Breaking Barriers To Growth

Family dynamics, politics, upbringing, the values taught to us, or childhood experiences heavily influence and shape our minds.

However, it's not the only factor that develops our mindset; it is undoubtedly a significant contributor.

What we've adopted may be damaging our growth. At some point, the views, assumptions, rules and beliefs projected into us will no longer serve our needs.

As society and the environment we live in change, so must we, but how often do we reflect on innate beliefs? For many, never, or at least not until we are obstructed or challenged.

From a cultural standpoint, I've seen this first-hand; perhaps you can relate. Often we see our families live by standards, beliefs or rules that served them in their lives. Are they better for it? Maybe so. There are still areas within their paradigm that create problems today.

Here's an example.

To further improve my health, I decided to stop walking 10km around my neighbourhood and started a gym membership. When Speaking to my mum, she instantly responded with, "ok, good, but you will have to continue going for the rest of your life; otherwise, you'll put weight back on" 🤔.

The idea of committing to something long-term seemed like a fear for her. It skewed her viewpoint. It got me thinking that to overcome that, she must shift the mindset that resists change—it's odd, considering that she is someone who does show commitment. In her previous job, she was a loyal employee for 17 years.

This period of dedication and enjoyment in her job may ave reinforced the belief that commitments should be enduring and long-lasting. Her paradigm values stability, predictability and minimising disruption to a routine which causes her to deviate from such activities. As much as it's a significant commitment on her part, comfort can rule overgrowth.

She lives by a particular routine, a pattern which could add certainty and familiarity to her life. Changing and adopting a better mindset might be a significant first step, but if her paradigms remain unchanged, it can create a barrier to sustained personal growth and transformation; she'd always go against herself.

A Change In Your Perspective

Here's a diagram that reflects how our paradigm affects the results we want to produce:

Our lens of the world creates what we experience, establishing meaning in our minds. Based on those experiences, our emotions are triggered, and we behave a particular way. The results we create, therefore, are subject to our paradigm.

I want to show you a great example of how a slight shift in our thinking can significantly impact our ability; check out the illustration below, which you can find in Stephen Covey's book: 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People.

Try to find and count up; 1, 2, 3 and so on until you reach 54.

See if you can do it within 60 seconds. GO!

So, how far do you get?

Suppose you reached 54; good on you! I want you to reflect on the challenge of going through the numbers without any strategy. The most potent of what we experience is the uncertainty of where the number is, moving our eyes from one place to another, hoping to find the correct number.

So let me give you a strategy, and I want you to try again. Before you have a go again, review this system of thinking:

Seek the first number from box one, the second number in box two, the third in box three, all the way to box nine. When you reach box nine, repeat the pattern by returning to box one for the following number. Go!

How'd you get on?

Quicker at finding the number this time? Much more manageable, I bet, with a method or strategy to navigate yourself with.

Imagine these numbers represented our lives; we had to navigate them one step at a time. Without a model or method to work through it, we may spend more than the required time in pursuit of the next stage, which can send us down a path we didn't intend, be distracted or give up.

It's a profound exercise.

Change happens when you decide

So what's one thing we can do to begin to create change?

Practise Self-awareness: the ability to be mindful of our thoughts, emotions, our behaviours.

Get clear on what is holding you back. Self-reflection is a powerful tool we have as humans. The problem we face isn't the problem; it's a perceived problem.

Take, for example, myself.

Many years of adversity had built a mindset of:

"Nothing works"

"I've tried everything."

"I'm not good enough."

"Whatever I do, it will fail".

That ingrained belief held me back for many years. I sought the "right" answers externally. It didn't help; it made things worse; I was more conflicted.

Any time I was in a position to act upon something new, I'd self-sabotage. I'd be distracted, seek to do something else, prolong doing something, make excuses disguised as valid points, "I know what I'm doing", thoughts.

"Why try when it's not going to work anyways." - That was the mindset reflective of a paradigm of Failure.

The problem I saw wasn't the problem. Innately I believed that failure must be avoided at all costs. It stems from a fear of making mistakes, being judged, or experiencing disappointment. The problem was how my paradigm led to a reluctance to try new things or take risks due to the anticipation of failure.

No matter how much I change my mindset, we'd always remain conflicted without directly changing the paradigm.

What’s my alternative, then?

Alternative paradigm: Taking action and embracing challenges leads to personal growth and success.

Better mindset within that paradigm: I can overcome obstacles; It's not a failure if I learn from it.

If a particular belief holds you back, ask yourself, "Who said so?" Question where that belief came from. Get to the bottom of it as you'll find that it originated elsewhere, and you've instilled it.

Champions, if you find this useful, please share it.

Take care.

Anks Patel

Founder & Self-Leadership Coach

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