Category: Mind

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Growth Mindset versus Fixed Mindset

Carol Dweck is a researcher in the field of success psychology for over 30 years and is the author of “Mindset: Changing the way you think to fulfill your potential”.

In this book, she put forward the idea that your success in life is not as dependent on your ability and intelligence as it is on the type of mindset you have. In other words, your success in life is dependent more on the way you think and believe about yourself than about your ability and intelligence.

Specifically, she pointed out that there are two very distinctly different mindset, each with its own distinctly different consequences.

TYPES OF MINDSET

The first type is called the Fixed Mindset. A person with this mindset believes that his ability and intelligence are fixed, innate and absolute. He sees a challenge as a test that may potentially expose his lack of ability or intelligence. Thus, he is challenge-shy.

The second type of mindset is called Growth Mindset. A person with this growth mindset sees every challenge as a potential opportunity to learn and improve himself. He does not see his ability and intelligence as something fixed or absolute, but one that can be cultivated and improved upon. Thus, he is not challenge-shy and is thus more resilient than one with a fixed mindset in times of adversity.

PRAISING THE PROCESS VERSUS PRAISING THE ABILITY

One way to cultivate and enhance the growth mindset in others is to praise the process – that is to say, praise their effort and persistence, their strategies and problem solving attitude – when they are given a task or challenge to accomplished.

This is in contrast to praising the ability of the person, as if to validate that his worth is dependent on his ability and intelligence. Praising the ability can sometimes have the negative effect of reducing self-esteem and confidence.

MIXED MINDSETS

A person may have a growth mindset in one area, such as in terms of intelligence, and yet still have a fixed mindset in another area, such as in the way he looks at relationships.

A MINDSET IS A POWERFUL BELIEF

A mindset is simply a belief. It is how you see yourself and the world. It is how you make sense of your experience in the world. It is how you give meaning to your experience.

Like all beliefs, it is not an absolute truth. What is true, is that there are beneficial beliefs and harmful beliefs. So, it is important to be aware of your beliefs and examine them to see if what you believe in is helping you or holding you back from the person you want to become.

Consciousness is Life?

Consciousness is Life?

Here is another perspective on consciousness, as explained by Sadhguru. Consciousness is life. There is no such things as my consciousness and your consciousness. Consciousness has no boundary although our mind can create a make-believe boundary. Life has no meaning beyond what meaning we give to it.

Managing Thoughts

Managing Thoughts

Introduction 

Thoughts are not real. However, believing in our thoughts makes them real to us. Realising this truth can free us from a lot of sufferings. After all, since thoughts are not real, we do not need to allow them to bother us. 

Unfortunately, it is not that simple. Unless we can see and know for ourselves that thoughts are not real, it is hard for us to simply believe this fact.  

Thus, thoughts continue to bother us. 

Types of Thoughts 

Thoughts can be grouped into these three categories: 

  1. Positive thoughts 
  1. Negative thoughts 
  1. Neutral thoughts 

Positive thoughts make us feel good. Negative thoughts make us feel bad. Neutral thoughts do not seem to bother us either way. 

Our thoughts are what make us happy or sad. If we want to be free from sadness, then we must learn to manage our negative thoughts. 

Causes of Negative Thoughts 

What causes negative thoughts to arise? Briefly, association with past experiences – with memories imprinted in our mind.  

Inputs from the external world of the five physical senses and our own internal mental world lead to association with past imprints in our mind as we try to make sense of the world.  

Our own conditioned mind or mental habits determine how this association is managed. It is what our mind inclines to do. 

Effects of Negative Thoughts 

Negative thoughts make us worry. They make us fearful. Then, we react accordingly. 

We worry only because we want things to be other than “what is”. We worry because our expectations are not met, or are threatened. We worry because we cannot see things as they really are, or if we do see things as they really are, we have not accepted them.  We have not surrender to reality. 

What is threatened is not just our expectations. To be more accurate, it is our Self that is threatened. The ego is threatened. The ego’s safety or significance is threatened. 

Managing Negative Thoughts 

  1. Know that thoughts are not real 

The best way to manage negative thoughts, and all kinds of thoughts, is to know that thoughts are not real. It is our own belief in our thoughts that make them real to us. 

Through believing in our thoughts, we give thoughts the power to create both happiness and suffering for us. Without such a belief, thoughts have no power over us. This shows the amazing power of belief. 

This is healing at the level of wisdom (knowing and seeing). 

If we cannot see this truth for ourselves, then we must manage our negative thoughts in other ways. 

