities where resources for growth and development are generally scarce.

[00:18:26] Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:18:26] Wesley Jackson: And we kind of touched on it already and we touched on it a lot within this podcast, but this is also yet another concept or subject or area, that deeply affects people who have experienced trauma in particular, or who are dealing with mental health issues, like we said. Because they struggle the most often to perceive their potential, in particular, for growth and healing.

[00:18:49] Andrew Gilley: Absolutely. Yep. This also ties back to the abundance versus scarcity mindset. The two are linked, but not the same thing. Abundance mindset is about, you know, believing that you have, you know, an abundance of potential and things and that you’re going to be able to work it out. And scarcity, you know, operates from a position of trying to get everything you can.

And that’s natural and frankly correct way to live if you’re really that poor. But, the trouble is when you can’t shake that, when that fear is still inside you. This, I, anecdotally speaking, a lot of older relatives growing up that went through the depression were like this. And yeah, so it’s often more difficult for the people who really need it to adopt a positive growth mindset because of their situation. And yeah,it sucks. It sucks that life being hard makes it harder to improve yourself.

[00:19:34] Wesley Jackson: Yeah.

[00:19:34] Andrew Gilley: It’s just an unfortunate reality.

[00:19:36] Wesley Jackson: Yeah. I bet that you also heard a lot of “Shouldn’t and Can’t”.

[00:19:41] Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

Wesley Jackson: Yeah. Nothing is possible when you have a narrow mindset. You just want it like we said, stay within that circle or stay on that straight line.

[00:19:49] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm. Yeah. Yeah. You have to learn to do the impossible or what seems impossible, I suppose.

[00:19:54] Wesley Jackson: Yeah. And it can seem so scary. What would you say, like, what’s the first step that someone can really take here to overcome that, do you think?

[00:20:02] Andrew Gilley: To overcome that fear ofJumping in?

Yeah. Well, breaking free from that is pretty difficult and you can’t really do everything all at once. I guess just a first step is to try something you’re not good at. It doesn’t matter, like literally this, this example is just a break out of kind of that limitation. You know, if you’re not a reader, sit down and try to read for five minutes. It doesn’t even matter if you don’t do it. Just showing up is the most valuable thing to do.

If you show up and you try what you’re not good at, just starting that process, you’ll start to kind of shake off the rust. You’ll start moving the mountain. You’ll break that inertia a little bit. And that’s enough to get started. Because you can see you do something that you didn’t believe you had the capability to do.

And the trap is that it’s gonna suck. It’s going to probably be difficult if you haven’t, you know, read a book for pleasure in 10 years to pick up and start reading. It’s a little difficult for me and I’ve been doing it constantly, but the internet exists. And that’s always very distracting.

But it’s just about breaking through that initial trepidation because once you shift your mind from the goal being to finish a book to just reading, just sitting down and reading and improving — once the goal becomes the improvement and the act itself rather than a goal at the end — that’s when you’ve adopted growth mindset.

And that’s the good way to start moving forward. And the only way to do it is to try.

[00:21:23] Wesley Jackson: I really like that reframe there. To summarize what you just said, “Start something new. Start small. And most importantly, show up.”

Like you said.

[00:21:31] Andrew Gilley: Show up.

[00:21:32] Wesley Jackson: I was the same way with reading, ’cause I had this phrase in my head where it’s like, “I have to finish this book.” Rather than, “I want to read.”


[00:21:41] Andrew Gilley: Yeah. The goal isn’t to finish as many books as possible. I always found that a little bit odd in elementary school, seemed like the wrong goal.

[00:21:50] Wesley Jackson: Yeah, I remember that when I was younger too. There was kind of like leaderboards basically for how many books that you read.

[00:21:56] Andrew Gilley: Yep.

[00:21:56] Wesley Jackson: Oh man. Wow.

[00:21:57] Andrew Gilley: Weird.

[00:21:57] Wesley Jackson: You just really brought back a memory of mine.

[00:22:00] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm. Unlocked it.

[00:22:01] Wesley Jackson: Yeah. So why would you say that we should care about all of this?

