“How did I get into this situation?”

I’ve pushed myself into many situations over my lifetime where I would ask myself that question. There I was, the guy with the whistle, about to signal for the kickoff of the boys big school state championship soccer contest. “What am I doing here?”

Many times I’ve pushed myself only to subsequently wonder what I’d done to myself.

I thought of that last week with my grandkids.

My grandson is just back from a tour of five European countries with 600 of his closest friends—well 600 other high school student musicians from Illinois. They toured and performed in England, France, Germany, Switzerland, and Austria. He’s already an experienced international traveler, but he put himself into an entirely new experience at age 15.

Meanwhile his 13-year-old sister went off for a week at a swim camp (she’s a competitive swimmer) in another state. She put herself out for a new experience.

Psychology research suggests two primary types of mindset: growth and fixed. A fixed mindset happens when you believe there are restrictions on what you can accomplish. A growth mindset looks at possibilities. We all experience both types of thinking, but spending more time in the growth mode creates changes in your brain that can increase your likelihood of success.

​Studies suggest that those with more time in a growth mindset are better at goal-setting and decision-making. Additional research also appears to show that a growth mindset can build resilience that turns potentially frustrating moments into learning experiences.

It is often said that you are the sum of your six closest friends. You need to be around people who are more positive, encourage you to grow beyond what you think is possible, and provide specific positive feedback. So if you’re around too much negativity, it’s time to cut that loose.

Those with a growth mindset tend to be inspired by the success of others (rather than intimidated or defeated), and they focus on expanding their comfort zone. 

Stepping outside the comfort zone to learn, teach (best way to learn!), serve boosts your confidence and your physical, mental, and emotional growth.

What’s holding you back?

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