Develop your MindWelcome to Day 2
Your favourite restaurant has closed down; the president you voted for wasn’t elected; the exchange rate took an unfavorable turn right when you were about to travel. Well, what can you do, right? Change is happening constantly all around you, affecting the realm of you logical and strategic reality. Since these are situations out of your control, for you to be able to take on change, you must adapt and transform. That’s the only way you can get in control of your life.
Transformation happens within us as a result of growing and developing our mindset to understand human consciousness on a deeper level. It happens below the surface, when we align our core values to our beliefs and solely behave according to them.
To enable our transformation process, we must understand our own set of beliefs, and make a decision to keep or break free from them and adopt new ones that will design our values and shape our life and relationships.
The process of developing your brain to incorporate new consciousness involves not only the alignment of your core values to your desired behaviour, but also the expansion of your capacity to learn new skills and unfold new healthy relationships. Here are a few valuable tips to incorporate in your routine to fuel your life fire.
Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset
Mindset is a group of assumptions, methods, beliefs, and behaviours that lead the vision we have of ourselves and others. It influences the way we approach and react to setbacks and success in our daily interactions. That’s why we should work on improving our mindset to mirror our desired behaviour.
We usually approach life with a fixed mindset, seeing challenges as something to avoid, seeking people with “natural” talents, and blaming others for any unfortunate outcome. That’s where the majority of the population is stuck at. The challenge with having a fixed mindset lies on the preconceptions and responses it generates.
The biggest one being the belief that intelligence is a fixed trait. People with a fixed mindset tend to spend their time choosing tasks that will affirm their intelligence, instead of further developing it. There is an intrinsic fear of failure that guides their life — it’s a choice of picking the battles they are sure to win. Any setback will crush their confidence as fixed mindset person believes success comes from natural talent, a miracle gene that you gives you a unique trait that sets you apart from everybody else. Well, they’re wrong.
A popular belief is that creative geniuses like Thomas Edison, Charles Darwin, or Einstein were born with exceptional intelligence that led them to achieve greatness. They were simple ordinary bright children who became passionate about a particular subject and this passion fed their capacity to develop this skills.
Dedication. Obsession. Devotion. Call it what you will, but what separate the great from the average person is practice and practice and practice. That alone debunks the idea that life-changing results come effortlessly due to natural talent.
What is it then? Why some children seem extraordinary in comparison? It is the result of a growth mindset, stimulated from an early age. They are firm believers that practice makes perfect and they found a inner strength to fuel their obsession. At an early age, this mindset is a result of our surroundings: parents, teachers, coaches, and close peers.
Parents who surround their kids with empowering stimuli to entice abilities and fuel their passion, praising their effort, and not condemning them for their failures are building an optimum environment for the adoption of a growth mindset from an early age.
A growth mindset person believes that achievements are the result of making an effort; that talent is an hard-earned conquest; and that any failure along the way is not only normal, because it is the harder path, but also an opportunity to grow.
Developing a growth mindset in your adulthood is no different. You should praise both effort and hard work, and encourage curiosity while reinforcing new experiences. Don’t be fazed by setbacks. Just make sure you take in new skills and develop new abilities from any unexpected outcome, and always look for the silver linings.
The mindset concept was developed by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck.
Now, how do you maintain a desired behaviour? Psychology has shown us that supporting a behaviour change involves helping to create the optimum environment, circumstances, information, and the logistical and psychological assistance that make it possible for people to take action to change their behaviour. That simply means that if you surround yourself with positive energy, and a system that supports your new way of thinking, you will not feel the need to fall back to old habits.
But the change doesn’t only happen in your surroundings. A change in behaviour, environment, neural processes, thinking, and emotions can also change the neural pathways and synapses. This phenomena is called Brain Plasticity, also known as neuroplasticity.
It’s a phenomenon known to happen when in our infancy and in case of brain injury, when the brain reorganises to compensate for damages or optimise the remaining functions. However, it also occurs throughout adulthood — when we learn and memorise a new skill. What does it take? Practice.
A change in the brain with learning takes place at the level of the connections between neurons. When we activate the learning process, new connections can form and the internal structure of the existing synapses can change to reflect the new skill acquired.
A study with London cab drivers found out they have a larger hippocampus than London bus drivers. The hippocampal region in the brain is responsible for the ability of processing complex spatial information, which allows us to navigate efficiently. Why has that happen only with cab drivers though? Because while they have to discover their way through London streets, London bus drivers follow pre-designated routes.
In an evolutionary sense, our bodies associate the exertion with moving from an existing territory, which had perhaps become depleted of food or too dangerous, to a new, unexplored territory whose details must be learned. In anticipation, the brain releases new cells and growth factors, which create a more plastic state and make possible new neural connections.
— Our Amazingly Plastic Brains, The Wall Street Journal.
