Changing My Mindset, Changing My World,

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It’s been a while but I am back again to share what’s been going on in my head since I was last here together. I’m discovering some interesting finds regarding my mindset and making some subtle changes, in the hope of ultimately changing my world through the way I think and act and it feels empowering! Finally, I feel like I am getting somewhere in life and finding answers to many of my roadblocks. It’s amazing how much our mind can keep us bound.

I had no idea there was such a thing as growth and fixed mindset. That one shocked me, but what’s more alarming was finding out I have a fixed mindset, didn’t see that one coming. With all the things I’ve done, thrived for and achieved, I would have put myself down as having a growth mindset, but evidently, that is not the case.

In my last two blogs, I shared the journey of unlocking my mind, putting my limitations down to my limited thinking capacity, brought on by years of depression. During those depressive years, my thinking capacity was non-existent and what little thinking I did was negative and destructive, all of which I believed to be the cause of my newly discovered small-mindedness. It was as though now living a life where depression no longer ruled I had come to realise how difficult it was for me to stretch my thinking. I had worked hard and achieved much, but my present way of thinking was holding me back. Did that mean I had a fixed mindset, of course not, I was moving and if I was moving I was growing and if I was growing, I was achieving and making progress, none of which qualified me for a fixed mindset I just had to learn how to think bigger and expand my mind, but my research suggested otherwise.

Fixed and Growth Mindset

According to Dr Carol Dweck, “In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits and spend their time documenting and living off their intelligence or talent rather than of developing them. They believe that talent alone creates success, talent and minimal effort. If they have to try too hard at something they are good at, they start to question their abilities and talents, causing them to become discouraged. As a result, they struggle to move forward and succeed in that particular area. That right there just about summed me up!

On the other hand, people of a growth mindset understand that abilities and intelligence can be developed and thrive on it. They are like knowledge eaters. They believe with the application of additional learning, alongside hard work their learning and intelligence can be enhanced, enabling them to experience new things along the way as they reach for their goals. For them, life is a continual learning evolving process. When you believe you can grow and develop into becoming smarter and learning new things, you start to understand your efforts affect your success, and when that happens with focus, sweat and determination, you put in the extra time, resulting in developing your skills and higher achievements. All of which equates to a growth mindset

Long before I knew about fixed or growth mindsets, I realised I had a problem with my mind when it came to the timeline between my thoughts and the execution of certain tasks, particularly those centred around reaching my goals. What I did not realise was my past and present failures and successes were controlled by this. Being of a fixed mindset, I believed my talent should have enabled me to reach my goals, but talent without growth and development leaves you stuck in rut and being stuck in a rut is a breathing ground for depression.

Trapped in my fixed mindset

I found this way of thinking frustrating, and painstaking, leading me to believe I was not good enough. I didn’t feel the need to learn because I felt I was talented enough in my areas of choice, and when I struggled to keep up or qualify for certain roles, my fixed mindset fed my insecurities the familiar old lies that I was a failure whose talents were not good enough and talent was everything. It was not until I came to a place of addressing my depression and shutting down certain thought patterns that I realised how small and enclosed my mindset was, a journey that has now led me to understand and change my mindset.

Developing A Fixed Mindset

Developing a growth mindset

In her book Mindset, Dr Carol shares how we can develop a fixed or growth mindset. Growing up I received very little praise, but the little I did receive in the areas of drawing and cooking left me believing I had reached the peak in my cooking and drawing career. Having been told I was talented in these areas especially cooking, to continue to learn would mean I wasn’t talented enough, sounds crazy, but that’s how the fixed mindset works.

Throughout my 2 years at Southgate Technical College I was the top student, always working under pressure to succeed because I was constantly told by my tutors how gifted and talented I was. I watched other student work hard to be as good as me, only to see most of them fail. It never occurred to me that I was working just as hard to maintain my place, instead, I put my achievements down to the natural talent I was told I had. By telling me I was gifted there was no room for failure. Getting something wrong didn’t equate to leaning, it meant I was a failure. Getting something right didn’t equate to learnt either, it too meant I wasn’t a failure.

