This curated column is authored by leadership & startup consultant Benjamin Hardy
I have a secret to tell you.
You can achieve practically any of your wildest dreams.
It really doesn’t matter how big.
By the end of this blog post, you won’t be. I’m going to break down exactly how this works on both psychological and spiritual levels.
You Need To Decide What You Want
The first component to achieving something is picking it.
It could be anything.
It could be getting a better job.
Or being a better person.
It has to be something tangible, but that is currently not tangible to you. In other words, it has to be something you currently don’t have.
This is why the foundation of all goals is faith. And this isn’t a religious type of faith, although it could be.
Faith is simply having a belief or hope in something you can’t see or that doesn’t currently exist.
If you can’t hold it in your hand and you want it, you need faith to get it.
Faith can only exist if you actually believe you can get what you want. If you don’t believe you can get a better job or be a better person, then you can’t have the faith to create that goal. You may set that goal, but you will never achieve it.
This is where psychology and even learning theory come in. People who don’t believe they can do something have what psychologists call a “fixed” mindset. These people have been over-sold on the idea of having a domineering “identity” that cannot change. Nature is god and nothing can be nurtured.
Unfortunately, years and years of research continues to show that people with a fixed mindset struggle in life. They have lower self-esteem. Why wouldn’t they? They believe they are stuck and can’t do anything about it. Their fate was set at birth. Moreover, the research shows that people with a fixed mindset have a really, really hard time learning. Why learn if you don’t believe you can actually learn and evolve?
According to 50 years of research on learning theory, we all have a dominant learning style. We all also have several backup learning styles we rely on when we’re in a difficult situation. However, there are also several other learning styles that each of us neglect and avoid.
Some of these learning styles include:
- Imagining: which involves coming up with ideas
- Reflecting: which involves learning about the ideas you come up with
- Analyzing: which involves synthesizing what you’ve learning and making strategic plans about what to do with those ideas
- Deciding: which involves making a decision on ONE WAY you will go with a specific idea
- Acting: which involves DOING SOMETHING toward the attainment of your idea
- Experiencing: which involves learning from multiple angles, whether that be with other people, creating something, failing, or attempting
If you skip any of these learning styles, you’re not likely to get very far. But that’s exactly what we all do. We all have learning preferences. We all prefer to do things “our way.”
Interestingly, most people have a “growth” mindset about the learning style they are comfortable with. For example, if you like math and learn in analytical ways, you probably believe you can get better at math. You probably approach challenges and failures as opportunities to grow. You probably seek out mentoring, education, and help. You’re probably curious and seeking to expand your knowledge and horizon about that thing.
However, most people have a “fixed” mindset about the learning styles they aren’t comfortable with. For example, if you don’t like writing, you probably believe you can’t get better at it. There are some things YOU simply can’t learn. They aren’t in your DNA or something, right?
Flipping The Script
If you have a growth mindset, you operate with faith. You believe in something you can’t see. You believe you can actually get better at something, even though that growth is currently only visible in your mind.
If you have a fixed mindset, you aren’t operating with faith. You don’t believe in what you can’t see. You’re a doubter. You’re over-confident and over-committed to a certain “cognitive commitment,” or way of seeing yourself. Because you don’t believe you can learn something, you actually can’t. You’ve put yourself in a box and you have no vision for the future in that area.
However, psychologists and learning theorists have plenty of evidence now showing that you can LEARN any of the learning styles. But only if you’re a flexible and adaptive learner.
This changes everything. It changes the notion of each person having fixed “strengths” and “weaknesses,” and instead paints a far more compelling picture.
You don’t have strengths or weaknesses per se, instead you have positive or negative learning habits. These habits have been fostered throughout your life. They’ve been conditioned over-and-over by your environment, because it is your tendency to put yourself into situations you are comfortable with.
When you’re comfortable with one learning style, you do everything you can to create situations and environments that allow you to exercise that learning style. Conversely, you avoid situations and environments that would have you use different learning styles.
Author and speaker, Wayne Dyer, once said, “When you change the way you see things, the things you see change.”
When you change how you see yourself, you change.
If you look at yourself in the mirror and believe in that person, you are then empowered. If you believe you can learn anything, you can. Are some things going to be harder to learn than others for you? Of course. Not because of fixed strengths and weaknesses. But because of atrophied or underdeveloped learning muscles, sabotaging beliefs, and bad habits.
When you believe in yourself, you love the person looking back at you in the mirror. You see so much potential. You see someone worth investing in. You see someone worth loving and living for. You see someone who can become better. As actor Matthew McConaughey said in a speech after winning an Oscar:
“Someone once asked who my hero was, and I said it was me in 10 years. So I turned 25. 10 years later that same person comes up to me, ‘So are you a hero?’ and I was like, ‘Not even close!’ She said ‘Why?’ ‘Because my hero is me at 35.’ So you see, every day, every week, every month, every year of my life, my hero is always 10 years away. I’m never gonna be my hero. I’m not gonna attain that. I know I’m not. And that’s fine with me. Because it keeps me with someone to keep on chasing.”
