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These days you will be hard pressed NOT to find snobbish types who swear up and down that if you’re not growing, you’re not advancing. In other words you don’t have a “growth mindset.”

“An excess of light blinds the human eye; an excess of noise ruins the ear; an excess of condiments deadens the taste. The effect of too much horse racing and hunting is bad, and the lure of hidden treasure tempts one to do evil.”

Excerpt From
Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu

We have become obsessed with being productive, so much so that we lost touch with how actual growth happens.

In the fitness world, in order to become stronger you have to stimulate the muscles then take prescribed, mandatory rest periods in order for the muscles to grow.

Anyone who has trained for quite some time knows that they cannot grind it out in the gym indefinitely. Their body will shut down on them. This is called “overtraining.” This is difficult to do but it is possible.

The same goes with the mind. You cannot always “do.” You cannot always be in a growth mindset.

Constantly engaging in a flurry of action will betray a growth mindset. It burn you out quicker than you can imagine.

The motivational influencers have it all wrong when it comes to growth.

Contrary to what growth motivators believe, a growth mindset is already inherent within you.

You just need to chill out.

Be “Lazy”

Want a growth mindset? Be lazy more often.
Allow yourself time to recharge.

“Continuing to fill a pail after it is full the water will be wasted. Continuing to grind an axe after it is sharp will soon wear it away.”

Excerpt From
Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu

There is a season for everything, a time for everything.

There’s a time for growth and a time for receding, a time for success and a time for failure.

Your neurotic obsession with having a growth mindset will hinder you in the long run. There is no such thing as constant growth.

As an artist, I like to “fill the well” by giving myself time to be “lazy.”

There are prolonged periods of time where I screw around. While screwing around, I am indirectly nurturing my growth mindset.

I do things that are seemingly wastes of time but in reality. This gives my mind time to work on problems that I couldn’t solve while focusing my conscious attention on them.

There are also prolonged periods of time where I am busy with work that’s actually productive.

But it would be nothing without the time I spent “wasting time.” In fact, I would say that I am at my most creative after I come back from a long period of screwing around. How about that for a growth mindset?

I met a dude at the gym who did not know what it meant to take some time off.

Every time I would see him, he would have a new injury.

While I would be making progress from month to month because of my week long rest periods, he would tweak his shoulder one day, then throw his back out another day.

Literally a new injury every week.

I spent a whole 30 minutes trying to convince him to take a deload week one day to no avail.

You must know when to chill out and take a break.

The Path Of Least Effort

“Tao is apparently inactive (wu wei) and yet nothing remains undone. If princes and kings desire to keep) everything in order, they must first reform themselves. (If princes and kings would follow the example of Tao, then all things will reform themselves.) If they still desire to change, I would pacify them by the simplicity of the ineffable Tao.”

Excerpt from
Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu

When you do nothing, all is accomplished.

This may seem counterintuitive but it becomes apparent when you think of it in terms of movement being relative to another object that is also moving.

For example, two cars on the highway moving at the same speed seem to each other to not be moving at all, does that mean they are not moving relative to the environment?

Of course not. You are an expression of ever moving life itself. Once you understand this concept you can never not accomplish anything you want.

It’s all about perspective.

Alignment Is Key For A Growth Mindset

“When your body is not aligned [形不正],

The inner power will not come.

When you are not tranquil within [中不靜],

Your mind will not be well ordered.

Align your body, assist the inner power [正形攝德],

Then it will gradually come on its own.”

Verse 11

Alignment is a concept that is understated in the growth mindset community. It’s almost as if it is too esoteric for some.

The mere mention of “alignment” or “alignment with source energy” turns these people off.

We need to have more conversation surrounding the reality of aligning with nature in order to accomplish our goals.

When we don’t align with nature, we start to leak energy.

Alignment is in a physical sense is as simple as: when hungry eat, when tired sleep, when restless take a walk.

The simplicity in that statement is something that many people will disregard because it is too obvious.

In fact, advice is given in opposition to that exact statement.

We tend to pride ourselves in becoming a part of this burnout culture. I would even like to posit that alignment is the ultimate growth mindset because we are actively in tune with what our bodies need.

Alignment is similar to the section above on “being lazy” in the sense that if you align with what is nature, you allow it to come to you. Taking time off, taking a deep breath and letting go so that it all comes to you is essential.

Eventually you will produce work that is effortless.

Have you ever been in a flow state? Where, if you’re a writer or dancer, the words and moves just seem to “come to you” on its own?

Or if you’re a public speaker, you get up on the stage with no script or teleprompter and just speak from your heart without saying “um” and “like” every other sentence?

That is what alignment looks like.

If You Want Growth Mindset Stop Caring About What Others Think

“To be favored is humiliating; to obtain it is as much to be dreaded as to lose it. To lose favor is to be in disgrace and of course is to be dreaded.”

Excerpt From
Tao Te Ching
Lao Tzu

I’m going to close with one statement I agree with the growth motivation community on, not caring what others think.

Caring about what others think is the reason you work yourself to death in the first place.

You have something to prove don’t you?

You think working yourself to the bone and becoming successful will stick it to them once and for all and you can go about your merry life.

I’m here to tell you that you will not feel better once you “make it,” at least if you are doing it for superficial reasons such as this.

If you are working hard to become successful for the approval of others, you will actually become more anxious and more approval oriented.

You have to do it for you. When you do it for you, when you stop caring what others think, you will be able to move at your own pace.

You will be able to not judge yourself when you need some time off to rest or just to play to have some fun.

Not caring what others think allows for you to become more attuned to your own inner voice. You’ll be in alignment with your intuition. This is where success becomes fun and not a burden.

You’ll be able to do work that your proud of, not work that you’re chained to.

So for now, forget about “adopting a growth mindset.” You are fine the way you are.

You just have to listen to your own inner being.


-Anthony Boyd


Tao Te Ching – Lao Tzu

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