There were many other factors from my childhood that contributed to this mindset, the fear of getting things right at home or suffering the consequences, was a major factor. Already feeling insecure, with no self-confidence and low self-esteem, I was fighting against myself for a position I couldn’t identify with. Cap that with being told how talented I was and believing my talents were the only reason I held the position, was a recipe for disaster. If I failed, at something, to say I was be devasted was an understatement.
Had I been praised for how hard I worked to get the results I got, I would have realised that hard work got me where I was and not talent alone.


You cannot fix what you don’t know is broken

In the past 6 months, I have begun to see the trees from the woods and the need to change my way of thinking. unknowingly I had already started changing my mindset from fixed to growth, but now I was understanding with more clarity the root of my thinking, how it had come about and how to change it. I have lost count of the number of times I’ve been told or told someone they needed to change their way of thinking only to hear and repeat the well-known phrase “that’s easier said than done.” But what if it were that easy? What if changing your way of thinking was as simple as changing your mindset and as a result, I automatically changing your world?

I dived into the year with pretty much the same ideal of thinking and approach I had always had to life, only this time there was more zeal. I knew what I wanted, I knew this was make or break time. I had the dreams, they had always been there, but the get up and go, the perseverance, the not taking no for an answer, in theory, they were all in place, but somehow when it came to exercising them, despite how badly I wanted it, I couldn’t get past first base.

I had always believed if I did ABCD, I would achieve EFGH, all my problems would be fixed, goals would be achieved and I would be happy. The problem was I had been doing ABCD, all my life and given my talented portfolio should have achieved more letters in the alphabet than I presently owned, instead, I was still stuck on efgh, and not even in the class I was aiming for or dreamt of. Despite outward appearances, mentally I was stuck and becoming increasingly despondent with the idea of change.

I knew the lingo, had read the books, I had even signed up for courses, many of which were not cheap, but still no change. I was angry, frustrated with life and convinced all its teachers were lying to me. Change your way of thinking, change your mindset, set goals, work towards them. Yes, I knew all of that and wanted to do it all, but what was stopping me? why was it after the dust settled on each earthmoving project or decision, I was back where I started? Where was the change I had been promised? Why did my efforts seem to get me nowhere? I had and was trying, trust me I was, but still, nothing was changing.

I was tired of throwing good money away on yet another course that promised me change, change in the areas of my mindset and thinking. Fed up of starting and not finishing, and quite frankly cheesed off with my inability to get off my rear end, stop with the excuses, put in the work and reach my life long goals. This year things had to change.

Changing my mindset

Since embarking on this new part of my journey, reading and understanding my mindset, I have become excited. Knowledge truly is power. After getting over the initial disappointment that none of the courses I signed up for had ever sat me down and explained the theory of the fixed and growth mindset or encouraged me to take some kind of personality questionnaire, ensuring both parties got what they needed from the program, I decided if I wanted to get the best out of the present course I was on, a change of mindset was required Afterall no one wants to teach someone who walks away from their event more dumbfounded than when they began. Likewise, no ones to pay good money, expecting change, only to find themselves repeatedly going nowhere. Nothing irritated me more than being in the latter part of this equation.

Changing my mindset first began with me realising I had a fixed mindset, what it entailed and how I had developed it. It further involved me understanding the concept of a growth mindset, what it entailed and what was required to develop it. Just because you have a fixed mindset does not mean you have to stay that way, and just because you have a growth mindset does not mean you cannot fall into the traps of a fixed mindset. It all depends on what you and others feed your mind. In all my findings, one thing was sure, not only did I have to change my mindset, but change in this area was the thing I had been searching for all my life.