[00:22:05] Andrew Gilley: Well, we all set limits on ourselves, personally and our whole society set limits. Personally, we limit our potentials to just what we can think of, of ourselves. But by embracing a growth mindset, we open ourselves up to the possibility of continuing to learn development transform. A lot of people kind of think they’re done changing after a certain point in their lives, and that doesn’t have to be true. It can be if you let it, which you don’t want it to be.

But, a growth mindset lets us see that we can challenge our fixed beliefs about our abilities, and we can break free of the self-imposed limitations and work for, you know, our own personal development. And societally when we look in general, you know, a fixed mindset perpetuates inequality and hinders progress just in general of, you know, like where we’ve got a lot of people pegged into certain roles, that would probably be really good in other ones.

I can’t remember who said this, but you know, probably the greatest scientist who ever lived, died working in a rice field somewhere without ever knowing that he had that potential, or she, or they.

[00:23:04] Wesley Jackson: It’s just not everybody gets a fair shake. So when we break free from those kind of confines and we recognize that fact and we reject those notions and embrace the potential for growth and change, not just for us, but for every human being in the planet. Then that shift in mindset really helps pave the way for a new kind of society. One, where people are nurtured and are encouraged to grow. Instead of being a cog in a machine.

So I think it’s important to adopt for that reason, to kind of shift our mind in order to shift our communities. It’s about fostering a collective mindset that leads to positive social change.

Yes. Yeah. It’s all about the scale here, right? We should care because of fixed mindset can limit individual potential, but when you scale that up, it hampers societal progress as a whole.

[00:23:54] Andrew Gilley: Yep.

[00:23:55] Wesley Jackson: You know, I’ve observed in my own personal life and in my work with both people and communities in a larger sense as well, that having this growth mindset can lead to significant shifts in one’s overall life trajectory. And this provides not just them, but the people around them, like you alluded to, like it’s a domino effect, right?

[00:24:13] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:24:13] Wesley Jackson: Or a butterfly effect. It cascades down and out throughout society by serving as what’s basically called a ‘positive agent of change’, and that’s how you get this exponential or compound effect of growth and healing. Another interesting data point here that might be relevant to this is research that was conducted by the organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, yet another money related organization doing studies on this, of course, it shows that countries with higher levels of growth mindset tend to have higher levels of innovation and economic growth as well as a result. Not that the economic growth is so much important to me personally, but the higher levels of innovation is definitely kind of an indicator to me, like we alluded to already, the growth mindset makes the impossible possible.

And so here’s an interesting quote from Nelson Mandela, and he said that “Education’s the most powerful weapon, which you can use to change the world.”

And so a fundamental part of that is fostering a growth mindset.

[00:25:17] Andrew Gilley: Absolutely.

[00:25:18] Wesley Jackson: But how would you say that this all ties back to the larger topic of mind shifts at hand, Andrew?

[00:25:22] Andrew Gilley: I think breaking out of a fixed growth mindset is one of the first real big shifts that you have to do because if you’re stuck in the role society’s given you, you’re not gonna try very hard to get better. You might not even recognize that you can. But if you need a mind shift, this is the big one, because it’s the one that lets all the other ones happen. It allows you to grow and change, and understand that you have the capacity to do that, so you can start shifting your brain in other ways. You can start rewiring your thoughts to better serve you. Believing you can grow as part of growing, and our minds are really powerful, but also can be limiting if we let them be.

[00:25:55] Wesley Jackson: You can get through life growing by accident, but it’s much more powerful to grow intentionally and to understand the process of improvement, recognizing mistakes, and treating them as an opportunity for growth. Yeah. It allows us to make that mind shift, from viewing challenges as opportunities. And that’s how you really cultivate resilience. And more importantly, adaptability, right?

[00:26:16] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:26:16] Wesley Jackson: In the face of the unknown. Sure. I think something that’s really interesting here is the idea of belief, right? Let’s use the climate crisis as an example.

[00:26:24] Andrew Gilley: Okay.

