Be Gentle on Yourself (and disciplined at the same time): Notes on 2018, the Scholarship We Started and Moving Forward in 2019

First of all, I hope everyone is having a happy and healthy holiday season. I am writing today because I want to touch base with you as we cross over into 2019, particularly because I’d like to share what was going on in 2018 (in my life) and how I expect to apply what I’ve learned going forward. I hope my insights may help you, too, especially if you are feeling criticized in your life or you are holding back on pursuing a dream.

Many of you know that I have two children (my son is now 5 years old and my daughter is 22 months old). I consider myself primarily to be a “stay-at-home” mom at the moment. I don’t work a normal, full-time job. When I’ve worked since my son was born, it’s been part-time as an adjunct professor on and off, when my schedule allowed (update: I’m taking a break from teaching for the foreseeable future to maximize my family and personal time).

I mostly spend my days preparing my son to go to school, dropping him off, taking care of my daughter during the day, picking my son up, helping with homework/reading, playing, cleaning my house, cooking, and anything-moms-typically-do type of work. My “off-hours” (namely when my kids are sleeping early in the morning or late at night), or on the weekends when my husband can help with the kids, are typically the only moments I can do anything else, and that usually means some form of writing or consulting-related work. Some of you have read my non-fiction books or have taken my online courses/coaching. If you’ve read or participated in anything I’ve done there, it was all prepared during those “off hours!”

The aforementioned writing/courses I started a few years ago were mostly borne out of a passion for helping people. Earlier this year my husband and I started a scholarship at my alma mater, New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). It’s entitled: The Kardos and Jusino Family Annual Scholarship in Memory of John F. Pappetti, Sr. I’m very pleased that we started this scholarship in memory of my grandfather, someone who always encouraged my education. I mention this because around the time the scholarship was being set up, someone had asked me a number of questions about why or how I got started in writing. My initial response without even thinking was, “Because I would have wanted this advice years ago.” I truly think about what I didn’t know, especially in my early 20s, and wish someone had explained to me how to be successful. Note that I did receive some help and support from mentors and people who cared about me over the years, but I would have loved to read a few pamphlets or guides with a succinct framework years ago! Therefore, I wrote the book that would have resonated with the younger version of me.

When I first embarked on my author journey in early 2015, I had no idea where it would lead. At that point I didn’t even anticipate an online course or more than one book. I wrote Optimize for Victory on the heels of earning my Ph.D. and working in the chemical industry, mainly as a summary of what I had learned and thought could be most helpful for people to be successful. But embarking on that author journey opened up a whole new world to me outside of academia and industry. Soon I found myself following podcasts, YouTube, blogs, etc. of other authors as I became interested in the changing and evolving publishing industry. I learned quite a bit about marketing books, writing, and more. Despite being busy taking care of the household, teaching part-time, and a very difficult pregnancy (with my daughter; she turned out to be a very healthy baby but I needed to rest for nine months as we waited for her arrival!), I turned out three non-fiction books total, one major “premium” course and also a number of other courses within my own online school, not to mention that I learned how to create a website, etc., all stuff I never did before. Now, over the years on and off, I’ve ignored my own advice and suffered from “comparisonitis” — namely comparing book sales and reviews. Other non-fiction authors have either yielded more or less success than I have. But I’m happy to say I’m finally starting to get over worrying about what other people are doing, or even worrying about what people think of me (I have had to navigate many difficult discussions of what I’m “doing” now post PhD; I’m getting better about not worrying about what people think and standing behind what I want and my values, but it hasn’t been easy). I can do this if I follow the advice I provide in my own work: just focus on what I’m doing each day and only compare myself to the Lisa from the previous day. As long as I’m learning and improving, that’s all that matters, especially if I can help a few people along the way (readers or course participants).

I’ve talked about the growth mindset before, mainly because it’s something I have personally had to work on–I could relate to the pain some of my readers’ experienced about “not being enough” or not being “perfect enough” or things like that. If you are struggling with that, as I have in the past, I would suggest that you remind yourself that no one has ever walked in your shoes, only you have. Further, no one has the unique combination of talents or achievements that you have. And if you start to question your achievements, I bet if you listed out a few of the things you managed to do the past five years, you’d surprise yourself.

