The 7 Mindset Hacks to joyous learning and a happier life
- 1. There’s no need to fix anything.
We are all on a journey, and no one stage is better than another. We’re not saying a 3 year-old is better than a 3 months old just because she can walk and talk. So in the same way we should never think of our skills and abilities as imperfect, or compare them to others and to our own expectations.
- 2. No achievement is final.
You can be a multiple champion in your teens and an overweight drug addict in your thirties. As long as it’s your achievements that make you feel good about yourself you won’t ever find permanent satisfaction. You’ll find that behind each goal there’s another goal to accomplish; and that every accomplishment starts to fade the moment you reach it.
So why not measure success in things more permanent than the moment you reach your goals? Why not take pride in your courage and openness to start new things or your inner strength to cope with setbacks or even failure? Why should we not celebrate standing up after we fall more than we celebrate success? You know what? Winning is easy! Being humble, but NOT ASHAMED about our weaknesses, making a serious effort to step out of our comfort zone, not allowing fear of being judged to stop us; facing our own imperfections, but doing it anyway: these are the things that take strength of character. The things we should be truly proud of.
If you have that, I can tell you you’re already successful, and the rest will come.
I don’t give a damn about the size of your vocabulary, or how many grammar mistakes you make! As long as we manage to share thoughts and be understood, why should we care? You are here, showing up for yourself. Ready to learn, ready to overcome difficulties, ready to make mistakes. And for that I think you are awesome. And I haven’t got a single doubt that you are going to make remarkable progress.
- 3. Start before your ready.
You’ll start talking with foreigners once your English is more fluent and correct? You’ll get yourself lovely new clothes once you gain/lose weight or become more muscular?
Seriously guys: why not start today?
The truth is: you cannot really learn to speak English unless you speak it. Every day you’re delaying something you would like to do, but convincing yourself you are not ready is a wasted chance to do what you really want and feel what you really want to feel instead of focusing on a deficit you believe you have. Do you really think that will ever stop unless you decide to stop it yourself?
So why not stop today?
Let me tell you one thing: looking back, I’m not too proud of some of my English lessons, blog posts, meals, or any other tasks completed “as a beginner”. But I’m proud as hell for doing it anyway. And for not giving up right there but doing it until I truly got results.
- 4. Any little effort counts. One small thing at a time.
After we make big, life changing decisions, we tend to use up all our energy and enthusiasm in the first hundred meters. One day of workout skipped – that’s it. We call it a failure and fall back into our original state. One day we only have 5 minutes to exercise instead of the usual 30 or 60: that’s it. There’s no point starting something when you’ve only got 5 minutes, right?
How can I say this nicely? B(ull)S(hit), darling.
We are masters at making excuses, at trying to avoid any real chance for our lives to truly change.
When the truth is that 30 minutes are more than 5, but 5 is still more than zero.
Making one mistake won’t change anything in the big picture. Skipping one day means absolutely nothing but a day you were busy doing something else – hopefully something you really had to do, or, preferably, something you really LOVED and ENJOYED doing. Both are perfectly fine.
What isn’t fine is to waste your precious energies beating yourself up about it, or – what’s even worse – giving up on the whole thing and falling into an “I’m a failure” state of self pity.
- 5. Less than 30 % of communication is verbal
“I cannot express all the nuances I could in my native language, so why bother? ” “I’m feeling like a two year-old as I’m struggling to express the simplest thing – and it doesn’t feel good”. “They must think I’m stupid or something. I would certainly NOT ENJOY having a conversation with myself”.
I don’t think I could count how many times I’ve heard these excuses when people chose not to say a word other than “hi” and “bye” to my English husband.
Do you really think he cares about your grammar mistakes when you are the only one making a kind effort to engage him in a conversation? Without you, he’d just have another night out watching people having fun, intense conversations and laughing out loud without being able to be a part of it. Do you really believe he’d think you are stupid?
Furthermore: What do you think you are communicating by refusing to communicate? Which is – according to modern studies – probably more than 70 % of what others learn about you?
What does it matter if you know all the rules, but all you can concentrate on while having a conversation is whether you are using them correctly and remember all the phrases you need?
Guys, please relax. You do not need a large vocabulary to show some kindness, empathy, curiosity or to be helpful. All you need is to be who you are, be OK with it, and CARE a bit more for the other person than for your own self-limiting thoughts about being inadequate.
- 6. Who are they to judge anyway?
When you are scared of being judged, ask yourself these questions:
– In a reversed situation would you judge that other person? Would you have the same thoughts about them as what you’re thinking they might be having about you?
– Do you like a person, who judges others like that?
– Is there any reason why you should allow people you don’t even like to stop you from learning, evolving, becoming the person you want to be?
- 7. Joy is better than stress. Desire is better than fear. Inspiration is better than motivation. And NOTHING is BETTER THAN LOVE.
People who believe in positive discipline and experience-based learning (oh, and I’m one of them in case I forgot to mention), simply cannot understand why on Earth anyone ever come up with this crazy idea that if we want other humans to learn from us we need to keep them in constant fear (by giving grades and using shame) and if we want them to behave better we first need to make them feel like shit (punishment).
Have you ever felt like a puppy in a large field, wanting to take it all in, using every inch of your body to be present? Have you ever felt the unstoppable desire and curiosity to discover, to walk on, to see what’s behind the corner? Have you ever noticed you learned more during an hour long conversation or by working on a project overnight than in 4 years spent behind a school desk?
Have you ever experienced the difference between doing something out of real passion and not because you were told by someone (a parent, a teacher, a partner, the society) that the task had to be done?
If you answer any of these questions with a yes, you know exactly what a tremendous difference state of love, passion and relaxed presence – also known as FLOW – can make to your performance.
And then, maybe you’ll believe me when I say: our most important task is ALWAYS to inspire ourselves into this state of being.
Because from here, my friends, anything that comes will come easy.