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.

Morning Journal vs the Tracking System?

In last week’s post, I talked about the approach I’ve added to my morning routine, particularly the process of filling out a morning journal. A section of that journal is focused on writing out your most important objective (i.e. goal, project, or desire) to improve your focus on your goal. I explained why in last week’s post.

 

I want to address this point because I discuss the ideals of goals vs. systems in my book, Optimize for Victory. While I think it’s important to set goals, I caution people to ensure they do not get overly focused on their goals without having a consistent system or process in place to achieve them. In many cases, we can get overwhelmed by the idea that something is missing in our lives, hence the goal; in fact, we can get so focused on the lack of it, that the stress related to achieving that goal can backfire on us. We may end up putting it off or not achieving it at all.

 

Therefore, I recommend a hybrid approach in my book. I do not think adding the morning journal opposes that. If anything, I think it complements the Tracking System I talk about in my book, a system for getting things done. Crystallizing your focus on what’s important through the morning can help you gain clarity while you continue to work with your robust system to achieve your projects and dreams.

 

Additional Resources:

 

Don’t forget to get cash back when you shop through Ebates this holiday season!
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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!

Happy Thanksgiving! (2017)

I just want to take a moment to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! I am grateful to you, my readers and course participants. Also, I know that this can be a frenzied week and time of year. Thanksgiving is intended to be a time of counting our blessings and grounding ourselves in our gratitude, however it can be hectic preparing for the meal and celebration (and also a little crazy with Black Friday the next day!).

 

If I start to feel stressed during weeks like this one, I just remind myself to “draw the box.” I think of the comments and issues from others as being outside my box, and I remind myself of the idea: what can I do in this moment. What can I control?

 

Just taking a breath and thinking about the box produces a subtle but powerful shift; by shifting my attention off of my anxiety and stress, I can transition to a healthier mental and emotional state.

 

If you are feeling stressed this week, try to draw the box (more info in Optimize for Victory). I hope that helps bring you some peace.

 

Again, have a very Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the time with loved ones.

 

Sincerely,

Lisa

 

Additional Resources:

 

Books:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Course: Design Your Success Academy

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

optimize-your-productivity-the-counterintuitive-approach-to-get-more-done-in-less time-today-kindle-book

As you may know, I just released my newest book, Optimize Your Productivity: The Counterintuitive Approach to Get More Done in Less Time (Today). Productivity appears to be a hot topic these days. But what exactly is productivity, and why would productivity improvement benefit us?

I view productivity as “personally accomplishing required (or desired) tasks; or ensuring that identified tasks get accomplished, even if not done personally – in the least amount of time possible.” I offer a more detailed explanation of productivity inside the book, but as a start, we can view productivity as a process to get more done (however it gets done – legally and ethically, of course) in less time. Therefore, the idea is not simply to get more done, but to increase the rate, or efficiency, that we can get things done; this will give us more time to add in the things we want in our lives – time with family or friends, availability to pursue hobbies, leisure time, or increased capacity to pursue more work, if desired, for financial or preferential reasons.

The next question is: how exactly can we increase the rate or efficiency that we can get things done? The unique aspect of my new book is that it takes a different approach by using simple engineering principles as a logical framework for self-improvement. Essentially we can make analogies between chemical/mechanical efficiency and human efficiency; we can apply the engineering principles we would use to improve a system in the field, such as in a manufacturing plant, to humans instead. Therefore, we can focus on you as a system to engineer – to optimize. By identifying you as the system to optimize, we take a first step in refining your productivity, just as we would do the same by identifying a specific unit or system in the engineering field. (You may be familiar with my previous work, Optimize for Victory, where I introduced the concept of applying engineering principles to life.)