I mention all of the above because I want to set the stage, or context, for what I pursued the past year, that of becoming a fiction author. I had moments since 2015 where I felt I wasn’t successful enough as a “non-fiction” author or “consultant/coach/educator” online. I would remind myself of everything I had going on in my personal life but it still wouldn’t quell my concern. But then I remembered the key reason I earned my Ph.D. after eight difficult years navigating all kinds of issues: perseverance. How long it takes you to do something doesn’t matter. As trite as it sounds, it is about the journey and who you become in the process.

What happened in 2018 is that I pivoted. I did not give up on non-fiction or helping people, but I decided to test my own systems in a new area and fulfill a dream I’ve always had — that of becoming a fiction author as a completely unknown person. I put the non-fiction on hold, not indefinitely, however. It will be there when I’m ready to return to it. In the meantime, I created a pen name that I did not share with anyone (except my husband at first and now just a handful of people). I started from scratch completely. And keep in mind I haven’t had any kind of English or literature course since high school (some individuals have actually criticized that I shouldn’t be writing non-fiction either for that reason and that I’m “embarrassing” myself, but I’m getting better at ignoring them. I recently heard a quote by New York Times Bestselling Author Rachel Hollis: “Don’t let someone in the cheap seats have an expensive opinion in your life.”).

I managed to teach myself to write “culinary cozy mysteries” and published two titles, selling hundreds of copies (to my surprise); the third title will release on Christmas day and I plan to write and publish the fourth in the coming weeks. If I were to compare myself to some of the Amazon cozy mystery authors who have 50+ titles, I would feel like a failure. But if I didn’t try at all in 2018 I would have zero titles, no sense of how to write any kind of fiction, and most importantly, no perspective for what’s possible. I can’t explain how much I’ve learned and how the world of writing and publishing is even deeper and holds more possibilities than I realized.

I’m still learning how to improve my craft. But I’m keeping in mind that this is brand new for me, and most importantly, I’ve finally learned to stop worrying about what people think and focus on producing a creative piece of work (and enjoying it in the process). Further, I try to remind myself that time is our most valuable resource. If someone was able to enjoy the few hours they took to read my book (fiction or non-fiction), that it elevated their mood or helped them cope with a difficult period of their life, then I’ve managed to add value to that person’s life, and that’s not to be underestimated. Time is something we’ll never get back, and it’s important to try to appreciate and enjoy what we have left.

This is turning out to be a long blog post, but I wanted to provide the entire context to you for a few reasons. In summary, my point is to be gentle on yourself. Don’t beat yourself up about what you have or haven’t done in life. We can’t change the past. But we can focus on the present and the future, and you can decide what you want to learn and improve going forward. It doesn’t mean you have to have rockstar success at first. While we don’t know why things take time to come to fruition, I do believe “all things work together for our good” (essentially Romans 8:28) and eventually it all works out, we just can’t see it now. I think as long as we are always learning and creating, and not just consuming, we are adding value and that’s important. Further, to do that you do need a level of discipline. That doesn’t mean you have to beat yourself up. Don’t underestimate the power of a few minutes here and there. Try to work everyday on something you want to achieve, even if for just five minutes. It adds up. The five minutes don’t need to be perfect or consist of perfect work. Having anything is better than nothing (and then refine as necessary).

That said, remember my first point: be gentle on yourself. If you’re not gentle on yourself, people won’t be gentle on you. Treat yourself as you would like to be treated. That doesn’t mean being lazy or a couch potato all the time, but it does mean it’s good to try to add value and be of service when you can, but also take care of yourself, too.

These are my end of the year musings for 2018. In essence, I tried a new challenge (fiction), tested my success systems in the process, and I plan to continue to write fiction and non-fiction going forward in my “off hours” (as explained) and helping people whenever possible.

(TL;DR — In case you skipped to the end)

I sincerely wish you the best this holiday season and moving forward into 2019. If you have a goal or dream but haven’t been able to achieve it (yet), don’t despair. Carving out even just five minutes a day is an achievement and more than someone else might do. After a year or two you might be surprised you completed whatever it may be. The point is to be consistent and persevere. Don’t make a resolution and give up. Just keep going and you’ll get there. Have faith in yourself. I have faith in you.

