Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential

Happy Saturday RM fam!

Hope you’re having a fab weekend so far!

I’ve been making the most of this glorious weather that has hit Scotland all of a sudden today and catching up on my reading. My current read of choice is from Dr. Carol Dweck titled “Mindset: How you can fulfil your potential” and it’s SO good! The pages are filled with golden drops of goodness that I had to share and recommend to you guys!

One thing me and Coco have in common is we LOVE a good book. I love a book that makes you think and reflect on what you’re reading. If you’re also into that – as well as learning about the mind/psychology – then this is for you.

 

 

Carol Dweck is highly known for her work on the fixed and growth mindset. In this book she also goes about how people can change their mindset and more importantly  maintaining the change. Something she wrote that truly spoke to me was “It’s amazing-once a problem improves, people often stop doing what caused it to improve. These changes have to be supported or they can go away faster than they appeared” (p.243) phew!

If you are not familiar, here’s how Dweck breaks down understanding the fixed and growth mindset:

Fixed mindset – people who believe their basic abilities, their intelligence and talents are just fixed traits.

Growth mindset– individuals who believe their talents can be developed through strategies, good teaching, hard work and persistence.

The advantages of having a growth mindset may seem obvious, but after being 100% real with myself and reflecting, I often would have a fixed mindset in certain situations.

Dweck encourages the reader throughout each chapter to think about their way of thinking. Is your way of thinking hindering or encouraging you?

How is your mindset? Are you willing to try again if you fail the first time? How do you see setbacks – as an indication of developing your skills or as an indication to avoid/label yourself as a failure?

 

I LOVED chapter 4 where she writes about athletes and their mindset when it comes to challenges (this chapter for me was really inspiring!). She quotes a famous statement made by Michael Jordan when he was talking about his failures in his career:

“I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty six times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”

Jordan had the growth mindset, he embraced his mistakes and failures instead of letting them define him. His mind-set was set right….and look where that got him!

 

As you can probably tell I got a LOT from this book, and will for sure re read a few more times to get more golden pieces of wisdom!

 

I’d recommend this book to anyone and everyone!

What are you currently reading? I would love to know.

 

 

Chloe x

 

The Rope Illustration by Francis Chan

Happy Saturday!

Recently I saw Pastor Francis Chan use such a great illustration which showed the timeline for our existence both on earth and in eternity. The points he shared were such gold I thought I had to share for those who haven’t seen it.

A very small part of the rope is coloured red – representing the length of our life here on earth. The rest of the rope was white – which was our existence for eternity which goes across the stage.

The illustration reminded me how the choices we make here on earth, what we do within that red part, will effect the rest of that rope. It’s so easy to worry only about the little red part, which can steer us from seeing the full perspective of eternity. Chan made the point that there are so many of us only living and focusing for the little red part that it consumes us.

Psalm 49 was a chapter I read and reflected on after watching this illustration. We can get so caught up with gaining things from the world, that we forget about the (much) bigger picture.  Psalm 49 explains that people even with all the wealth and riches of the world can’t take that with them “for they will take nothing with them when they die, their splendour will not descend with them” (Psalm 49:17) as blunt as it seems that’s where material and worldly things get left behind.

If you haven’t already, I highly suggest watching the video. Got so much food for thought and hope that you do too!

 

Chloe x

Ambition: Gaining the world and losing your soul ( Part 1)

As I work towards launching and growing a business, I read a lot of business literature on the subject of ambition. I am building a carefully curated list on my Kindle app, Pinterest, Instagram, safari reading list and iphone notes.  My surroundings are so saturated with this literature, that today, I just wanted to take a step out of it and look upon it; not from within but from the outside. To do this allow me to  whip out my all purpose book, second to no other, original, relevant, timeless…you know the one, it needs no introduction; the Bible! 

What I have noticed is that,  ambition and the things we do as a result of it on the journey, have a way of consuming us. Often the message is, ‘Go get!’  But get what? Why? Who are we becoming as go-getters? To be honest the more I maul over these things, the more I realise that it is easy to become a victim of ambition. A great quote from one my favourite authors, Stephen R. Covey, sums it up nicely. “If the ladder is not leaning against the right wall, every step we take just gets us to the wrong place faster.”

It doesn’t matter how much sleep I give up, how efficient I become or how much money I make. If it’s all leaning against the wrong wall, what was the point in all that ambition. Gaining the world and loosing your soul is a real threat my people. 

Let’s go back to the very  beginning of the word ‘ambition’.  A look at chapter 14 in the book of Isaiah reveals that the concept of ambition goes far back to the beginning. The message of ambition being ‘getting your self to your desired goal at all costs’ is equally as old. 

Isaiah 14:12 – 15
How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
to the depths of the pit.