While it initially may sound mechanical to use engineering principles as applied to humans, the key aspect of Optimize Your Productivity is that your specific person is considered. As we learn to optimize your productivity approach, your specific preferences, traits, and who you are – all important facts and attributes of the system we are optimizing – will be accounted for in the process. Therefore, we can have the best of both worlds – a reliable system to improve your productivity, without sacrificing or “shocking” your system, since drastic changes are often unsustainable in self-improvement. It’s unrealistic for me to tell you, “Live your life exactly this way and you’ll be more productive,” but it is absolutely realistic for me to give you a framework that you can work with, and implement and customize quickly.

Considering your person – your attributes – and working with your individuality is exactly what makes this book’s approach to productivity counterintuitive, instead of commanding you to follow a specific sequence to get things done.

(Note that the book includes supplemental worksheets to help you factor in your personal attributes during the process).

 

How The Book is Structured

While many books often take the approach of offering many anecdotes to illustrate a point, I take a more streamlined approach in this book. The assumption is that you’re looking to become more productive and efficient – and most likely need the time for other things in your life. Therefore, while I include references and anecdotes, this book is predominantly set up so that it’s easy for you to read and implement. On that note, if you are seeking to overcome a pressing time management issue this very moment, I would suggest checking out the “Quickstart Guide” in the Appendix A: Quickstart Guide. If you can afford to wait a little longer, however, it might be best to read this book in its entirety.

Chapter 1 lays out the foundation of productivity optimization. The causal factors that impact productivity, and the corresponding action steps you can take, are then discussed in Chapters 2 through 8. Chapter 9 focuses on advanced productivity techniques, using the foundation that was set in Chapters 1 through 8. The book is structured as follows:

  1. Where to Start
  2. Driving Factor
  3. Energy
  4. Neuroscience Considerations
  5. Anticipatory Thinking
  6. Time and Efficiency Management
  7. Goal Setting
  8. Prioritization
  9. Advanced Productivity Techniques
  10. Productivity, Optimized
  11. Appendix A: Quickstart Guide
  12. Appendix B: App Guide
  13. Appendix C: List of Additional Resources

There is a brief App guide in the Appendix. It’s important to note that the focus of the book is not “hack” or “app” based, however; we delve into the deeper issues and perform root-cause analysis. Once you understand the fundamentals of productivity, and factor in your personal attributes, you can design a system that works for you. Only then can you incorporate any apps that complement your system as you see fit. While I appreciate technology, I also value the importance of understanding fundamentals first, before trying to put a “band-aid” on top of an issue.

 

To learn more about how you can optimize your productivity, and to download a free Kindle version of the book (through April 23, 2016), please visit: http://amzn.to/1Qunbca.

 

The Power of Taking a Baby Step

Many of us struggle with overwhelm,  especially when we are trying to accomplish a major project or goal in our lives. Often we’ll tell ourselves, “I’ll start it tomorrow when I’ll have more time and energy” or we’ll leave it for the next week. Interestingly, we are not simply avoiding our work; we are saying these things with good intentions. Given the nature of our time and state these days, that we’re almost always running out of time or energy, we dream of those moments of having total clarity and a sense of well-being to get things done (especially the hardest tasks). We suspect that we’ll get them done faster when we feel better and have more energy. While that’s probably true, the “I’ll have more time later” rationale is a vicious cycle; we can end up constantly putting things off and not making progress on the goals or dreams that we would like to realize — because those moments of “more time and energy” rarely appear.

 

(As a side note — I do discuss some nuances of how to optimize your time and energy to get things done faster in my upcoming book Optimize Your Productivity, but it’s a step beyond this article, where we’ll focus on a specific system to get more done* in twenty-four hours. Stay tuned because you will have a chance to download the kindle version for free in April if you follow my blog/subscribe).

 

So what is one to do? Often people will give advice and say “Take baby steps.” But then the question becomes, “What does that mean? What exactly is that first baby step?”