  1. Acceptance of what is 

The next method is to learn to accept things as they are, without expectations or wish for things to be other that what is. This is a form of surrendering to the universe, and to universal wisdom.  

This requires a belief that the universe will serve you what is best for your growth. 

This is healing at the level of faith. 

  1. Right View for Right Thoughts 

If you have a right world view or skillful/wholesome way of looking at life, then you will have the right perspective to lead a happy life. A wholesome perspective leads to wholesome perception, which leads to wholesome experience.  

In short, right view leads to right attitude and right thoughts. 

Another way of looking at this is that we tell ourselves the right story or narrative. Just as the way we view the world can influence how we experience life, in the same way, how we tell ourselves the narrative we believe in will influence how we experience life. 

In other words, how we choose to view the world matters. What we choose to believe in also matters. This is what is meant by “believe it and you will see it”. 

We tend to think that we believe something only when we have seen it. That is why there is a saying, “I’ll believe it when I see it”.  

But the paradox of life is such that what really happens is we first believe in something (our views or our story), then we see it or experience it as a validation of our beliefs. Here is another example of the power of belief. 

Realising this truth is important because it means that we can change how we experience life by changing our beliefs, world views and/or stories. 

  1. Stopping negative thoughts from arising 

This requires intense mindfulness and energy. The practice of meditation (bhavana) comes in useful here to strengthen the mental muscles necessary for this kind of job. 

A strong mind can stop negative thoughts from arising, or if they have already arisen, to stop them in their tracks before they can cause more damage to our well-being. 

  1. Replacing arisen negative thoughts 

This is a common method advised by psychiatrists and psychologists to manage negative thoughts. Whenever a negative thought arises, replace that negative thought with an opposite and positive thought.  

For example, if a negative thought about stealing arises, then as soon as you are aware of it, replace the thought with a positive and opposite one, such as a thought of giving or charity. 

  1. Distraction method 

If it is difficult even to replace a negative thought with a positive one, then simply try to distract yourself from the negative thought by focusing on something else that may be totally unrelated to what you are thinking about.  

For example, if you are thinking of something lustful, you can distract yourself from the thought by deciding to go for a run or jog. Finding something useful to do is a good and effective method of distracting or re-directing your thoughts. 

Meet your thoughts with understanding

Meet your thoughts with understanding

“As we investigate a stressful thought, we see for ourselves that it’s untrue; we get to look at the cause-and-effect of it, to observe in sobering detail exactly what modes of pain and confusion result from believing it; then we get a glimpse into the empty mirror, the world beyond our story of the world, and see what our life would be like without the thought; and finally we get to experience the opposite of what we have so firmly believed. Once we deeply question a thought, it loses its power to cause us pain, and eventually it ceases even to arise.

I don’t let go of my thoughts. I meet them with understanding. Then they let go of me. Questioning thoughts that seem to be true—thoughts that may even feel like part of our identity—takes courage. When we find that courage to get still and go within, we are able to meet the freedom that lives on the other side of inquiry.”

– Byron Katie

Whatever act done repeatedly becomes a habit

Whatever act done repeatedly becomes a habit

Whatever act through body, speech and mind that is done repeatedly becomes a habit, and quietly slips below the conscious mind.

Mental habits are useful, but they can also become harmful as circumstances change. What is an appropriate response initially may no longer be appropriate now.

So, re-examine your mental habits.

4 Pillars of a Meaningful Life

4 Pillars of a Meaningful Life

Happiness is not the same thing as a meaningful life. Most people look for happiness in their lives. However, according to author Emily Esfahani Smith, the way to find happiness in our life is to actually create a meaningful life for ourselves. Then, happiness follows.

She listed down four pillars that provide meaning to our lives. They are:

  1. Belongings – Being appreciated for who we are
  2. Purpose – Our ability to use our gifts to make a difference
  3. Transcendence – Inspiration for looking beyond ourselves
  4. Story Telling – The narrative we create about ourselves

Here is a link to her Ted Talk about this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9Trdafp83U

Practice till You Get It Right

Practice till You Get It Right

Once you have gotten the right and wholesome world view, your mind formulates some life principles to be used as guidance in life. Your life principles become a compass that guides you in everything you think, say and do.

There are, however, some important life skills you need to cultivate and fine-tune if you were to set the wheel of transformation in motion.

Some of the essential life skills are:

  1. Mindfulness
  2. Letting Go

Theoretical knowledge will not transform you. Only when you put what you know into practice can you begin to see the changes you desire.

So… Practice! Practice! Practice!