Reflection and Morning Journal (free download)

As we approach the end of 2017, it’s natural to look back on the year and review our personal progress. We ask ourselves: did we achieve the goals and resolutions we committed to at the beginning of 2017?

 

I’ll be the first to admit that I did not for a number of reasons. Those reasons range from personal struggle (feeling sick/immobile in my pregnancy, giving birth to my second child, mourning the death of my grandfather, etc.) to shifting and changing my mind on some of the ideas and goals I had. The latter is okay, by the way. As I have mentioned in previous posts, it’s important to take action. It’s better to take action and “course correct” along the way than to be completely idle and do nothing. On the other hand, it’s also okay to rest and “sharpen the saw” (as Stephen Covey has said) for a period of time, if needed. In full transparency: I actually had a mixture of action in some instances, and rest other times, depending on what was specifically going on in my life at different times over the past year.

 

(And let’s not forget that a newborn gets up multiple times a night, and she still wakes up at least once per night now!)

 

While some of my lack of progress was due to “course correction” or personal struggle, I must acknowledge that a portion of it was also due to lack of discipline at times. I didn’t have the self-discipline to take action in some cases due to “analysis paralysis” and in other cases I got off-course in my personal habits. Admittedly, I got away from my own Design Your Success system after the birth of my daughter. And I paid a small price for it (i.e. I didn’t achieve as much as I would have liked; but, to keep perspective—it’s not the end of the world!).

 

What I experienced is natural for everyone, especially when you’re dealing with major life changes. The important thing to do now going forward, however, is to acknowledge where you are and then to move forward. And this can be done very easily and in small, easy steps.

 

To address my own situation, I started doing the following:

 

 

  • I started Using a “Morning Journal” to solidify my morning routine, to help optimize my mindset and my day (more about that below).

 

 

  • I am working on my mind and brain again by listening to audiobooks, reading or taking in visual content that is aligned with who I want to be in my free time (mentioned in this interesting video presented by Impact Theory featuring Tom Bilyeu and neuroscientist Moran Cerf, Ph.D.):

Warning: do not listen around small children; sometimes Impact Theory’s videos use adult language.

 

The Morning Journal is a new addition for me, but powerful. More and more anecdotal evidence (and perhaps even scientific – I need to do more research) is coming out in articles and books about “millionaire morning” routines.

 

I set up my morning journal to address the following:

 

  • I am: This gets me in the right mindset in terms of the kind of person I want to be for the day (i.e. “I am focused. I am disciplined. etc.)

 

  • I will: I physically write out my most important goal or project: “I, Lisa Kardos, will…” (right now my goal is around a new course I’m creating!)

 

  • Gratitude: it’s important to optimize my mind and realize the blessings in my life, so that I can start my day from a place of thankfulness instead of bitterness.

 

  • Morning reflection: This gives me a chance to flesh out my thoughts or get them “out of my system,” so-to-speak.

 morning_journalmorning_journal

Some people may balk (or like) the I will section because they resemble affirmations. In all honesty, I do not care how they are labeled. Some people will call them affirmations, others will call them goals, and some people will question the number or the wording. I look at them as a tool, because it’s the same way I learned math or other concepts in grade school: writing something down a number of times forced me to focus; the repetitive nature helped drill those concepts into my subconscious.

 

Some would argue it may not be the best way to get focused or disagree with the approach, but right now I’m looking for results and it’s working for me. Interestingly, Scott Adams (creator of Dilbert) looks at it the same way. Again, this is just a tool to get focused by working with our reticular activating system in the brain.

 

So if you are interested in increasing your focus and setting up your day for success, you are welcome to download the Morning Journal here (free; no opt-in required). I will probably write more about the morning routine in the future, but this is a start!

 

Also note that the “Daily Journal” (used in the evening) is still available for download here. And as always, feel free to check out additional resources below.

 

(Note that there is special holiday pricing for my books on Amazon and Kobo; Amazon should update the price to $0.99 later today!)

