Mindset Matters as Seen in 5 Key Questions

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1). How does our mindset propel or prevent learning, laughing and living our best stress-free lives?

A growth mindset is open-minded thinking that helps us tackle problems with possibilities. Not that perfection is a good growth mindset target. Bounce back after mistakes though and we create stepping stones into a calmer and more creative space.

We learn to avoid judging ourselves as we reshape kinder beliefs. We start by side-stepping frustrations and focus on doable reactions to chaos or challenges that interrupt our day. We choose creative reactions instead, that boost the brain’s aha chemical, serotonin, and that simple choice equips us to recognize emotional cues, diffuse disappointments, and access a healthier, more agile brain. Simply stated, we choose wellbeing by living life in the moment, not regretting past problems, and certainly not wasting the wonder of now by stressing over future hurdles. That deliberate choice raises serotonin, and launches us on a new path where freedom replaces fear, and calm chases away chaos.

Our growth mindset lies opposite any fixed mindset that runs on the toxic chemical, cortisol. It took me a lifetime to understand how our personal choices trigger smirks or smiles in any situation. Start small. Awaken that inner kindness and breathe in unconditional love, and we prepare mind and emotions for a day that will surprise us with joy.

Fixed mindsets, in contrast, cause us stress, shut down our prefrontal cortex where we’d otherwise make healthy choices, and can literally shrink our brains as well as shave years off our lives. So how do we begin to enjoy a growth mindset in spite of life’s challenges? How do we avoid well-being’s toxic counterpart?

We see anxiety on the rise and teen suicides are higher than ever recorded. Just after I retired, a New York Publisher invited me to write my 2021 book, The Teens’ Growth Mindset Workbook. I added interactive exercises because it takes action to support teens and their mentors as they embrace stress-filled challenges together. In fun interactive actions, together we can build resilience and grit to achieve life-changing goals.

Check out research based facts about serotonin here to see what it is and how to get more today.

Check out dangerous facts about cortisol here to see what it is and how to live beyond it today.

Mindset Matters in Question 2 of 5:

2). Why ask, “How are we smart?” rather than ask, “How smart are we?

Are you aware that we each come equipped with at least eight intelligences? Or did you know that IQ is fluid, not fixed? If so, you are likely not surprised that we can grow and refine all or some unique intelligences daily. Sound like a worthwhile exchange for worrying or giving up? Here’s the skinny:

We may grow musical intelligence by composing a song or attending a musical workshop. Perhaps we grow mathematical intelligence by organizing a weekly schedule, or researching numerical data to back up an idea. We grow linguistic intelligence by reading, writing, or public speaking. We might improve spatial intelligence by drawing, painting or sketching illustrations as we learn a thing. Perhaps we improve our naturalistic intelligence by hiking along a river, or testing water quality. We may grow our kinesthetic intelligence by building a prototype, or taking part in dance or sports. We grow intrapersonal intelligence by logging our feelings, journaling, or thinking deeply to clarify our thoughts, emotions, and beliefs. We grow interpersonal intelligence by interviewing others we admire, or spending time with a friend to learn more about something they do well. We might even then teach that newly learned skill to help another person.

The best way to measure our ongoing growth mindset in any intelligence is to simply use that intelligence to solve a problem we face or build a product we’d like to invent in order to improve our situation. Accuracy can be assured by listing five or so attributes we expect to incorporate into our solution or innovation. Each quality trait we listed and embedded accurately or artistically adds another measure of excellence. Simply stated, we measure growth by tangible outcomes. Does that make sense?

We also engage our working memory (which is the brain’s growth mindset apparatus) to gather new facts, store them temporarily and include them into creative solutions we propose and execute. We avoid defaulting into our basal ganglia (which is the brain’s storage place for stockpiling frequently followed routines in fixed mindset ruts) with each reuse of these comfort-zone habits.

Mindset Matters in Question 3 of 5:

3). How does our soul refine and improve life-long learning and growth?

Much like how we redirect course to gain a growth mindset, so too we can course correct to equip our souls and spirits for a more blessed life through a grace mindset. We can access and awaken noble traits such as loving-kindness, empathy, healing and hope. Not that we convert others, yet grace comes from a divine unconditional love and acceptance of all creation, and that grace remains alive in our intrapersonal IQ throughout eternity. It’s not a substitute for suffering that marks our broken world. Yet its presence of spirited awe lifts us above scarcity to flourish and thrive personally as well as help others to do the same.

