The Learning Mindset

In my office I have a poster hanging up that says "What you learn today can change the future" and has may learning phrases such as be open minded, take up the challenge, value new ideas, and find your passion, surrounding it. Many of the previous blogs have discussed growth as a person and using this way to increase confidence. In this blog we will continue to build off of these themes with a discussion on developing and using a learning mindset, and how it impacts anxiety and emotion management and personal growth.


As we have discussed in prior blogs, for clients that struggle with anxiety and depressive symptoms how they think impacts how the feel and behave, and they are often drawn to thinking negatively. In turn this impacts confidence. By interpreting these situations as personal and a negative aspect of themselves, these same people are fueling their symptom presentation. But what if you use a learning mindset? What if you do what Yoda says and look at the best teacher being failure? What if a success is not just something to be proud of, but also an experience to build off of? In each of these scenarios, it is hard to become negative on oneself because every event is a learning opportunity, and one cannot be mad at himself or herself for learning.


So what is a learning mindset? A learning mindset takes events and reframes them not as personal. In other words, it takes the judgement out of the event,. Each event can be assessed and used to determine the next set of choices, problems can be solved, and you can give yourself credit for being engaged in the process. Anything that happens in life can be viewed through this lens whether it is viewed as a success or a failure. This gives you direction and a purpose to improve yourself as a person and set goals to make the process happen. Many negative people look at the world as if they do not have any control and wallow in negative thoughts as a result. This type of mindset always give you control, as you choose how to respond when the situation inevitably happens again. Now you can use trial and error or problem solve. Worst case scenario you just learned again that possible solution does not work, so on to the next one. The best way to do it is to really put yourself on the edge of your competence, that place between comfort and discomfort. Living in that space where the growth can happen.


Accomplishing a learning mindset is much simpler than one may think. Once you see yourself getting negative you just need to ask one question: What did I learn? If you did well and want something to happen again in the future, again ask What did I learn? One would think it would be more complicated but really isn't. Ignore the other thoughts in your mind and just focus on that question. The answers to it will guide your next choices. So what did you learn today that can change your future?






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