Hands-On Learning Experience
Kolb’s Experiential Learning Model, created in 1984 by the American educational theorist David Kolb, is based on the theory that the development of new concepts is provided by new experiences. It consists of four stage cycles of learning and four different learning styles. Much of Kolb’s theory was designed by analysing the learner’s internal cognitive processes. According to Kolb, knowledge is continuously gained through personal and environmental experiences.
Learning is the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience — David Kolb
Four Learning Cycles
Different people have a tendency to choose different learning styles. Their choice is influenced by a plethora of factors such as social environment, educational experiences, or even the basic cognitive structure of each individual.
Regardless of what influences your choices, the learning style preference itself is the result of two variable — two separate choices we make: Processing Continuum (how we approach a task), and the Perception Continuum (how we think or feel about it — our emotional response).
What that states is simple: we cannot think and feel at the same time and our learning style is a product of these two choice decisions
Yoga for the Soul
Yoga has been around for over 5,000 years. It’s one of the most complete mind-body workouts out there because it combines muscle strengthening, balance work, breathing techniques and relaxation. You will never get bored of it either! There are more than 100 different forms of yoga — some being really intense, meant to burn calories and tone muscles while other being soothing and relaxing.
Not only is a excellent workout, practicing yoga provides guidance on how to master mind over matter, allowing a way to control your emotions and offer spiritual growth.
This is the most widespread form of yoga. It focuses on the physical health and mental wellbeing. Initially developed as a means for meditation, hatha yoga combines bodily postures and breathing techniques to promote balance and flexibility. With almost 200 hatha yoga postures and hundreds variations, the exercises stimulate circulation in all organs, glands, and tissues.
A famous scientifically-validated study in the 90’s, Dr. Ornish’s Program for Reversing Heart Disease, showed that the combination of yoga, meditation and a low-fat diet alongside group support could effectively reduce the blockage of coronary arteries. Other researches have concluded that yoga plays a big part in reducing stress-related problems, such as cholesterol and high blood pressure, and also help with anxiety.
As with any other ability, the benefits of Yoga only get better with time. Try to keep your yoga practice as a daily routine — those who practice yoga correctly every day report feeling high levels of energy and improved health. As for your mind, the discipline promotes clarification that can permeate all facets of your life — from your attitude, to increased self-esteem and self-awareness.
Once you learn the basic yoga poses, you can focus on using the practice for what you desire to accomplish such as boosting your memory, bettering your posture, and relieving stress.
Travel the World
Do you see traveling as a luxury? As a pastime activity you plan for your once-a-year vacation? Let’s change this mentality. Travelling has way more benefits for the body and soul that it may initially seem.
New places. New faces. New experiences. The novelty of uncovering a whole new world of possibilities is incredibly rewarding for your mind too. When you travel, you are faced with unfamiliar situations and unexpected stimuli all of the time — and how you perceive and react to the changes and setbacks along the way determine how you evolve spiritually.
Travelling teaches mindfulness
Let’s be honest: the best travel stories are the ones where something didn’t go quite as expected. They are always the funniest and the ones that teach you the most.
When you travel fully present and focused on the now, you are able to explore the beauty of everything you get in contact with — and learn from it.
Now, if you’re looking to wake up, massage can also give you hand. The same study suggests that a simple 15-minute chair massage raises alertness, giving you a feeling of euphoria similar to a runner’s high. That is because the brainwave activity stimulated by massage is linked to improving attention.
In Argentina, they have the habit of having dinner extreeeeemely late (around 10pm or 11pm) and, in many cities, a lot of establishments close during a couple of hours in the afternoon because they takesiestas (quick naps to recharge). It’s something that can make or break your trip.
In Bali, the locals are very attached to their families and their religion. Everything works around the temple ceremonies and festivities around some special dates. You might find closed streets during certain hours.
In France, it may be hard to find entertainment on a Sunday, when pretty much no establishments are open and you will only see locals walking the pets on the empty streets.
In Brazil, the traffic in the big cities can take a toll on you if you don’t plan accordingly. Specially if you want to be on time for your commitments.
In London, their extremely reliable London underground — best means of transportation in town, hands down — may occasionally change routes, not run certain lines because of maintenance work.
Your reaction to these unfamiliar situations are essential to your awakening. When you’re on the road, every twist and turn of the day is a new journey for you to embrace. When you adapt to situations and a new culture, you grow spiritually and expand your capacity. Take advantage of this opportunity and transcend.
Now, what’s the key to a life with less anxiety? Being Authentic! But what is authenticity after all? It’s letting your gut feeling take control. Do only what you makes you feel good, because that has a deeper root to your values and beliefs.
Feel your way through life by gaining clarity around your intuition. Are you feeling good? Make sure to take care of your energy levels. Meditate to access your subconscious. Take care of your mind and body with a balanced diet and exercise. And, most importantly, don’t be scared to seek solitude to understand your true self.