As the famous saying goes “success/growth is 80% psychology and 20% mechanics”. If we want to grow forward in different areas of life, it is necessary that we develop a clear understanding of the mindset/psychology associated with the process of growth.
Many of us focus on “HOW” to succeed at a particular thing but rarely ever think about what kind of a person do we have to become to be able to achieve the results or the kind of life we wish to live.
Today, we will focus on the core aspects of a growth-oriented mindset. We will be looking into some universal principles that will help you grow in any area of life you want. Regardless of the circumstances, or specific details.
When you deeply learn and live by these principles, you will begin to reap results and experience the quality of life that few people ever experience.
1. Stop Competing. Start Creating!
In simple words, stop trying to be better than someone else, instead, focus on reaching your own maximum potential and creativity.
In a world of constant competition, this may sound strange or even seem anti-growth. But when you understand the core value and concept behind this, you’ll begin to really appreciate and see the beauty of this principle.
I’m NOT suggesting to stay behind or be stagnant. What I’m emphasizing towards is the mindset that is focused on competing and try to be better than someone else.
If your center of focus is to become better than someone else, you’ll just be a little better than someone you’re trying to compete with. That’s it.
What if you have the potential to grow far beyond the people you are trying to compete with?
I believe that we all have an immense amount of potentials within ourselves then we can currently imagine, but we limit ourselves with our own limited thinking by comparing ourselves to other people.
When we compare or compete with others, we set our standard according to our competition. Our mind gets too focused on beating our competition or getting just ahead of the other person/people/organization/company.
Compete With Your Own Self – Focus on How You Can Outwork Your Own Self
It is when we start to compete with our own selves alone, is when we start to experience an extraordinary level of growth and creativity. That is when we really unleash our true potentials, unique ideas, and unmatched abilities.
Most successful and extraordinary people in the world competed with their own selves and focused on the endless possibilities they could imagine, instead of focusing on what others were doing.
If they would be competing with other people, we would hardly see any out-of-box inventions and revolutionary discoveries in human history.
People who are always in a chase to compete with others, we find them going against the laws of nature, harming themselves and possibly other people, lacking mental peace, and living lives that are not in harmony with their true nature.
Just take a look at many of the big companies that are destroying our planet with pollutants, chemicals, plastics, radiations, and deforestation, just to get ahead of each other in revenue and net worth.
The only thing that will help you grow in harmony with natural laws, become the true expression of yourself, and live a life of peace and satisfaction is when you compete with your own self alone.
When you compete with yourself, you’ll find there is no limit to growth and creativity, as you are always working on becoming a better and stronger version of yourself. A process of constant improvement and learning, that never ends.
Plus you’ll be free from the anxiety, insecurity, and shear stress associated with a mindset that is focused on competition.
Such a growth-oriented mindset frees us from inferiority complexes and we stop being stuck in the rut and endless chase in the frenzy of this world.
This is what will bring you to a new level of thinking, a new standard of being, that will naturally make you stand out while restoring the harmony of your life.
2. Be Flexible and Dynamic in Your Thinking
Having a flexible mindset and a dynamic approach towards learning life lessons is one of the key traits of a growth-oriented mindset.
But what does it really mean to have flexible and dynamic thinking?
Flexibility in mindset is the ability to approach things from different dimensions. If things aren’t working for us in one particular way, we look for another way. If it still doesn’t work, we look for another way again, and we keep going on until we reach the desired outcome.
Flexibility is being independent of means and resources. It is being creative enough to find ways regardless of the means or resources.
Creativity and flexibility are very much interrelated. A person who is not flexible in his/her approach and thinking would hardly be able to exercise his true creativity.
Flexibility also means that if things don’t go our way, we harmoniously adapt to the situation and focus on finding new ways, new solutions, new ideas, instead of fighting and resisting change.
Talking about change, flexible people embrace change.
They are always open to learning new ideas and perspectives. They find opportunities in times when other people choose to be hopeless, frustrated, and angry.
They find ideas and solutions in situations where many others choose to give up. They choose to see the blessings in their problems.
They put in the required effort, yet if still, things don’t go their way, they choose to be in harmony with the decree of God. They keep a positive and flexible approach in difficult times, and as a result, wisdom is granted to them.
3. Grow a Little Bit Every Single Day Than The Previous Day
Part of having a healthy competition with our own self is to grow every single day.
Every day is a huge blessing and an opportunity to grow, and growth-oriented people cannot afford to lose this opportunity.
