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What if I told you that all the success you desire is within your reach if you do one simple thing? There is one decision you can make today to immediately improve your life.

That decision is to embrace a growth mindset. A growth mindset allows you to take everything that life can throws at you… And come out stronger.

In this episode, I discuss the importance of mindset and how to develop the growth mindset that will help you achieve all your goals.

Show Highlights Include:

  • Why unsuccessful people have so much trouble turning things around and what they can do to fix it immediately (2:46)
  • The secret behind Michael Jordan’s greatness and how you can harness it to improve your own life (7:26)
  • The Growth Mindset secret you can use to overcome any obstacle in your life (8:21)
  • Why you should welcome failure  into your life with open arms if you want to get better (9:54)
  • What “genius-level performers” can have to teach you about the irrelevance of talent (and what you should focus on instead) (13:29)

Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Click here to get the first chapter of Dr. Rick’s best-selling book, Lessons From a Third Grade Dropout, for free.

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to “How You Living?” a transformative podcast featuring best-selling author, inspirational speaker and minister, Dr. Rick Rigsby—and, now, Dr. Rick.

Dr. Rigsby: Hello, friends. So glad to be with you today. Got a great topic, a topic that can, I believe, change your life right away. I'm going to talk to you about mindset and developing a positive mindset, and it's something that is well within our reach. It is not something that is mysterious. It is not something that is just for the gifted or the intelligent. It is for absolutely anybody who wants to make a decision to grow your mindset in a positive way. [00:56.5]

Mindset is inextricably connected to our thinking. It's based on our perspective. Mindset is basically how we think, and this is very important, friends, how we think determines how we view life. Our thinking is based on our experiences or practices and our habits. The things I do today determines the habits I will likely have tomorrow, which determines many of the habits that I will proceed on in life with.

I have quoted Frank Outlaw numerous times and I think this is a great opportunity to quote Outlaw again. He said on one occasion, Watch your thoughts; they determine your words. Watch your words; they determine your actions. Watch your actions; they form your habits. Watch your habits; they shape your character. And watch your character; it's your character that determines your destiny. Where does it begin? It begins in your mind. It all begins with your thoughts. [02:03.1]

Proverbs in the Holy Scripture says, “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he.” I like what John Maxwell said on one occasion, talking about thinking. He said the greatest gap in the world, he believes, between successful and unsuccessful people is the thinking gap. The greatest gap in the world between successful and unsuccessful people is the way in which they think, the thinking gap.

Maxwell argues that successful people just think very differently whereas unsuccessful people don't have a lot of time to think. Unsuccessful people tend to be more reactive, which cultivates and encourages poor thinking.

Now, reaction is good. Reaction has its place, but in the everyday, simple, mundane episodes of life, you just can't go through life reacting. You have to have solitude. You have to have a time of reflection. It's critical to take some time to just think through things, and that means that you have to have a mindset that is open and willing to learn and to grow. [03:15.0]

The late Jim Rohn who was just an amazing person when it came to business application, Jim Rohn said on one occasion, the mind is like a mental factory. What you see, hear and read can pour massive ingredients into your life. He said on one occasion, imagine reading the paper and going to work—I'd like to add to that. Imagine reading all the negative news, watching all the negative news, listening to all the negative news, and then trying to do something positive at work or trying to do something productive—and his argument was very simply to let the right ingredients that you fill the mental factory with, it all begins with thought. Be wise, friend, and careful with what you think about. [04:00.0]

Every day, stand guard at the door of your mind. Decide what goes into that mental factory and what you will determine to be not worthy. For example, crying and complaining, and whining and griping, that will waste your day. Look out for things that have the potential to destroy a positive mindset.

I really believe that the single most important factor in influencing a person's success this very day is mindset. What you think about consistently has a direct impact on your behavior and not the other way around, so it's important to get this fundamental down pat.

We live in a consumer culture, and in that consumer culture, the focus is on what we don't have. The focus is on what we lack, but cultivating a growth mindset is not contingent upon circumstances. It's not even contingent upon what we don't have or what we lack. [05:02.9]

I hear people say all the time, When things get better, I’ll get better. Wrong. I hear people say all the time, When I have money, I’ll donate to that cause. No, not necessarily. You see, a growth mindset says conditions don't determine my values. Conditions don't determine my behavior, whether a mindset does.