 

Here is a breakdown of how you can approach that first step and why it works:

 

  1. Break the task down into the absolute smallest steps possible (if you don’t already have a plan).

 

Write an outline, do a mind map, or write anything that comes to mind as a possible step (even if it’s the last step of the process). The idea is that you just want to get the ideas and concepts flowing. Later, you can edit the order.  

 

If you absolutely don’t know where to begin, start with what you know. If you are trying to write a blog post, write out titles of other posts you did already. If you’re trying to get a research paper done, start googling ideas or looking up research articles on the topic. Find anything that is related to your topic, just to get going.

 

If you’re staring at a blank paper or cursor, do something completely different and open up google docs. Recently google docs added a “speak to type” feature. Just start talking about whatever is on your mind and gravitate toward the project you’re working on. Suddenly you’ll find that you start coming out with golden nuggets of information that can help you assemble the skeleton of your project.

 

In fact, this tool helped me get this post started. My time is extremely limited right now with everything going on, so I decided to start speaking the post out. Before I knew it, I was editing what I spoke initially and then typing/building out the rest of the post! Note that I did start with an outline.

 

By taking a small action, you “open the door” for the ideas to start flowing in. Be confident in the process and take that small action.

 

  1. Edit and re-order your structure of the project. This is an evergreen process because as you assimilate new information of your project, the structure and order can change. If you’re starting from scratch and you just mind-mapped a bunch of ideas for the topic, now try to convert everything into an organized outline.

 

One note of caution is not to have “project creep.”  My old friends from industry will smile when they read this part; project creep — where we get away from the originally defined scope of the project — is a common problem and something we have to be vigilant about. This post does not cover project management in-depth, but it is simply intended to help you take action steps to start feeling better and more comfortable about moving forward. The assumption for this article is that you know exactly what the project is and will stick to the original scope of it!

 

  1. Make a micro-commitment to spend at least five or ten minutes on the next task that you have to do for that project. While it may seem like too small of a commitment, you’ll find that once you start, it will be easy to spend another few minutes on it. And if not, five or ten minutes on something is better than nothing.

 

Some time is better than no time on something, especially because time spent on the project, no matter how small, will kickstart the momentum of it.

 

To boost your gain on implementing this step, create a log in google, Excel or simply on paper. Make sure you log how much time you spend on the project every day, even if you only keep to the original few minutes.

 

This is more powerful than you realize!  I discussed this concept a lot more in-depth, especially how it was the key to completing my Ph.D. research and dissertation (especially as an exhausted, bleary-eyed new mom), in Optimize for Victory. In fact, there are lots of studies on this topic. I read a great book last year called Mini Habits that explored this technique in-depth; it distilled a lot of the research for the public and even applied it to exercise/weight-loss.

 

Hopefully this framework will help you, especially if you’re struggling with tackling a big goal or dream. There is much more we can explore with this topic, but this is a good starting point! Feel free to share and comment below!

*”get more done” can mean an individual personally accomplishing the required tasks, or it can mean ensuring the required tasks get accomplished, even if not done personally  — or a combination of both.

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To learn more about Lisa and access free resources, visit:

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Lisa Kardos, Ph.D. blogs about how we can optimize our lives for the better! (achieve happiness, success, and what we hold in our hearts!) She enjoys helping people overcome challenges to achieve their dreams.

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Lisa Kardos, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Kardos has experience in chemical engineering, management, higher education, public speaking, and career development. She is the Founder of the Lisa Kardos School of Excellence and the Amazon Bestselling Author of Optimize for Victory: A Simple Approach to Overcome Challenges and Achieve Your Dreams.

 

“Multiply Your Time”

Originally I had planned to present a different blog post today. When that did not work out for various reasons, I almost abandoned the idea of presenting a blog entry this week…but I didn’t want to be a hypocrite (I talk about “optimizing” everything all the time, right?)! 🙂  Therefore, I decided to make the best of it; I will simply share a piece of content with you that I think many of you will like and find useful.