Our grace mindset engages neuron-plasticity (the brain’s ability to change itself) and impacts our amygdala (or the seat of emotions where all emotional reactions store for reuse within similar triggers). Access, awaken empathy and we store a very different response, from anger or resentment for instance.

Whereas the opposite of growth mindset is fixed mindset, the opposite of a grace mindset is a cynical mindset.

In my 2022 book, Access Our Grace Mindset, tips, guides and practical surveys help us to recognize and actively awaken loving-kindness, empathy, healing and hope together as we go. Not as grace-filled traits we are expected to strive for, or earn. Just the opposite. The wonder of this mindset is its free gift we already possess within our DNA. As God’s divinely appointed superpower to all who access and awaken we recognize agape love as a force just as tangible as the inner FORCE available and ready to use by Star Wars characters.

Mindset Matters in Question 4 of 5:

4). Should we welcome namungos to better balance mind, soul and emotions?

Wait – let me ask this namungo question in a better way for those who haven’t heard of these six fictitious little characters with real brain parts! We already possess all six but these little namungos could be doing so much more to boost our mental and emotional finery! Are you curious about a namungo’s contributions to our wellbeing yet?

In the 2022 book, Access Our Grace Mindset, we meet these six namungos. These fictitious little characters with real brain parts we all possess help to inform our choices for a growth as well as a grace mindset. We catch their specific roles in stories and examples of mindsets we select or settle for.

For instance, we see how BAS (short for basal ganglia) literally stores and represents ruts and rituals. We see how SERO (short for serotonin) offers well-being. We learn how PLAS (short for plasticity) changes the shape and operation of our brains based on actions we completed that day. We catch how WM (short for working memory) holds onto new facts and then lets unused data bites go after a short while. Then there is CORT (short for cortisol) that raises stress unless we alter directions. Finally, the namungo, MYG (short for amygdala) tends to stockpile moods we typically practice and then toss these same moods back again as our default emotional stance in similar settings. Good news if we choose moods carefully, but otherwise catastrophe if we cling to bad moods.

Mindset Matters in Question 5 of 5:

5). How can we do one thing differently because of something learned about a stress-free life?

Make it fun! Our response to any of the above ideas here (or suggested practices and tips in the related blogs), might be as simple as pair-sharing one small (but interesting) idea we heard on mindset matters. It’s vital that we put ideas into doable actions however, if we want a mindset of growth or grace to follow. Yes, you likely guessed that the brain changes in response to our actions, not our mere discussions or thoughts.

As one tangible action from my own learning about growth mindset and grace mindset, I published a related discussion and guidebook, titled Leader Discussion Guide for Access Our Grace Mindset. In addition, I facilitate monthly roundtables where we examine newly discovered brain parts involved in shaping or reshaping mindsets. The 20 sessions laid out in this book offer prompts, tips and discussion questions that help us to apply relevant research and neural ideas in fun and practical ways that encourage and mutually mentor one another to grow or access our finest mindsets.

It should be noted that the three books referred to in this blog series can be located in libraries, online and brick and mortar bookstores such as Chapters or Barnes and Nobles, Amazon, and many other accessible outlets. In addition to its paperback format, the 2022 book Access Our Grace Mindset was published recently on dozens of platform in audible format also, and so can now be listened to as we walk or workout.

As to further engaging questions in this series: Teens asked 25 whoppers I listed in the book, The Teens’ Growth Mindset Workbook . Their Q & A fills a third of the book! Hopefully, my detailed responses will provide them growth mindset opportunities and help our teens and their mentors see what fixed or inflexible mindsets can do to impede us here. On pages 396 to 399 of the book, Access Our Grace Mindset are listed 50 two-footed questions that ignite even deeper discussions and prompt grace mindset approaches to our everyday issues.

In each discussion motivated by these growth mindset prompts, we might conclude with Jimi Hendrix, “When the power of love overcomes the love of power our world will know peace.” Sound like a bridge over calamity and into creative, calmer spaces to see life’s innovative possibilities like a child sees and imagines fun at Disney’s gates?