6 point to help change your mindset

  1. Identify your mindset. Does it need changing? Are you ready for change? You have to want it bad enough to follow it through.
  2. Create new habits. Set 3-5 small daily task/goals to promote new habits. This will help in the area of commitment. I chose more than 5 but among them was 10 mins exercise, 15 mins tidying the house (general tidying up as in putting things away that were laying around) and eating breakfast. These were things I aspired to do daily but often put off till another day with little enthusiasm to carry them out or poor lack of time management. I have a 10 by 10 list. 10 things that need to be done daily by 10am. Doing this daily is a great way to create habits that contribute towards a growth and healthy mindset.
  3. Manage your time. Each night/day make a list of all the things you need to do the following day starting with the most pressing and important. If you are someone that is easily distracted, put time frames next to them to keep you in check. Tick each one off as they are executed. That’s my favourite part, it feels great working through your physical and mental lists! By doing this you start to commit to working whether you feel like it or not, more good habits that point towards hard work and perseverance that gets results. 
  4. Be accountable. Find a friend, a coach, someone or something to be accountable to. I have used Facebook, a coach and a tally on my mirror. Funny enough Facebook and my tally have been the most productive.
  5. Journaling. You may wonder why you need to write and why you need to develop the above 4 points in order to develop a growth mindset. A growth mindset is all about hard work, ongoing learning, perseverance and commitment. The above 4 points help in all those areas, start off small and increase them as you go alone. Too many times we want to start and aim big all at once, that will only set you up for failure and disappointment and falls in line with the fixed mindset. Journaling is a great way of documenting and keeping track of your progress. 
  6. Go easy on yourself. Whatever happens, go easy on yourself. Beating yourself up for failing along the way will not help you. Identifying why you failed will save your energy for evaluation. Talk to yourself. When I failed to exercise one day, I sat myself down and had a good long talk with myself. I asked myself if it was something I really wanted and why. I then asked myself why I had failed to exercise that day and what would make me exercise the following day. I wrote it down and aspired to reach the new goal which was 60 squats for the day instead of a full body workout that at the time was proving too much. In time the full body workout would come, for now, I needed to ease myself in with the squats.

I’ll share more point with you in my next blog, but this is a great way to start and take control of your life too. 

The future looks bright



I have been following the above for a good few months now and have seen my mindset changing, habits taking over and a lot more smiles and focused direction. Starting off small in areas unrelated to my life long goals has set the foundation for moving in the areas of those goals.

I need to be committed, persevere, realise there will be good and bad days. Realise I will fail at some things and do better at others, develop a habit to learn and develop stargates to do so. Following the above steps, I have learned all of this and more and I’m on my way to seeing the growth mindset take charge in the areas I sought after as I entered the year. 

By changing my natural default setting in the area of my mindset, I am changing my mindset in all the areas of my life.


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4 Comments

  1. Rosemary Gordon /Reply

    I can relate to so much of what you have written in the post, we are so much more alike than we think.

    I recently read Carol Dwecks and was amazed about how parents, teachers and coaches can contribute to a fixed mindset by giving the wrong type of praise.

    1. Jemma /Reply

      Rosemary, it really was mindblowing, wasn’t it? Powerful revelations and life changing too, if applied. Glad I have company on the journey!

  2. Elaine G /Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I too have been on this journey having great ambitions and aching for recognition and feeling ehat i have done has not been what i really started out to get. I have spent thousands on personal development profs. It not all been a waste of time because what I learned has brought me this far. I love your nuggets on doing 5 -10 things by 10am daily. Committing to doing these will help me form good habits. Also doing something about my surroundings physical and mental environment and the things I am allowing to be dropped into my consciousness daily.

    1. Jemma /Reply

      Hi Elaine
      Excellent, so glad you are on the journey too.
      Yes, those little nuggets/acorns are rapidly becoming large oak trees, it does not take long and has a profound effect on one’s mental health. Once you get going on them you really start to feel yourself gaining control over your mind and actions and it makes it easier to push on in other areas. Well done you!

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