Personally, several years ago there was a point in my life when I couldn’t understand the concept of growing every single day.
For me, every day was like the previous. Almost the same routine and similar tasks. I heard many successful people say that we must grow daily, but I couldn’t wrap my head around it.
At that time, I thought personal growth was something that “happened” on its own.
It was until I deeply experienced and understood the concept of personal responsibility that I began to see the possibility and true power of growing every single day. The responsibility of constantly improving yourself and working towards consistent personal development.
There’s a chance that you too might be in the position I was in. Stuck in the daily rut of dozens of tasks, doing the same things over and over.
If you are, you can take responsibility for your own growth, happiness, and fulfillment, and begin to work towards a better, higher version of yourself.
How to Become Growth-Oriented?
Growing daily is basically about two things:
- Growth Habits
Curiosity is the state of mind that generates powerful questions. When you seek good questions, God will lead you to good, empowering answers. When you learn empowering answers, you develop deeper wisdom of life, and hence you Grow.
If you want to learn the art of asking powerful questions and develop empowering curiosity, click the link.
Growth Habits can be any habit that enhances your learning, skills or experience and improves the overall quality of your life.
It can as simple as developing a habit of reading. Taking 30 minutes out daily to read a good book or article on personal development.
It can be a habit of listening to some good knowledgeable audio lecture or podcast during the daily commute/drive, or during daily chores like cleaning, washing dishes or clothes or maybe while waiting for an appointment or a person, etc.
It can be a habit of working out daily and growing physically, improving your health day after day.
It can be habits that help you grow spiritually. Learning to focus your attention more and more each day during prayers. Increasing your mindfulness while remembering God. Being mindful towards people and towards your own inner self.
It can be habits of doing small acts that cherish and grow your relationships daily with your spouse, children, parents, co-workers, neighbors.
It can be habits of doing small acts of kindness to random people.
Successful, happy and growing people usually have a bunch of habits in all these different areas of life that they practice every single day. This keeps their lives in balances, their heart’s content and their minds peaceful.
I suggest you start with one easy thing and develop it as a strong habit by practicing it daily.
This will give you confidence and momentum to develop more and more powerful habits and take on challenging tasks that will transform your life in amazing ways.
This kind of mindset will keep you in a perpetual state of growth without you having to indulge in the worries of comparing yourself to someone and indulge in those toxic, deficiency driven thoughts.
4. Make the Most of What You Already Have
Reflect on these questions for a few seconds each:
“What is it that is keeping me away from the life that I want and the results that I seek?”
“What is it that is slowing my progress?”
Now that you’ve reflected and answered these questions in your mind, ask another question and dwell upon this question for at least 2-3 minutes:
“What can I do right NOW to make things better? What actions can I take right NOW?”
If you haven’t spent at least 2-3 minutes thinking about it, I suggest you do it Now. Don’t let the victimizing thoughts of “I can’t do anything” stop you from tapping into your inner creative, solution-making abilities.
When we think in a victimized way, we generate thoughts like;
“I cannot do it”
“It’s not in my hands, it’s in the hands of the other person”
“My thoughts and actions alone are not enough”
“I don’t have that particular resource available to me right now, hence it’s not possible for me to progress or grow”
Sometimes we let these kinds of thoughts and beliefs limit our lives.
The thing is, often we are dwelling on such thoughts without even noticing.
It is important to keep a check on our thoughts, how we are thinking, what kind of thoughts and beliefs are we allowing into our mind, what kind of conclusions are we deriving from certain things, and how we perceive life events, people and scenarios.
Once you have processed your thoughts carefully, now develop this belief deeply into your mind:
WHAT YOU HAVE IS MORE THAN ENOUGH FOR YOU IF YOU MAKE USE OF IT.
Say to yourself, “I don’t need to wait for anything any longer. What I have is enough for me to get started now. God is enough for me, He will make things happen. He will bring into existence, all the things and resources that I might need along the way. I only thing I need to do is to take action and step up!”
“And Allah is sufficient as a Guardian, and He is sufficient as a Helper.”
“But it only made them grow stronger in faith and they said,
‘Allah alone is fully sufficient for us and He is the best Disposer of our affairs.’”
Start focusing on what you do have! Develop an Attitude of Gratitude.
Feel the gratitude and joy of having Allah’s blessing in your life right now. The more you focus on your blessings and feel deeply grateful in your heart, the more of Allah’s blessing you’ll have in your life.
You’ll see miracles and blessings entering your life one after another, after another.