 

I leave you with the peaceful view I woke up to today (it snowed here in New Jersey!)

peaceful_winter_photo

Additional Resources:

Books:

Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams

 

Optimize Your Productivity: The Counterintuitive Approach to Get More Done in Less Time (Today)

 

Success Blueprint: Get Out of Survival Mode, Regain Control of Your Life, and Get Ahead at Work and in Life

 

Course: Design Your Success Academy

Check out my #AmazonInfluencer Gift Guide page!

Thoughts for Today: Their Shoes and Your Mind

Today I’d like to share some thoughts I’ve had recently about two seemingly-unrelated topics that have been on my mind (and they are actually related, as I will explain).

 

One topic I’ve been thinking about is due to my work with students and young professionals for their careers. I often find that individuals are so stressed and concerned about getting a job that they keep thinking in terms of what’s best for them; they’re not necessarily thinking about the potential employer. In other words, they are not putting themselves in the shoes of the potential employer who is thinking, “Why should I hire this person?”

 

While it sounds straightforward to put yourself in the other person’s shoes, very few people do it. They think they’re bringing out the most important points in an interview, but it really takes a level of “mind mastery” to put aside your own ideas and to put yourself in the shoes of the manager.

 

The manager wants to hire someone who is going to make his or her job easier. That means hiring someone who can think ahead (anticipate problems and propose solutions, as an example). It’s extremely hard for people to get past the anxiousness they feel in order to achieve that level of thinking, and it’s especially hard to demonstrate that in an interview. The ones who can are typically the ones who can get the jobs or get the promotions. I know from first-hand experience after interviewing hundreds of candidates at career fairs or in my office for jobs over the years. Often their resumes looked good, but many of the interviews suffered.

 

This brings me to the second topic, that of “mind mastery.” Our minds are what make us so powerful as humans, and yet we can be limited by our minds at times. This is one of the reasons I study this area so much. I don’t like being limited by my mind, and I’m always looking for ways to feel like I’m in charge of my mind (and not the other way around)! As an example, if I wake up and I know I’m supposed to work on something, but I say, “I don’t feel like doing it today,” and consequently don’t work on it, I’m a victim of my mind. Most people wouldn’t look at it that way, but I do.

 

While this can get into a lot of philosophical thought (who am I if I’m a victim of my mind, for instance!), the bottom line is that we can often get hung up by our minds. Many people will say these are due to habits, willpower, etc., but it in the end, it all comes down to getting past our minds. Working with our habits and willpower are actually methods that can help us. So if we can figure out how to get past the voice telling us not to do something, using some of those techniques, we’ll have won. And getting back to the interview example, if we can master our mind to the point of putting our own agenda aside and demonstrating how we can provide value to someone, we’ll have succeeded in the interview.

 

I don’t have all the answers but I will continue to study this area and also help others, because to me this is one of the trickiest things to manage in life (in terms of success or overcoming a challenge).

 

So the next time you say, “I don’t feel like doing this” yet you feel frustrated that you’re not achieving what you want, remind yourself who’s in charge 😉 and in the future we’ll get into more techniques on how to master your mindset to overcome your challenges.

Additional Resources:

Books:

Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams

Optimize Your Productivity: The Counterintuitive Approach to Get More Done in Less Time (Today) 

Success Blueprint: Get Out of Survival Mode, Regain Control of Your Life, and Get Ahead at Work and in Life

Course: Design Your Success Academy

Check out my #AmazonInfluencer page!

Lisa’s Review: Hustle: The Life Changing Effects of Constant Motion

Last week I had the pleasure of reading Hustle: The Life Changing Effects of Constant Motion on my Kindle by Jesse Warren Tevelow. If you’re stuck in a rut, or want to read something motivational to “get you going,” this might be a good read for you. Currently, it’s only $0.99 on Kindle. Read more below:

 

Hustle Kindle Book

 

Title: Hustle: The Life Changing Effects of Constant Motion

 

Author: Jesse Warren Tevelow

 

Formats: Kindle, Paperback, Audible (side note for Audible — you may want to save your free book or credit for a more expensive title as it’s currently only $4.87; be sure to check the price in case it’s changed, especially if you want to purchase directly)

 

Reviews: 4.6/5 Stars (Amazon)

 

Why I Recommend: Many people have “analysis paralysis.” They may have trouble moving forward and may stay “settled” because they have fear, are uncomfortable, or simply over-analyze before moving forward. This book will get you in the mindset of gaining momentum so that you can instead reap the benefits of gaining insights as you make significant progress in your endeavors.

