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The law of environment (DW#392)

Maxwell reminds us that growth thrives in conducive surroundings. 

In nature, spring is the time for growth when conditions are right with warmer temperatures, longer days and more sunlight. On the other hand, when environmental conditions are not ideal, growth is stunted or delayed. 

Similarly, for human beings to reach their full potential, we can flourish in the right environment. You and I experience personal growth when we surround ourselves with people and opportunities conducive to our development.

So what are some indications of an environment conducive to growth? 

A place where we are continually challenged: A good growth environment puts pressure on us to improve. If our daily work is too easy or comfortable, then we shortchange ourselves and stunt our development. It’s okay and even healthy for us to be in over our heads from time to time. It forces us to swim against the current so to speak and we grow stronger as a result. 

A place...

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The Laws of Growth (DW#391)

In The 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, John Maxwell writes that the way to reach our full potential and live a life of purpose is to choose a path of intentional growth. In explaining the "Laws of Growth" he suggests that personal development and growth follow set principles and laws that can be discovered and applied for sustained personal growth. 

This week, let us explore 5 of the 15 laws that Maxwell teaches us. 

The law of consistency: How many times have we heard or read something inspirational, tried it for a few days and then forgot all about it? According to Maxwell, the key to turning these lessons and motivations into permanent change is his fifth law of growth, the law of consistency. Maxwell says that the key to this law is that motivation gets you going, but discipline, keeps you growing. Discipline turns motivation and inspiration into habits and our habits determine our growth.

I love the way Steven Pressfield puts it in his...

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Can you grow comfortably? (DW#390)

When we are talking about making changes, we need to confront the reality that it will be uncomfortable. Our habits and routines may feel familiar and comfortable even if they do not work for usor lead us where we want to go. If we want to make positive changes in our lives however, we need to let go of the familiar and get comfortable with not being comfortable for the moment. 

When I want to retreat towards safety rather than moving forward towards growth, I remind myself that ships are safe in harbour but that is not what ships are built for

So let us leave our safe harbours and venture out to the scary but exciting open sea. Let us be brave enough to bear the discomfort of stretching ourselves to discover the limits of our own potential. 

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What’s your excuse? (DW#389)

Can you think of at least one area in your life where there is room for growth and where you know you need to make changes but you haven’t made any progress yet?

In The 15 invaluable Laws of Growth John Maxwell outlines some gaps and limiting beliefs that keep us stuck in unhealthy ways and stop us from reaching our full potential.

Here are the 7 "gaps" that he identifies:

The Assumption Gap—I assume that I will automatically grow. 
The Knowledge Gap—I don’t know how to grow.
The Timing Gap—It’s not the right time to begin.
The Mistake Gap—I’m afraid of making mistakes. 
The Perfection Gap—I have to find the best way before I start. 
The Inspiration Gap—I don’t feel like doing it.
The Comparison Gap—Others are better than I am.
The Expectation Gap—I thought it would be easier than this. 

You know the domains and growth areas that we identified a couple of days ago? Just go...

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Where does family fit in? (DW#388)

After yesterday’s DW went out, some of you asked the question: which domain of life do family relationships fit in? (The domains we mentioned were mental, physical, emotional, social and spiritual relating to our minds, bodies, hearts and souls).

Strictly speaking, family relationships belong in the emotional domain of our life along with our other close relationships. This means that if any of our major relationships are conflicted, we will likely give ourselves a low score in that domain, implying that there is much room for growth in this area.

Family relationships however, are in a somewhat special category because our satisfaction with (or lack of satisfaction with) family life impacts all the other domains: there is loads of research on how a happy or unhappy marriage for example, impacts physical and mental health. So if our close relationships are causing us distress, that is likely to show up as a low score on our mental wellbeing and physical health due to stress.

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Where do you need to grow? (DW#387)

As we said, we need self-awareness to begin the process of growth and self development. 

But here’s the thing: we don’t know what we don’t know. How then do we recognize a growth edge or opportunity in our lives? How do we shift it from the unconscious zone in our minds and bring it into conscious awareness?

Here is one idea: break down your life into domains: mental, physical, social, emotional and spiritual. Give yourself a score from 1 – 10 in each domain to assess how well you are doing or how satisfied you are in this domain of your life. 

Hint: when giving yourself a score, consider not only yourself but your loved ones as well. What do they most complain about you? This question can reveal some personal blind-spots we may have by shining the light of awareness on them. 

Now ask yourself: Am I happy where I am? What would it mean for me and my life if I could move from a 6 to an 8 in the physical/health domain, for example? How would my life...

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Growth does not happen by accident (DW#386)

We have been comparing fixed mindsets versus growth mindsets and hopefully we are beginning to see the value of cultivating a growth mindset for ourselves.

Many of us may already have a growth mindset in some areas of our lives and yet be stuck in a fixed mindset in others.

For example, I could be very successful in my career and be updating my skill set through continuous professional development and yet believe that I am just unlucky at relationships, or health, or …. Do you get the picture? Just because we have a growth mindset in one area of our lives does not automatically mean that we have the same set of beliefs in others.

John Maxwell in his book The 15 invaluable Laws of Growthreiterates what we have been saying over and over again: that all change and growth begins with awareness and intention. To put it another way, positive change and growth does not happen by accident. If we were to ignore an area of our lives, it is more likely that it would devolve rather...

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the growth mindset approach to conflict (DW#385)

One of the most destructive of all relationship myths is the belief that if it requires work, something is terribly wrong and that any discrepancy of opinions or preferences or the presence of conflict is indicative of character flaws on behalf of one’s partner.
 
Dweck believes that conflicts are part of all good relationships and a growth mindset is not threatened with conflict in the relationship.
 
Dweck found that people with a fixed mindset on the other hand are threatened by conflict. When they talk about their problems, they are likely to assign blame to their partners AND often assume that the fault lies in a character flaw of the other other which is not fixable. Since the fault lies in the personality of the partner, they feel anger and contempt towards them (we have previously discussed how looking down with contempt at a partner is poisons a relationship) and dissatisfied with the entire relationship.

 People with a growth mindset, on the other...

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Do you expect your spouse to read your mind? (DW#384)

People with fixed mindsets expect that that in an ideal relationship, the couple should be able to read each other’s minds and finish each other’s sentences. Since characteristics are fixed according to their view of the world, a lack of communication or a difference of opinion is suggestive of a fatal flaw in the relationship.
 
When Dweck invited people to talk about their relationships, she found that: Those with the fixed mindset felt threatened and hostile after talking about even minor discrepancies in how they and their partner saw their relationship. Even a minor discrepancy threatened their belief that they shared all of each other’s views.
 
For those of us who are in long term relationships we often find that we are still learning about each other even after decades of being together and can see how destructive it can be to expect the other to read our minds.
 
If we develop a growth mindset in our relationships, we have a much...
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Your mindset and your love life (DW#383)

One of the most profound applications of Dweck’s research on mindset has to do with its application to our closest relationships. 

Dweck and her colleagues found that people’s mindsets greatly impacted how they dealt with their personal relationships. 

Over the next few days let us look at key ways in which our mindset can help or hinder our family relationships. 

Firstly, Dweck’s research implies that people with a fixed mindset tend to believe that there is one special ‘soul mate’ for them, a ready made person who will complete them, make them happy and provide them with everything they have ever longed for. According to Dweck, "In the fixed mindset, the ideal is instant, perfect, and perpetual compatibility. Like it was meant to be. Like riding off into the sunset. Like "they lived happily ever after."

People with a growth mindset on the other hand, are more likely to engage with someone who has a realistic perception of them, who may see...

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