“If you are grateful, I will certainly give you more (of my blessings)”
5. See The Hidden Resources Around You
People are Resource. Circumstances are a Resource. Time is a Resource. Health is a Resource. Knowledge and Wisdom are Resources.
All these resources are far more important than just plain money that people cry after most of the time.
Even if someone doesn’t have any money but learns to make use of the resources around him, people, time, circumstances, knowledge, he/she will find a way to get things done.
We hear stories of highly successful people who at one point didn’t have any money, in fact, they came from humble, impoverished beginnings, but they learned to make use of what they had at that time.
They saw the opportunity to learn and grow in knowledge, wisdom, and experience even in the toughest of times.
It’s all in our head. Really.
Personally, when I was struck with calamities, adversities and difficulties after difficulties, instead of falling in the trap of the victim mentality, losing hope and giving up on myself (which honestly I was initially inclined towards), I decided to perceive those circumstances as training from Allah.
I ‘chose’ to believe that Allah has something greater up ahead for me, that is the reason He is making me go through such difficult times so that I gain strength, learn the deeper wisdom of life and become a stronger, wiser version of myself.
I saw those tough circumstances as opportunities to grow wiser and that got me mentally, intellectually and emotionally way ahead of many people around me who are living comfortably and easy lives. Alhamdulillah – All Praise be to God Almighty.
The only reason I’m sharing examples from my personal life is that I want to let you know if I can do it, so can you In-Shaa-Allah (God Willing). Chances are that if you’re capable of reading this article, you are way ahead in term of resources than me when I started.
Resources are never a problem. It’s the Resourceful State of mind that you need to get yourself into.
Resourceful people are never dependent on resources. They see resources everywhere. They ‘create’ resources from their surroundings.
6. Focus On Contribution – See The Bigger Picture
Remember, we can only grow to a certain limit if we are self-centered or family-centered.
If your purpose revolves only around personal benefit or the benefit of your own family alone, you’ll very soon hit a limit in terms of personal growth.
It is only when we start seeing the bigger picture outside of our own self and our own life, that we begin to tap into extraordinary heights of growth.
Contribution. Yes. It’s the essence of our life. We’re born to grow so that we can contribute forward.
“You are best of people ever made FOR mankind; you command beneficence (good), and forbid wrong (evil), and believe in Allah.
Notice, that it says “FOR the mankind” not FROM the mankind, suggesting that our purpose of existence is based around contribution towards humanity and servitude towards Allah. That is the sole key to true happiness, satisfaction, and peace.
In the 6 Basic Psychological Needs model, 2 of our basic human needs are:
Growth (development, challenge)
And Contribution (the need to make a positive difference in the world).
These two needs are considered to be the most important of all six and are the key to true inner peace, happiness, and fulfillment.
Contribution does not just mean giving away plain money. It’s really about how can each and every single one of us contribute our part towards a positive change for society/humanity.
How can we contribute through our own talents and skills?
How can we contribute through our knowledge?
How can we contribute through our time and energy?
Contribution never takes things away from us. It only adds on to the rich experience of our life.
Once we develop the mentality of giving, we naturally would seek to grow more and more, not just materially but as a person as well.
As the saying goes, you cannot give something that you don’t have.
So, intend to give love to others and you’ll automatically be driven to harbor more love within you so that you can give it to others.
Share your knowledge, and you’ll automatically be driven to acquire more knowledge so that you can contribute more.
Share your skills, and you’ll automatically polish and strengthen your skills further.
Contribute through your energy, and Allah will increase you further in health and vitality.
What you Give, is the only thing that you really get to keep.
The only thing we will be taking into our next life is the deeds focused around contribution and servitude towards Allah and His creation.
Everything else will leave us. Our deeds will be the only thing that will stay.
Here are the key points that we discussed today:
- Stop trying to be better than someone else. Let go of external competition. Instead, focus on constantly becoming a better version of yourself. Keep challenging yourself to grow more.
- Develop a flexible Mindset and a Dynamic approach towards learning.
- Grow a little bit every single day. Have Curiosity and develop habits that make you grow.
- Learn to make the most of what you already have.
- Learn to identify the hidden resources around you. People, circumstances, time, knowledge are all resources. Become a possibility-thinker. See difficulties as opportunities.
- Contribution is the essence of a fulfilled life. We grow so that we can give. Develop a giving mindset and you’ll grow exponentially.
Till next time…
A human being dedicated to explore and master deeper human potentials while sharing the wisdom and experiences to help fellow humans bring a positive revolution in their minds and ultimately their lives.