 

Warnings: For those who want to take action and move forward. It’s not a long text, but just long enough to get you in the spirit of moving forward.

 

Structure of the Book (and highlights): The book is divided into 15 chapters:

 

Chapter 1: Introduction

  • Author cites examples of well-known people who have demonstrated what “hustling” really means.
  • Key: “Constant motion delivers life-changing results.”
  • There is value in creating momentum.

Chapter 2:  Where Does Hustle Come From?

  • Boils down to aversion to settling — you want more.
  • Discusses how to improve confidence due to whom you surround yourself with.

 

Chapter 3:  Hustler’s Diary – Day 1

Author chronicles his progress on writing the book quickly as an example of hustling; his diary entries are insightful as he is faced with common issues we may be faced with as we try to hustle.

 

Chapter 4:  What Does Hustle Require?

  • Adjusted mindset.
  • Facing your fears.

 

Chapter 5:  Hustler’s Diary – Day 2

Author chronicles his progress on writing the book quickly as an example of hustling; his diary entries are insightful as he is faced with common issues we may be faced with as we try to hustle.

 

Chapter 6:  Hustler’s Habits and Tricks

  • Discusses taking the leap from mindset to action.
  • Question everything.
  • Gather inspiration.
  • Focus and productivity tips.
  • Manage your physical energy (this is something I addressed in my own book, Optimize Your Productivity).

 

Chapter 7:  Hustler’s Diary – Day 3

Author chronicles his progress on writing the book quickly as an example of hustling; his diary entries are insightful as he is faced with common issues we may be faced with as we try to hustle.

 

Chapter 8:  Hustler’s Traits

  • Idiosyncrasies of hustlers.
  • Emphasizes focus on a goal and disregard for forced convention.
  • Ignore Doubters
  • Think Different.

 

Chapter 9:  The Lifestyle of a Hustler

  • Getting things done.
  • “Ship Product.”
  • Expect detours but keep on hustling!

 

Chapter 10:  Thirty-six Hours of Pure Focus

  • Rules can be rewritten.
  • Not overwhelming.
  • “Working faster = more focus, passion and output.”

 

Chapter 11:  Hustler’s Diary – Day 4

Author chronicles his progress on writing the book quickly as an example of hustling; his diary entries are insightful as he is faced with common issues we may be faced with as we try to hustle.

 

Chapter 12:  From Concept to Launch in Seven Days

  • How the author planned the book.
  • Authors discusses how he organized himself, tracked process, and pursued the publishing process.

 

Chapter 13:  Hustler’s Diary – Day 5

Author chronicles his progress on writing the book quickly as an example of hustling; his diary entries are insightful as he is faced with common issues we may be faced with as we try to hustle.

 

Chapter 14:  So You Want to Be a Hustler?

  • Discusses steps you can take.
  • “Live your life as a hustler.”

 

Chapter 15:  Who Are the Hustlers?

  • More examples and wrap-up.

 

Closing Comments: Overall, a good book to get the idea of moving forward ingrained in your mind. This does not mean rushing through projects without creating things of high-quality. The focus is more on the idea of moving forward at all, since many people will stay settled in their ways and they struggle to make progress.

 

Want to get this book for free? You can get two free books when you start a free trial with Audible.

Slideshare Presentation: Achieve the Life and Career You Want in 5 Steps

If you haven’t explored Slideshare, it’s a neat site (now owned by Linkedin) that offers many free presentations on various topics. I created a presentation on how to “Achieve the Life and Career You Want in 5 Steps” based on a webinar I presented in 2015.  Anyone can view it, so feel free to click the image below to check out the slides!

The Power of “Not Yet”

Recently my two-year-old son started to learn the alphabet. Part of his learning process has been due to his playing — he loves to play with two toys in particular that help children learn their letters (one toy from each grandmother, respectively!). He has been playing with the apple the past few days, the one featured in the picture. With this particular toy, he is not only learning his letters but also the associated phonics. It’s a lot of fun to watch and listen to him; the letter “y” seems to be his favorite (we have been hearing “YAH!” a lot more lately 🙂 ).

