The movies show us that change is glamorous. A blanket majority of cinema out there is about either a change someone has made or a change someone is making. Either due to themselves or the circumstances around them. And the emotional cascade of how they feel and what they do about it. That's why we go to the movies. To see someone else's story, whether it is action, drama, science fiction, or documentary. Its exciting, moving. Drawing us back time and time again.
What if I told you that your brain can grow and adapt to change no matter how old you are. Did you know that they did a study, and the London taxi cab drivers have a larger part of the brain (hippocampus) than London bus drivers. Why? The bus drivers drive the same route every day, over and over and the taxi drivers need it for navigation. Nope, not kidding.
Change is nothing more than needing or wanting more of the use of the brain you already have. And your brain will oblige you with anything you ask of it. This is called neuroplasticity. There is a whole science on it now. Neuroscientists have been studying how neuroplasticity (the mold-ability of neural circuits) and neurogenesis ( the birth of new neurons – cells transmitting nerve signals from the brain) work together to reshape how we think, behave and remember.
The brain is flexible and is constantly reorganizing and optimizing itself everyday, whether you are at work, at home, at school or even asleep. It transfers your cognitive mental processes from one lobe to another, particularly as you age. Even if there is damage. Say you know someone who has had a stroke, the brain automatically starts reorganizing itself to move its functions to the undamaged area. Say someone loses their vision, their brain will re-wire itself and open up new neuropathways to enhance the power of your other senses for protection. So you won't walk into traffic or fall over a cliff.
Last week we talked about the differences in a Fixed-mindset and a Growth-mindset. We are going to start to talk about adapting ourselves to having a more Growth-mindset outlook on life. Why is this something you might want to think about? Well, if you have a fixed way of looking at yourself and the world and what you can do. It will hold you back from a lot of positive opportunities. We wouldn't go see a movie where the characters just sat there doing the same thing over and over. We want something to happen. In a Fixed-mindset, if you have something about yourself that you believe is genetic or “just the way you are” - such as a bad habit, your weight, how smart you are – you will avoid situations because they make you uncomfortable. That doesn't sound very fun at all. It actually sounds kinda lonely.
Since MRI's have now proven without a doubt that the brain has an incredible ability to morph itself. To reorganize itself - both through its functions and actual physical self - throughout your life, because of your way of thinking, environment, behavior and emotions. The good news is that the brain makes changes based on the repetitive things you do. The bad news is that the brain also makes changes based on the repetitive things you do. This could work against you (Fixed-mindset) or it could work for you (Growth-mindset). Next week we will talk about neuroplasticity and habits. Good habits and bad habits.
Have a great start to the week my friends. See you next Sunday.
I went to broadcasting school in my 20's.
Our news and interest pieces were mostly resourced off of the news feeds that would come directly into the radio stations that I interned at. We would take those stories and either fit them directly into our programing (news) or rewrite them to fit our audience (interest).
No one has ever asked me on this blog where I get my information. I just thought I would insert a tidbit for those who might be interested. In journalism it is a responsibility that before you write and print an article you have information from at least 2 credible and (if needed) quotable sources. I try to have more than that on information posts here on twilight twinkle as blogging is now the new journalism. Anyway, on to our topic for the week.
Mindset (noun) “the established set of attitudes held by someone”
Also known better as, “way of thinking”, “frame of mind”, “mental outlook”, or “ point of view”
So, what if I told you that a Stanford psychologist (Carol Dweck) has done numerous studies that puts all of us into one of 2 mindsets. Yep, we are either (a) fixed-mindset or (b) growth-mindset.
In a Fixed-Mindset:
The people who believe that their basic abilities, talents and intelligence are fixed, unchangeable traits and that you are born with a certain amount of each and that is all you have. Since they feel like their abilities are per-determined they are more likely to avoid risk or challenge because it is uncomfortable and will devalue effort.
With a belief that your qualities are carved in stone – only having a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, a certain moral character – then you had better prove that you have healthy dose of those attributes. To let others know that you don't look or feel deficient in those things. This creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over again.
In the world of fixed characteristics and traits – success is about proving you are smart or talented. Validating yourself. And failure is about having a setback which to you would mean that you aren't smart or talented. Because if you were, you wouldn't have to try or put out effort. It would come naturally. People with a fixed mindset see that effort is a marker of inadequacy and would reveal to others that they come up short in some way.
This is because you feel and believe that you are who you are and you cannot change. So, when you are challenged or if a situation appears to you that it is more than you can handle it makes you feel overwhelmed and hopeless. They feel that success is an affirmation of inherent intelligence. Striving always for success and avoiding failure at all cost is to maintain a sense of being smart or skilled.
Fixed mindset individuals believe that talent alone leads to success and that effort is not (or should not) be required. They document their talents and intelligence, rather than working to improve and develop them. They always want to appear intelligent, because they believe that they have a fixed level of intelligence that cannot be modified. Fearing looking dumb to others, because they do not want other people to think that they are unintelligent.
In a Growth-mindset:
These people believe that with effort, learning and persistence, their abilities and intelligence can be developed. And that their basic abilities are just a starting point. They believe that everyone can become smarter if they try and put in effort to realize their potential. That their effort has an effect on their success. So all it takes is a little extra time, effort and learning to lead to a higher achievement.