This right here is an account of Lucifer’s concise business plan outline / executive summary.  Lol! Looking at this verse, you have to admit that this guy was pretty ambitious. He had been watching that throne for a minute, dreaming about what it would be like; being there. That view! That power! No doubt, with some self motivation he decided to take the first step on his ladder. You all know the drill, lol! He was going to work at getting there at all costs. And it cost him his eternity and glory. 

Interestingly, there are a few traits in this text that are not so hard to see in today’s literature on ambition:

  1. Obsession with self.  The devil said in his heart, “I will ascend,…I will raise my throne, I  will sit enthroned,…I will make myself…” But we know how that ended. The devil ended up falling from heaven. “But you are brought down to the realm of the dead, to the depths of the pit.” (Is 14:15) Obsession with self can have many faces in the context of business and career.
  • It can mean not considering the needs  of friends and family at all. 
  • It can mean always feeling the need to be right in all situations. 
  • It can mean doing the wrong things to get where you are trying to go.
  • It can mean pursuing the wrong things all together.
  • It can mean shutting God out.

2.  Lofty and wayward goals. Who in their right mind would eye the throne of God and even make such an attempt ?! And yet ambition has a way of doing this to us. Today’s success literature encourages us to dream big and go for the gusto. Even my favourite christian speakers often tell us if our dream isn’t big enough then, we don’t need God for it. I am not saying this is wrong, am saying ‘Dream big’ is the order of the dreamers in every space!

3. Doing things that are not in your lane. The devil was made to worship God. Not to lead an army against God’s rule or sit on His throne.

Ez 28:14 
You were anointed as a guardian cherub,
for so I ordained you.
You were on the holy mount of God;
you walked among the fiery stones.

He was supposed to be a guardian of the throne. Instead he started vying for the throne. This is easy to do in today’s world. We see so much glory in another person’s lane and suddenly we want to be at the centre of that glory. That glory becomes our passion and ambition and so we neglect the purpose for which we were ordained. 

To be honest, every one of us ambitious people will find ourselves guilty of one or the other of these things in our journey. I wouldn’t be reflecting on this if I hadn’t been guilty of some of these things myself.  So what exactly separates lofty wayward goals from a good vision? What justifies cultivating some relationships and letting go of others in our pursuits? What is that fine line between being envious or being inspired by someone else’s glory?

I believe the answer to these questions is purpose. Purpose contextualises ambition.  Purpose is that wall; it is the why to what. Without purpose, difficulty during the journey can cause us to abort the journey. On the flip side, without purpose, success can cause us to lose sight of who we are becoming . Take a look at this verse of this ‘business man’ (for context) who made it to the top.

Ezekiel 28
By your wisdom and understanding
you have gained wealth for yourself
and amassed gold and silver
in your treasuries.
By your great skill in trading
you have increased your wealth,
and because of your wealth
your heart has grown proud.

Pride set in.

A lot of literature on ambition puts the focus on us. What we must do now to get somewhere, and almost all this stuff is well founded but still has the potential to offset us. The only way to  throw a wrench into the pitfalls of ambition is to factor in God’s purpose.  

Let’s look at some of the pitfalls of the ‘ambition’ ladder leaning against the wall of God’s purpose. 

  • Obsession with getting yourself ahead  – God’s purpose is and always will be people. ‘Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.’ Phil 2:4 
  • Lofty and wayward goals – God’s purpose is that we spend our lives working towards his pre-ordained plans which then become our goals. ‘For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.’ Ephesians 2:10
  • Doing things that are not in your lane. God has endowed each of us with talents to cultivate, while pursuing purpose. ‘…who called his servants and entrusted them with his possessions. To one he gave five talents,  to another two talents, and to another one talent—each according to his own ability.’ Matthew 25:15

Purpose is more important  than ambition, and in the context of God’s purpose, ambition will  have a hard time swaying you or keeping you off course. 

If you are reading this, you are ambitious. What is the context of your dream? What is God’s purpose for you life?

Love you for reading and dreaming.
Don’t stop.

Coco x

A SHORT GUIDE TO GUARDING YOUR HEART

I really love this verse because of what it means in relation to having a good year. It means that it is what flows from your heart that determines your life, not what happens to it. ‘..for out of your heart flows the issues of life.’  Based on this verse it’s not what’s ‘incoming’ during the 365 days, but what’s ‘outgoing’ thats running the show. Many people get upset or excited about the past or future 365, but another 365 days is not a guarantee of better days or worse. Another 365 days, is exactly that; another 365 days!

One thing that’s worth doing, is keeping an end of year journal. For me, this unconsciously began  when I started my blog and youtube channel. I can track ‘my end of year heart state’ all the way back to 2015 because of my coinciding posts. This could be a journal for you, or notes on your phone. By doing this, you will discover some reoccurring things about yourself.  Very importantly you will get an inclination of your ‘end of year heart state’. Where you disillusioned? Why so? Where you happy? 

So what exactly ‘does guarding your heart’ mean? 