How To Actually Achieve Your Goals
I don’t usually talk about the results I’ve gotten in my life. It’s not helpful to the reader. But I can honestly say every goal I’ve genuinely wanted to achieve, I’ve achieved.
Even goals that seemed impossible or ridiculous.
And there’s no better way to live.
It’s the only way to live as a pure and true creator. And that is exactly what you are.
You can create your own future. You can create your own identity.
I can say this with conviction because I’ve been doing it myself for going on a decade now.
You can create specific moments. You can also create enormous milestones, such as sitting next to your favorite author and being their teammate, not just their fan.
Whatever your mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve.
Here’s a breakdown of what you actually need to achieve any goal:
- You need a clear goal. The more specific the better.
- You need to actually want that goal. Without desire, you can’t have faith. Desire is where faith starts.
- You need to believe you can actually achieve your goal. If you don’t believe you can, then you have a fixed mindset. You’ve already shut yourself off to learning. And if you don’t learn, you don’t change. And if you don’t change, you don’t improve. Without belief that you can, you can’t have faith. Belief is what sustains faith.
- You need to pray to have more faith. Meditation and visualization can also serve as a powerful way to increase your faith. The more faith you have, the more clear your goals will be and the more power you’ll have at achieving those goals. When you have faith, you literally cause brilliant things to happen. You make them happen. You can do what others believe is literally impossible. It’s not impossible though, it just takes inspiration and intuition.
- But you won’t get that inspiration and intuition if you’re not 100% committed to your goal. Until you become 100% committed, there’s hesitancy. When there’s hesitancy, you’re ineffective. You’re not completely absorbed. You’re not reflecting, acting, analyzing, deciding, and thinking about all the ways you could accomplish your goal. But when you’re committed to achieving something specific, you put yourself in the environments and situations that would facilitate that commitment. You develop the faith that you can achieve it, you’ll begin to get inspiration and intuitive insights.
- These intuitive insights are the solutions to your problems. If you want to achieve a specific goal but don’t know how to do it, if you take the time to imagine, reflect, plan and think, you’ll begin to get insights. Ideas will come to you. These ideas may present solutions that are outside your dominant learning style. They may be “out of your comfort zone.” But if you have faith, you’ll act on those insights. You’ll know those insights are your higher self/power pointing the direction. And yes, that direction almost always involves the courage to bust through fears, uncertainty, and in weeding out your limiting beliefs and mindsets.
- The more of these intuitive insights you get, and the more you immediately follow through on, the firmer you faith will be in the attainment of your goal. Eventually, you get to the point where you already know it’s gonna happen, long before it ever does. You’ve already mentally created it with such force that all you have to do is watch it unfold. This is called HOPE or RESOLVE. When you have hope, you have complete assurance. You’re completely resolved. It’s done. It’s gonna happen. This hope is the anchor of your faith. It’s what keeps that faith alive. Without hope that you’re going to achieve something, you can’t have faith in that thing. Hope is what happens when belief is transformed through experience and consistency. This “hope” is another word for insane confidence and trust.
- When you have confidence, you take on challenges you’ve never done before. You’re willing to learn things that are uncomfortable to you. You’re willing to get back up after failures and defeat. You’re willing to try new things and go back to the drawing board. You’re willing to reach out and initiate contact with people who can help you. You’re willing to create things that might not succeed. You’re willing to do anything it takes to achieve your goal.
- And eventually, you do achieve your goal. And it becomes a pattern in your life. It becomes a habit. But this is a very, very different type of habit than doing the same behavior over and over and over. Those “habits,” which we are told are “essential for success” are not. Doing the same behavior repetitiously is how you go stale and apathetic, like those people who go into the gym and never push themselves in new and different ways. No, no, no. You develop the habit of learning and the process of faith. It doesn’t matter what you must learn, you’ve learned how to learn. Every time you learn something new, you face new battles that feel similar to the old battles. You’re forced to exercise learning styles you’ve generally avoided. You’re required to develop faith that you can actually achieve that goal. You’re forced to get strategic, and to consistently make progress toward that new goal. As you do this, you eventually develop the confidence that you can do it. This confidence, founded on hope and resolve, allows you to create momentum. Eventually, you learn that new thing and achieve that new goal. Then you do it all over again.
If you don’t believe in goal-setting, it’s because you don’t know how to do it.
You have a fixed mindset.
You are a rigid, not a flexible learner.
You don’t have faith.
You haven’t tested the process.
You haven’t learned how to learn.
You don’t have confidence.
You over-emphasize nature and under-emphasize nurture.
When you look in the mirror, you don’t like the person you see.
You’re not chasing your hero 10 years ahead of you.
But you can change that right now. Because you can learn how to learn. You can become flexible. You can develop faith. Eventually, you can develop the confidence to take on any challenge your mind conjures up, no matter how big or seemingly “impossible.”
And the more you master this PROCESS, the faster you manifest the things you imagine in your mind into your living reality.
Call To Action
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Disclaimer: This is a curated post. The statements, opinions and data contained in this column are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not that of iamwire or the editor(s). The article was originally published by the author here.