[00:26:24] Wesley Jackson: In order for anything to actually be done about it, you have to first believe that there is something that can be done about it, right? Wouldn’t you say?

[00:26:32] Andrew Gilley: Yeah. If something’s hopeless, you’re not gonna really try to change it.

[00:26:34] Wesley Jackson: Yeah, exactly. You’ll continue to stay within that comfort zone as you go down with the ship.

Yes, pretty much. Geez.

[00:26:41] Andrew Gilley: So what do you think, you know, what’s the step for individuals to take here? What do we do?

[00:26:46] Wesley Jackson: We’ve already talked about this all multiple times within this episode.

[00:26:49] Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:26:49] Wesley Jackson: But it’s acknowledging in the very first place, and that we have like, stagnated our growth or we’re hitting a wall of some sort. It usually begins as a feeling of like friction, right?

Andrew Gilley: Mm-hmm.

[00:26:59] Wesley Jackson: Because you can feel that something is wrong. You feel like you aren’t making progress, but you don’t know why. This awareness is the very first step, and then the second step is acknowledging, “Oh, I need to actually change here. I need to do something about this. I can’t just sit here and watch it happen.”

It’s not going to go away either, because that’s the whole point of the word ‘fixed’. It gets stuck like that basically, if you allow it to.

[00:27:24] Andrew Gilley: Yeah.

[00:27:25] Wesley Jackson: Not forever, because that’s the whole point of the growth mindset serving as a counterpoint to that. But I mean, within my own growth mindset journey, for example, when I had that bicycle crash at the end of 2020 and I started experiencing chronic pain. That required me to take my growth mindset to way, way different levels, because of the amount of pain that I was experiencing on a daily basis. And what that really required was for me to kind of make my own mind shift and realize, “Hey Wes, you need to slow down. You can’t keep pushing yourself as hard as you were in the past now because there’s a lot more limitations in place.”

And this was not an easy nor wasn’t an overnight shift. It took a gradual process of challenging my perceptions of myself in particular, and then re-cultivating that resilience as a result. Here’s something interesting from our very own backyard in San Diego. Schools like High Tech High for example, have integrated growth mindset principles into their very curriculum, which is really cool.

And this demonstrates that it is something that can be learned and nurtured in a formal, methodical way. This is not some big question mark that has to remain as a challenge in your head, causing anxiety in the back of your mind. This is something that can be done. And it can be done through a process most importantly, which honestly takes away a lot of that fear because like you said already, you just have to take that first step.

Just try something new and keep it small, and the rest usually flows from there. Once you show up, like you said. So what would you say though, Andrew, that we as individuals can do about this problem?

[00:29:02] Andrew Gilley: I’d say we’ve pretty well covered how to help yourself here. So I’ll just say, be encouraging to people around you, to help encourage and encourage this mindset and others. Talk like you believe in the fixed growth mindset, even if you don’t.

I fake it ’til you make it sort of thing. But beyond any kind of fake it till you make it, it’s just nice to believe in people. It’s nice to try to bolster people around you. And if you do it to other people, it’ll start to apply to you too. You’ll start to feel that it applies to you a little bit too.

It’s, you know, not overnight. I’m talking from personal experience here. It might be a little obvious. But yeah, not overnight, but you know, if you’re positive about other people’s abilities and change and potential, you start to be a little more positive about yours. You’re not that different from other people. After all, we can all do it.

[00:29:44] Wesley Jackson: I think that’s a great way to end it.

[00:29:46] Andrew Gilley: Let’s do it. Well, thank you so much for listening. And tune in next Tuesday, where we’ll have Elijah Desmond and Kevin Palmieri on the show to share their experiences with the positive growth mindset, and how through understanding it, we just might survive humanity.

If you wanna help support us, please join our exclusive monthly book club on Patreon. Share the podcast with others, and don’t forget the follow, rate, and review us on your favorite podcast platform. And before you go, do you feel like you could benefit from a boost your morale? Well, then why not give our 7-Day Self-Confidence Challenge a go?

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And we will see you next week. Bye-bye.

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