 

Watching Gabriel learn reminds me of what Carol Dweck, Ph.D. says in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. I finally listened to the audio version of her book through a service I use (Scribd.com); in all seriousness, this was one of the most important books I have ever read. It has fundamentally changed the way I view my life and how I function in the world.

 

Pretty strong statement, right? Allow me explain.

 

In her book, Dr. Dweck explains the differences between the “growth mindset” and the “fixed mindset” (previous posts that explain these concepts are here: Your Mindset is Important and Mindset and the Art of Learning.) Very quickly, a “fixed mindset” means that we believe we have a finite amount of intelligence or ability (and wind up defending or proving that in our endeavors), whereas “growth minded” individuals go through life thinking that they can always improve and learn more. Essentially, growth minded individuals focus on the process of learning and essentially don’t pressure themselves into thinking they only have so much ability or intelligence — that ability and intelligence are not necessarily innate.

 

In her book, Carol Dweck explains how we do not expect a child to know how to speak or read yet; however, we do expect a lot of ourselves as adults in terms of what we think we should know. Interesting, right?

 

I know that I have berated myself over the years if I had difficulty mastering a subject immediately (ie tough subjects like organic chemistry!). I would condemn myself and get so angry (at myself) that it did not come to me as easily as it did for others in my classes.  I had this fear that I must not really be that smart if the Pre-Med students seemed to so easily consume the material.

 

For a number of years,  I was always working to improve myself, or master a new skill, but there were times I feared I wasn’t really that smart during the learning process, as if I had a limited amount of intelligence and that I had to “prove” that I had intelligence. I have always worked very hard, and I wondered if working hard meant I wasn’t smart if I didn’t know or understand a concept immediately.

 

Perhaps I had a bit of “fake growth mindset” for some time, which Carol Dweck speaks of in this outstanding video). With “fake growth mindset,” I believed that others could learn and improve (hence the coaching and mentoring I did through my various job roles), yet I did not apply that belief consistently to myself. As discussed in the video, many people are a mix of “growth mindset” and “fixed mindset;” sometimes we operate where we believe we can improve, whereas in other areas we think we either “have it” or we don’t.

 

So why am I bringing all this up? Because I know so many of us (including me for most of my life) operate predominantly with the fixed mindset. I believe I actually impaired my learning because I spent so much energy and time being upset that I didn’t know something the way I thought I should. What is so interesting about Carol Dweck’s book (and the video link above), however, is that her words are quite freeing. She explains that we should think “I have not learned or mastered this yet.”

 

It may sound overly simple, but such words are quite profound. I know that those words have changed the way I look at everything. For instance, I’m fairly new to blogging seriously, building up an author platform, online business, etc., and yet I’m trying those things. In fact, I signed up and am currently taking Jeff Goins’ Intentional Blog course, because I really felt I needed to learn and improve. Instead of looking at other people’s blogs and thinking “oh I’m a terrible writer and blogger…look at what they can do” I took a different approach. I thought “I’m new to this and I can learn. If they can do it, so can I. I just haven’t mastered it yet.”

 

There is also the caveat that sometimes we don’t necessarily have to or want to be the best, but maybe good enough is enough. That’s an incredibly hard viewpoint for a perfectionist. I was able to grow out of my perfectionism as I improved my prioritization skills; it came down to deciding how I want to spend my time, particularly only spending time on things that matter the most to me and things that I want to get better at.

 

Change is not easy, however. Though my “growth mindset” has been increasing the past few years, I am definitely not where I’d like to be as far as how I regard my progress and learning. But, I am trying to embed the words “Not yet” in my brain so that I can immediately acknowledge and address those self-deprecating thoughts when they pop-up!

 

And the last issue to address is dealing and managing with other peoples’ expectations (that can be a whole book, actually!) The past year has been very enlightening for me. I have had to cope with significant amounts of criticism for the new things I have been trying and learning, particularly when my book came out earlier this year. People felt that since I did not have an English degree, I wasn’t suited to writing/publishing. Or they wondered why I was spending my time that way instead of only working on chemical engineering.  But, I wanted to start somewhere and see what the public thought, the true test (which so far, the reception by people I don’t know has been fantastic actually! I have found the self-publishing and entrepreneurship circles to be extremely supportive and welcoming; I was even invited to several private facebook groups).