They see a value in challenging themselves and focus on development. These people know that they are going to have failures at times, however, that doesn't mean that you won't see a positive result if you keep working at it. Those results keep you motivated and empowers you. Growth mindset individuals are able to overcome their fears because they know that anxiety and fear are very paralyzing emotions. They know that the best way to overcome this is to take action.
They know that there will never be an absolutely perfect moment to take action and move forward, so why wait for one. When results and empowerment are waiting on the other side of your effort. Taking action during fear and worry morphs all that emotion into positive and focused energy. This is very Personally Empowering.
A growth-mindset person doesn't see failure as an evidence of unintelligence, but as an opportunity to stretch your abilities and grow into new success. It is about stretching yourself and developing yourself to learn something new. Effort is what makes you smart or talented.
A “growth mindset” creates a passion for learning and evolving. A “fixed mindset” creates an hunger for approval.
In a fixed mindset, every situation calls for a confirmation of who they are – their personality, their intelligence or their character. You constantly feel the need to prove yourself. Their is a fear of whether you will succeed or fail. Being accepted or rejected. Smart or dumb. Winner or looser.
“Some people see the thing they want, and some people see the thing that prevents them from getting what they want.” Simon Sinek.
What if I told you that no matter what your IQ is, it is your attitude that actually determines whether you are successful, established and financially secure. People with a growth mindset who have a lower IQ can actually out perform those with a fixed mindset with a higher IQ, because they embrace the challenges as opportunities to learn something new. And with that empowering attitude they succeed or continue to strive to succeed until they see the positive result they were expecting.
Everyone has control over their attitude and way of thinking. Everyone can change their mindset if they really feel that there is a benefit to that change. If they believe that they can become a better person, have a better financial situation, a better love relationship.
The deciding factor is how well you handle setbacks and challenges and if you can see those not as failures or a gauge on how intelligent you are but as an opportunity to be more successful than if you didn't even try.
True success – financially and in love are in believing that you can overcome a challenge, no matter how much effort. And that the effort is merely an investment in that success, not a waste of time.
Let's take a look at these mind-sets in relationships. What does it mean for love.
Fixed-mindset in love:
These people expect an ideal mate. They want their mate to put them on a pedestal and treat them like the god that they feel they are. Their expectations are of an perfect, instant, ideal compatibility where the relationship is “meant to be”.
Their ideal is the manifestation of the toxic cultural myth about “true love”. The myth of perfection and that everything is going to happen automatically and be perfect without any work or effort on their part. Some believe that a perfect mate will be able to read their mind or they will finish each others sentences.
These people feel that if there is even the slightest disagreement in opinions or preferences that their partner is flawed in some way. They feel threatened and hostile after even minor disagreements. When they talk about their disagreements or conflicts they automatically assign blame. They complain.
They assign blame to – a character flaw of the person. Either themselves or their partner. Then when they see a partner's personality as the problem through this blame, they feel anger and disgust toward their mate.
Once they see flaws in the other person, they become contemptuous towards them. Then they become dissatisfied with the relationship as a whole. Seeing a setback as a final negative sentencing.
And when they make personal mistakes in a relationship they ignore them and refuse to admit the mistake because by doing that they feel like it is an attack on their self-worth. This makes them bound to repeat the mistakes over and over because they avoid dealing with them.
They use a constant system of weights and balance of judgment and evaluation in every situation. Using every piece of information as evidence that you are either a good person or a bad person. A good mate or bad mate. Judging through gathering information whether their mate is selfish or not. Also whether they are better than their partner or not.
Success to them is about establishing their superiority and intellect, pure and simple. That they are better than the nobodies or better than a mate or potential (what they see as) enemy.
Growth-mindset in love:
These people believe that love and friendship can be cultivated through effort and deliberate practice for success. They prefer a partner who will encourage them to try new things, to learn and to become a better person. They know that a loving mate will recognize their faults and will lovingly help improve them.
A growth mindset individual can acknowledge a mate's imperfections, not assign any blame, and still feel that they have a lasting and fulfilling relationship. They don't see conflicts as a flaw in a partners personality or character, but, as a problem in communication. They also have these viewpoints in their friendships and relationships with their parents and grandparents.
When they see their partners differences that doesn't make them feel threatened. They learn to deal with the differences. Seeing that as an opportunity to grow closer together and have a stronger relationship. This makes both people feel unjudged, like they are on the same side.
They work to help each other solve their problems, in the relationship and in other areas of their lives. Then an atmosphere or trust can begin to grow, as they become more and more interested in the well being and personal development of each other.
Our Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck states, “Just as there are no great achievements without setbacks, there are no great relationships without conflicts and problems along the way.” “The growth mindset says all of these things can be developed. All – you, your partner, and the relationship – are capable of growth and change.”
Everyone can change and grow through effort, application, time and experience.
We are going to talk more about this next week.
Here are a few links to click on if you wish to test yourself to see which of the two mindset's you are. I have taken both of the online tests and have placed my result's in parenthesis under the button's. The last button is a downloadable worksheet that you can print off and do to get your result.