Let me bring in Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, to help amplify this point because she wrote an excellent book a few years ago titled, Mindset: Changing The Way You Think To Fulfil Your Potential. Dweck's research challenges the belief that intelligent people are born smart.

According to Dweck, there are two mindsets that we have. We either have a fixed mindset or we have a growth mindset. The fixed mindset, these are people that believe their abilities are fixed, limited. They seek easy tasks that bolster their ego, and if things don't go their way, their confidence cracks and they refuse to adjust course. Hmm. [06:11.6]

Think about this in comparison. People with a growth mindset believe that their abilities and skills can be developed. They are open to learning and tackling problems. They chart new courses and are constantly stretching themselves and challenging themselves to grow. Dweck says people with a growth mindset don't just see challenges, they thrive on seeking challenges. The bigger the challenge, the more they stretch, and she says nowhere can it be seen more than in the world of sports.

Basketball great Michael Jordan is a classic example of a person with a growth mindset. I watched that series. I know many of y'all watched the series, The Last Dance, that chronicles Jordan and the Chicago Bulls and their quest for success. [07:02.5]

Jordan, it's important to remember, is a human being who had good talent, but he transformed himself into arguably the greatest basketball player ever. He wasn't born with raw talent. He wasn't even born a champion. How did he do it? Mindset. His mindset, to improve, to grow, to stretch, to make greatness, dominant, prominent, preeminent, zenith, number one, top drawer, top shelf. As one commentator wrote, Jordan is a living example of how greatness is not born, but self-nourished. Greatness is the inevitable outcome that blooms from a growth of mindset. [07:48.7]

Dweck added, “We like to think of our champions and idols as superheroes who were born different from us. We don’t like to think of them as ordinary people who made themselves extraordinary.” Oh-ho, baby, that’s a really good point. It reminds me that anybody, absolutely anybody, regardless of circumstances, regardless of background, regardless of conditions can develop a growth mindset.

Friends, I want to ask you a question. Are you not happy with your current mindset? Is it passive? Is it reactive, inconsistent, constantly affected by circumstances? Just like those who've mastered a musical instrument or trained for years to be part of an astronaut crew, or developed into an elite athlete, we can develop a growth mindset if we're willing to pay the price.

Listen to a couple of these characteristics of those who have a growth mindset. I find these fascinating, and also instructive and helpful. [08:57.4]

Number one, people that have a growth mindset, they really fundamentally have convinced themselves that failure is part of the journey. It's part of the process. It's not fatal. Setbacks are just part of the process of getting better and those setbacks demand a particular response.
I have often said that failure can be our greatest personal trainer. Why? Setbacks force you to be honest. After you have blamed everybody that you can blame, after you have constantly lied to yourself about how you try to improve, you still have to look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself one fundamental question—did I really honestly do everything I could possibly do?

Failure is a great personal trainer. Consider this quote from Michael Jordan, quote, “I’ve missed over 9,000 shots in my basketball career. I've lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times, I've been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I have failed over and over and over again in my life, and that's why I succeed.” [10:12.8]

Oh, my goodness. You see greatness comes with a price. Often that price is gift wrapped in the wrapping paper of setbacks, in the wrapping paper of disappointments, in the wrapping paper of failures. Failure is part of the process.

Do you know what another characteristic is of those with a growth mindset? Number two, a person with a growth mindset has a singleness of purpose. You know what I recall all during Michael Jordan's career? He was often asked to offer his opinion on race relations or social justice, and he never did. He never lent his voice while he was playing, the social issues. Now, you can criticize him. You can say whatever you want, but the point is to listen to his response. He said, When I played, I had one focus, to be the best basketball player I could possibly be. [11:11.0]

All right, so the jury is out. Some judge him, some don't, but here's the point. He had a singleness of purpose. I'll never forget reading Napoleon Hill's book, Think and Grow Rich, and he said that truly, truly successful people, they take failure in stride, and they have a singleness of purpose and a burning desire to accomplish that purpose. That was Michael Jordan. Dr. Dweck said the passion for stretching and sticking to it. Even when things break down, even when things are not going well, even in the midst of chaos, if you can stick to it, that's the hallmark of the growth mindset. [11:51.6]

In the final characteristic I want to highlight is that those who have a growth mindset, they practice, practice, practice, practice, practice. There's this great story, after a NBA game, I really believe it was in the divisional playoffs that the Bulls lost, Michael Jordan said to his trainer, “I’ll see you at the gym tomorrow.”