 

Darren Hardy had tweeted a link to this video recently by Rory Vaden. It’s a TEDx talk entitled “How to Multiply Your Time.” Even if you only have a few minutes here and there to watch the video, it’s worth it. Rory Vaden presents interesting ideas, such as asking, “What can I do today that would make tomorrow better?” And analyzing not just efficiency and priority when juggling time (but also significance) is a poignant and simple gamechanger we can consider incorporating into our lives.

 

Enjoy!

Correcting Bad Habits

For Mother’s Day, my husband got me two very practical gifts (gifts I wanted!) — an ergonomic keyboard and mouse. Unfortunately, after typing up my dissertation, and while writing Optimize for Victory (all in the past year), I developed carpal tunnel syndrome. It can be extremely painful and difficult to manage at times. The nerves are so sensitive in my right arm/hand that it hurts to touch anything with texture! This has been especially difficult to manage with also trying to handle my one-and-a-half year old. Therefore, my husband researched keyboards and decided to get me the one in the attached picture. It’s taking me some time to get used to it, particularly because I have been typing incorrectly, apparently, for 18 years!

 

We did formally learn typing in our computer class back in elementary and middle school; however, I would say that I truly could not type quickly until my family got a home computer when I was 14. It arrived at the perfect time, especially since I started high school still typing my papers on a typewriter! Once we got the computer, we signed up with AOL. As I discovered the new world of AOL instant messaging, I had to learn how to type quickly, especially because I could not keep up with all of the instant message conversations with my friends!

 

Now that I am using my brand new keyboard, my typing speed has significantly decreased, mainly because my left hand wants to cross over to the right side at times, especially to hit the “y” key. To be honest, I was shocked to discover I have been typing incorrectly for so long. I’m sure I will eventually get used to this keyboard, but it will be extra challenging because I essentially have to correct a “bad habit.” But I’m positive that correcting this habit will probably incrementally help me become a better and faster typist; I was probably inhibiting my typing speed and straining my hands without realizing it!

 

As we talked about the other day in Why Everyone Should See the Lego Movie, sometimes it’s a good thing to have a “blank slate” — not to have any preconceived notions or bad habits.

 

Often it’s harder to unlearn something that’s ingrained in you than to learn it the right way in the first place.

 

Similar to the typing situation I am writing about here, I went through this when I restarted violin lessons as an adult; I had no idea I had been doing some things improperly while playing the violin as a child.

 

Why is this important to you? Because many of you study personal development — you want to be successful and victorious. Sometimes you discover that certain habits or thought processes that are ingrained in you may be inhibiting you. This is certainly not a judgement, as I am constantly working on various thought processes that take away from my chances for success. One example is when I used to belabor being upset about a failed friendship or relationship (discussed in my book Optimize for Victory). In general, I am constantly thinking about how to “optimize” myself — how to improve by employing an engineering mindset.

 

So it’s important to keep in mind that many of us have little habits that can slow us down or inhibit us– but if we can acknowledge them and make a plan to overcome them, then we can work towards optimizing ourselves.

Why Everyone Should See The Lego Movie

Recently, The Lego Movie has become a new favorite of mine. The article below will help you see why. Additionally, what I find very interesting is the idea of the mind being a “blank slate.” Without spoiling the movie, there is a message that comes forth from the character, Emmet, who has a “blank slate” mindset. Instead of having to unlearn negative/fixed mindsets (see blog post http://www.optimizebooks.com/mindset/reframing-and-perspective/), he has such an open mind and is able to use that to his advantage.

It’s an interesting idea — because I’ve noticed that many of us are trying to unlearn a lot so that we may increase our chances for success!

That’s my two cents…check out the article AND the movie!

By the time The Lego Movie ended, I not only wanted to see it again to examine any subtle nuances I missed, but I was also grappling with several central questions of human existence — mainly, how I, one human being in this world of millions, can contribute something important.

Source: Why Everyone Should See The Lego Movie

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!