Daily Mindfulness for Personal Transformation contains practical tips, tools and skills that are essential to your practice.

We invite you to join us in practicing and sharing the skills and tools you use for personal transformation. We are a happy family of serious practitioners who are keen and willing to share our experiences with you. Sign up now for our newsletter and begin the sharing.

Perspective – How you view the world matters

Perspective – How you view the world matters

Throughout the ages, philosophers and spiritual seekers have been seeking and debating on the nature of the world and of life itself. Why is this important to them? It is important because how you view the world matters. Your world view and your personal understanding about life and how it works determine how you think, speak and act.

Whether you are aware of it or not, your concept and understanding of how the world works is the foundation of all your subsequent beliefs and behaviors.

Thus, having an accurate world view is fundamental to living a successful and fulfilling life. Unfortunately, not many people have taken time to understand and investigate their own world view.

Do you know what your world view is?

SPIRITUALITY OR MATERIALITY?

There are two world views that are fundamentally opposing in nature. One is a spiritual world view and the other is a materialistic world view. Which do you hold to be true?

Do you see yourself…

  • as a spiritual being inhabiting a physical body, or
  • as a physical being with a spiritual inclination?

Do you see this world as a benevolent universe or a hostile one?

How you view the world can fundamentally change the way you experience your life. This is because your experience is determined by how you perceive the event. Your perception, in turn, is determined by which perspective you perceive from.

If you see it from a spiritual perspective, you get one type of experience. If you see it from a materialistic perspective, you get a different experience. Moving from a materialistic to a spiritual perspective is effectively a powerful and life changing paradigm shift.

Thus, it is essential that you get this right from the beginning.

We invite you to join us in exploring the nature of life as you embark on the exciting adventure of self discovery. Sign up now for our newsletter and let the journey begins.

Overcoming the fear of aging

Overcoming the fear of aging

Aging, like sickness and death, is part and parcel of life. Everyone who is born must eventually age and die. This is the natural cycle of life. However, not everyone ages in the same way. Some age gracefully. Others age with fear.

Fear is Optional

If you are fearful of aging, you should know that this fear is not inevitable. It is there only because of your own past experiences, your own beliefs and your own attitude towards it. In the end, it is a matter of choice. Aging is inevitable but fear of aging is not. Aging of this body is a physical phenomenon. That is why it is inevitable. Fear, on the other hand, is a mental phenomenon. It is optional.

Identify Your Fears

If you are fearful of aging, you should try to be more specific and identify what it is that you are really fearful of. Generally, those who fear aging are actually fearful of sickness and death. Those who believe that they can age with a healthy and functioning body have little fear of aging. Those who think of the possibility of sickness and death as they age become fearful.

Having identify our specific fears, it then becomes possible to do something about it.

Fear of Sickness

If it is sickness, then we can start to live a healthy lifestyle. It is never too late to start a habit of living healthily. If you smoke, stop smoking. If you drink alcohol, and especially if you drink heavily, then tone it down. Drink less. Scientific studies have actually shown that a small amount of alcohol is good for your physical health but too much is harmful. Sleep early and wake up early. Sleep well. Exercise regularly. Eat healthily. Drink lots of water. Practice yoga or tai chi. Learn to meditate. All these improve the quality of your life, making you healthier mentally, emotionally and physically.

Fear of Death

If your fear is death, then once again you have to be specific. Is it the process of dying that you are afraid of, or is it death itself? If it is the process of dying, then the real fear for most people is actually the fear of a painful dying process. If that is the case, we have good news for you. Science and medicine today have reached a point where we can almost always minimise pain in the dying process. In most cases, we can even totally eradicate pain. However, even without medicine, pain can still be managed well. Physical pain may be inevitable but mental suffering is optional.

The question then is how do we free ourselves from mental suffering in the presence of physical pain? The answer to that is a strong mind. We can train our mind to be strong and resilient. It is a skill, and like all skills, it takes practice. The most common and popular mind training is meditation. So, learn to meditate, and learn it well. Gain mastery over your own mind. Then you will have little to be fearful of.

Fear of the Unknown

Lastly, if it is death itself that you are afraid of, then it is most likely because death is a big unknown. What happens to us after death? This is a spiritual question, and you will need a spiritual answer. It all comes down to your belief system. So, when you talk about death, and especially when you want a solution to this type of fear about death, then you must re-visit your spirituality, and the very nature of who you are.

Are you simply this body or are you more than just this physical body? When you die, is there a part of you that continues on? This is your quest. It is a journey that none can take for you. Only you can do this for yourself.