There's another story about the San Francisco 49ers. They had just won a Super Bowl with Steve young as the quarterback and Jerry Rice, one of the wide receivers, the great Jerry Rice. A couple of days after the Super Bowl, Steve Young says he goes back to the 49ers training facility in Redwood City, California, no cars there, but he looks out the back window and he sees Jerry Rice running gassers, sees Jerry Rice running sprints just a couple of days after the Super Bowl. Great people continue to grow. They continue to develop. They continue to work at their craft. [12:50.0]

I am so impressed by this researcher at Florida State. He's a sociologist by training. His name is Anders Ericsson, and he looks at extraordinary performance and he has identified what he calls genius-level performers from all different walks of life from musicians all the way to athletes, and this is what he concluded. After studying genius-level performances for years, he says it takes a minimum of 10 years of purposeful, intentional, directed practice before you see the first signs of genius.

Here's the problem. We live in an outcome-oriented society. An outcome-oriented society says, I want it and I want it now because the commercials can tell me I can lose 50 pounds in one weekend. The commercials can tell me that I’ll be an NBA player in one month. There are television shows that say I’ll be an instant singer and a huge star after this six-week run, and so we focus on the outcome where the real genius is the process filled with setbacks that force us to be honest, that place a demand upon us, to keep growing, to keep stretching, to keep learning, to keep practicing. [14:08.9]

Friends, all of these are within our grasp. I mean, just think about it. Failure, just a mindset that says, You know what? Failure is part of the process. A mindset that says, You know what? For a season of my life, I'm going to have a singleness of purpose and then I'm going to practice, practice, practice. In fact, matter of fact, I'm going to do more than expected. I'm going to work on the basics.

I liked that word “basics.” It was a former Pittsburgh Steelers coach, Chuck Noll, who said on one occasion, “Champions are champions not because they do anything extraordinary but because they do the ordinary things better than anybody else.”

I was taught that by a third-grade dropout daddy. He said to me on one occasion, “Do you want to be great?”

I said, “I do, Daddy.”

He said, “Why?”

I said, “So I can be rich.”

My daddy said, “Wrong answer.” He said, “You ought to be great for one reason, to elevate those around you. So, I ask you again, son, do you want to be great?” [15:04.8]

I said, “Yes, Daddy.”

He said, “Why?” and I reluctantly said, “So that I could make those around me better, so that I could elevate others.”

My dad was right. My dad told me when I was just a kid that if you work on elevating those around you, the money will take care of itself. But here’s the heart of his advice for us to be great all centered on that notion of basics, I can remember a third-grade dropout daddy, the wisest man I ever met in my life saying, if you can execute the basics better than anybody else, you'll grow. You'll stretch. You'll do things that others won't do.

My dad, my dad in his simple wisdom was teaching me not to have a fixed mindset of passivity and inconsistency. My dad was teaching me to have a growth mindset, committed to developing and learning, regardless of the pain, regardless of the setbacks—and, friends, it is well within all of our reach, isn't it? [16:07.8]

I want you to think about this for just a few days. I want to choose a growth mindset to accomplish the goals that I’ve set out to accomplish, goals that are important to me. In order to do that, I want to start today by realizing that failure is not fatal, that I'm going to choose a singleness of purpose with a burning desire to accomplish that purpose, and I'm going after it every single day, regardless of situations and regardless of circumstances. Let's work on that together and let’s watch some different outcomes take place.

Oh, friend, I’ve enjoyed this time. I'm encouraged. I'm uplifted to change my mindset. Until we meet again, this is Dr. Rick, asking you the most important question I can ask today, how you livin’? [16:59.3]

Are you ready to make an impact in your world right now? Do you want to stop existing and start living your best life right now? Dr. Rick wants to give you the first chapter of his bestselling book, “Lessons from a Third Grade Dropout,” absolutely free. Just go to www.RickRigsby.com/FreeGift to get the print or audiobook right now.

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