(Raven's results: "You Have a Growth Mindset. Having a growth mindset is a huge benefit in life, so make sure you keep it up. Create daily reminders for yourself of the positive effects of this mindset. And help yourself even more by helping others whenever you can, to feel more positive about any challenges they're facing.Students with a growth mindset are more interested in learning, more eager to take on challenges, and more academically successful")
(Raven's results: "You agreed with 1 of Fixed Mindset statements and 8 of Growth Mindset Statements. You have a Growth Mindset.")
Until next Sunday, my friends. Have a Great Week.
My readers tune in to read my posts on inspiration and advice. I always encourage my readers to write in. Some have requested that I post a little bit on my journey the last few years. In 2013 I caught a virus (coxsackie b4) and meningitis that causes myocarditis and endocarditis of my heart, knocking it down to 15% and shutting down all of the organs in my body except for my heart and brain. It took 6 weeks for all of my organs to start functioning again. I was under a team of specialists in in ICU for over 42 days during this. This was in the Sacred Heart hospital in Spokane Valley, WA. Then I went to Seattle. I was a heart transplant patient candidate in Seattle WA and Salt Lake City, UT.
My marriage from the start of this wasn't holding up well during all of it. Within 4 months of going into the hospital and 2 months of that being at home bedridden and in a wheelchair, my husband (who I had been with for 10 years at that point) he asked me for a divorce. If was a family friend who was a pastor that talked him out of it. This was while we were still in Washington state. By the time I arrived at the hospital in Salt Lake City, UT a few months later, I still felt that I was fighting for my life.
A little background. When a hospital is evaluating you for a mechanical heart (LVAD) as a bridge to transplant (get you by until you get a heart). There are a lot of members of that team, all of them essential. Including a Transplant Coordinator and a Social Worker. It is important to know that since hearts are so rare in supply, they only give them to the patients that they feel have the best ability to survive. So, health, age, environment and personal habits come into consideration. I lucky enough fit into being a prime candidate. However, when I asked the social worker what my chances were of getting a new heart if I got divorced and what adamantly told that it would cost me my chances of receiving one. Since I would no longer have a stable environment nor the ability to pay for the procedure and upkeep after (meds average $5000 a month after the transplant so that the body wont reject the heart). However, although my husband made upper middle class wages, we traveled extensively for his job since it was in a specialized field. This wasn't considered a stable home environment as well. In order to receive a new heart you have to live within an hour of the hospital so that when they get a heart you can get there in time to have the surgery. There is usually only a 4 hour window from the time they receive the heart to transplant.
As my marriage continued to disintegrate the next few years, I focused on educating myself on my health and working on figuring out the best ways to bring stability in my life – within my health and my physical environment. I began work on the journal for heart patients and got it published. My husband was resistant to settling down. The doctors had specifically told me that I would have to live a quiet, stable, stress free life. So no more constant traveling. My husband couldn't handle that our lifestyle would have to change or would need adapting and these problems began to cause him considerable frustration which then eventually led to anger.
By the time I got out of my marriage, he had me feeling that it was my fault that I had gotten sick. But I did get out of the marriage. Most of the people who know me never realized that this decision was a life or death decision for me. If I got divorced, I would never have the secure home environment and finances that would consider me a good candidate for the social worker or the hospital to consider me a good candidate for a new heart. However, if I didn't get a divorce, the constant stress of my husband acting out, bullying and pushing me around was going to cost me the gains I was slowly making at getting my heart stable. We even tried counseling with a psychologist and domestic abuse classes. The anger just kept getting worse and he blamed me for a lifestyle that we couldn't have anymore. Damned if I do and damned if I don't.
I was a counselor and night and weekend manager at a safe house for abused women and kids in my 20's. The advice I give on here comes from my experiences and the experiences of those I have seen around me. The average woman goes back 8 times to an abusive relationship. I confess I went back 6 times. I filed for divorce January of 2016, but went back and dismissed the divorced after he had found out that he had a daughter neither of us knew about and she had cancer. Call me crazy, and I was, but I felt bad about it. I brought her to Colorado with me and between hospital in Illinois for 3 days on the way, having them do numerous tests to find out why she couldn't hold down food. And working on getting her stable before sending her back to family in South Carolina. Her blood tests came back normal for the first time since the cancer had started by the time she was back home. However, then I realized that it wasn't the right reason to go back into a marriage. As soon as she was gone, his not listening and bullying started up again, then the anger and my fears returned.
My divorce was final 3 months ago. I did get spousal support for a few years. I moved to Wyoming. I am safe in a quiet place within a very friendly town. My heart is completely stable. And I am focusing on a new life. I used to be an audio engineer, however have a few diplomas under my belt. Can't go back to the rigors of engineering in my field so I am considering transferring my credits over and applying to Harvard. I can do most of the classes online here in Wyoming and only have to spend about half a year at the end of it in Massachusetts to finish the degree a couple of years from now. I want to get my Masters in Divinity. Which means – I want to become a minister. To help others who are going through troubles in their life and to use my life experiences to make a difference.
Best wishes. Until next Sunday my friends.