I think the answers to that can be found in pondering the different versions of Proverbs 4:23

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. ( NIV)

Guard your heart above all else,  for it determines the course of your life. (NLT)

Above all else, guard your affections. For they influence everything else in your life. (TLB)

Watch over your heart with all diligence, For from it flow the springs of life. (AMP)

Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts. (GNT)

Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life. (The Voice)

These are just a few bible translations worth meditating on. From these we can see different areas of our being coming into play such as the mind, the will and emotions. The verse also suggests that one can be proactive in guarding these areas. Over the years, I have come to appreciate this verse more and more and today, I would like to share what this verse translates into, for my everyday living.

So here’s my short guide to guarding your heart for the next 365 days…

1. Read the psalms; often! I do this as ‘therapy’ to get through real time emotions. The book of Psalms is found in the bible. Many of the Psalms were authored by King David and other contributors include Moses, King Solomon and Asaph. It is a very honest book about human emotions and difficultly. I liken reading the psalms to sitting in on someone’s therapy sessions and being able to relate and learn.  Everyone is prone to  anxiety , discouragement , disappointment and betrayal, and the psalmist expresses these things to his therapist (God) without holding back. It’s also a good book for people who feel intimidated or frustrated by prayer. We see someone clearly expressing himself to God about 101 things. The psalmists lets you know that he did indeed receive comfort and help from the therapist (God). He has both ‘bad sessions’ with complaints and tears and ‘good sessions’ with thanksgiving and praise, until the next session where he comes back to God, asking for help from backstabbers. Haha. It’s actually very real and interesting. And so, whatever happens throughout the year, I learned to approach God, as my therapist. Like the psalmist, I have both bad and good sessions.

2. Find a creative expression. It’s amazing how much joy can come from developing a talent or doing something you have always wanted to do. I tend to try to find mine. In 2014, I started writing my blog and started exercising consistently. It was mentally gratifying. In 2016, I started consciously walking long distances. In 2017, I started my Youtube channel and started to progress my sewing skills. In 2018, I read so many books, that I surprised myself with the total number at the end of the year. Quite naturally, I am a creative person who had a lot of time on my hands which is why every year, there tends to be something new, but this does not have to be the case for you. You just need to start one thing that  feels effortless and brings you joy and spend a little time doing it and building on it.  It will work wonders for your heart.

3. Say less, but be clear and concise in your communication. Communication both yours and others can cause a lot of emotional distress. One can go from sadness to anger to confusion because of a lack of discretion in communication. 

  • Saying less – I once had a good friend ask me about a private matter at a  birthday party among other friends. I call this ‘finding yourself in an episode of ‘Keeping up with the Kardashians.’ Interestingly, I found that I knew next to nothing about the private challenges of these people. You can end up going from an audience of friends to a large viewership. Even in your absence, the strangest or most delicate things become a subject in idle conversation. Which if I am honest, we are all guilty of, therefore am not judging and neither am I encouraging living a secret life; but say only what you need to say to who you absolutely need to say it to! That my dear  reader is probably top 3 of my life lessons thus far.  You will always need a support system but don’t be afraid to redefine this, otherwise you risk your heart being overwhelmed by many other emotions than what you started off with. For me, ‘support system’  now means, ‘God and two or three close prayerful friends.’
  • Being clear and concise in your communication – Don’t spend a  a lot of energy explaining yourself over and over. I was surprised at how tiring many of my relationships where becoming. If I said, ‘No,’ some people still felt that there was room to convince me otherwise, again and again and again! Now I focus on short and concise communication. If I say, I am not coming, I will not entertain you calling me every week to try and get me to come. If you find yourself in these situations, like me you probably had a huge role to play. It means people think you enjoy talking and they will apply this judgment  in every situation. It’s entirely up to you to introduce another style of communication in to the equation.

4. Work hard at minding your own business. It’s not that I previously went looking for gossip, it’s that many things tend to land on my plate and I lacked discretion on what to dissect and what not to dissect, so I would end up wasting time dissecting futile things. 

A good example is once when a married friend  told me, the husband’s needs always come before the children’s. My immediate argument was that, young children can’t feed, clothe or teach themselves whereas a grown man can! This argument took up a great deal of our lunch. In hindsight how does a grown woman’s household arrangement matter to me?! Not in one single way. Imagine having three or four of such long winded conversations with different people in a week. How pointless and exhausting! I used to do this constantly. One remark about natural hair would set off a whole debate. It’s things like that, which am consciously moving away from. They take up so much time and emotional space. Sometimes they even upset friendships and this is so unnecessary. I learned the importance of internal nodding and moving on in conversations. Be choosy in what you eat, some things need to stay on the plate! They are not even worth cutting up.

On the contrary if a friend tells you they are in an abusive relationship or need your in put on something serious , don’t gloss over the conversation.

Simple as they sound, these four things have shaped my day to day and resulted into so much peace and solitude, and I hope they help you shape the next 365 days.

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Coco. xx