 

Maybe one day I will address managing others’ expectations more deeply than I did in my book or here. The bottom line, though, is that it is a red flag when someone has an expectation about your abilities. If someone thinks you can’t do something, it’s because they have a fixed mindset in general. They don’t feel you can improve or get ahead or they are fixed on the idea that you need a degree. But as I’ve been studying success a lot more the past few months, I have noticed that some of the most successful people are college dropouts! Look at Elizabeth Holmes, the number one self-made female billionaire; she dropped out of Stanford University or Chandler Bolt, a 21-year-old college dropout who started a self-publishing school and is on his way to 7 figures this year. It goes to show you that dedication and hard work, while having a growth mindset at your core, are really critical traits. They figured out what they needed to learn to get ahead.

 

If you are very hard on yourself, or if you did not realize that your potential really is limitless, that it’s just a matter of “not yet,” then I highly encourage you to check out the following links. If you don’t have time to read the book, try checking out some of these videos where Mindset was at the center of them:

 

Video: Carol Dweck on Inside Quest

Video/podcast: Tom Bilyeu with Lewis Howes on the School of Greatness Podcast

Book: Mindset: The New Pyschology of Success

 

I wish you all the best, and I sincerely thank Dr. Dweck for her life-changing work!  🙂

Reframing and Perspective

When we feel overwhelmed or stressed, it is sometimes best to reframe the situation in our minds. We can also refer to that in terms of changing our perspective. For instance, if we were to take an aerial view, as if we were suddenly looking down at an issue from an airplane at 30,000 feet, we would feel less stressed because we would physically be in a position where we could not do too much about the issue; we essentially removed ourselves. This teaches us that managing situations can be helped by our mindsets. In Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams, I discuss this concept in terms of identifying the System vs the Surroundings, as we typically do in engineering. You can basically draw a box around yourself — the system — and recognize that everything outside of the box is not necessarily within your control; all you can do is decide how you can be your best self. Identifying what is in your surroundings is sometimes a great stress reliever — you instantly realize you are not responsible for someone else’s actions but can only be responsible for yourself.

Earlier this week we started to think about mindset, especially in terms of the benefits of having a “growth mindset” (Your Mindset is Important). Connecting the concept of a growth mindset with the aforementioned reframing technique can be very powerful for us. Each has its own benefits, but the combination of having a base mindset of growth – that you can develop yourself for success – in addition to using the techniques of reframing situations in your mind when challenges arise – optimizes your chances for success!

Your Mindset is Important

Welcome to the first official post for OptimizeBooks.com! Each blog post will focus on a particular area of achievement. Today’s focus is the importance of your mindset.

The word “mindset” has been bandied about a lot recently, but many people do not realize the short and long-term impacts of one’s mindset in life. Perhaps one of the best experts on the topic is Carol Dweck, Ph.D., the Lewis and Virginia Eaton Professor of Psychology at Stanford University. Her research has focused on things like why people succeed and how to foster success — ideas that she described in her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Dr. Dweck’s website, mindsetonline.com, offers the highlights of what she has studied; it explains the importance of one’s mindset. In particular, Dr. Dweck explains that there is a difference between “fixed” and “growth” mindsets. A fixed mindset essentially means that you believe that everything is a given — that success is dependent on traits and qualities you either have or don’t have. On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe they can develop and mold their abilities and talents, especially through effort and dedication [What is Mindset].

Though there is not necessarily a “right” or “wrong” type of mindset, we can leverage Dweck’s research for our own benefit. For instance, instead of having a fixed mindset, where we may try to prove ourselves over and over (because we think we have a finite amount of certain success traits), it might be more prudent to spend that energy and time on developing ourselves in a particular area, especially to work on our goals. Logically, we can optimize and maximize our chances for success if we focus our energy on personal development.

In Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams, the ideas of optimizing yourself – particularly spending energy and time on what you can do, on how to achieve your goals, is a major premise of the book; in fact, it depends on your mindset. Given Dweck’s research, we can then realize how critical it is to develop a growth mindset and maintain the spirit of “optimizing” ourselves!