HOW TO DEVELOP A GROWTH MINDSET

“When you stop growing, you start dying”. – Williams. S. Burroughs.

One of the characteristics of living things is growth. If you have ever planted anything like a flower, one of the things you want to watch out for is whether it is growing and looking fresh with healthy leaves. You get concerned if you do not see any sign of growth after a few weeks of planting. You then begin to fear that your plant may be dying, and you try to make the plant survive. As humans, we are happy when a child grows physically, socially, and intellectually. If a child is not growing physically, or cannot interact with others, or is not able to grasp certain things at some point, then there is cause for worry.

Your mindset is a set of beliefs that shape how you understand yourself and the world. Your mindset determines how you feel, think, and behave. For example, you may loathe trying anything new because you believe you will fail. A Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, has identified two types of mindset; fixed mindset and growth mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that their abilities cannot change. For instance, if they are good at Maths, they do not require extra effort to pass.

On the other hand, people with a growth mindset believe that they can become better at anything with persistence and conscious effort. If you strive for excellence, having a growth mindset is crucial. But how do you develop one? Here are some ways.

 

DON’T DISPARAGE FAILURE

Many people believe that failure is terrible because society seems to suggest so. After all, nobody recognizes those who came last in the race or the class. All the praises and prices usually go to the best performers. However, failure is an integral part of success. Before a child learns how to walk, there are many falls. But the fall does not stop a child from getting up and trying again. If you wrote an exam and failed, don’t think it is the end of the world. Enroll for the exam again. Go back to the books if you are learning to code and you’ve not gotten the language. Don’t think it is the end of the world because you failed once. Instead, work on improving yourself for future performance.

 

FOCUS ON THE JOURNEY

Late American tennis star Arthur Ashe once said, “success is a journey, not a destination.” Too often, people focus on their big goals and forget the process. Big goals and dreams are reasonable, but they are also not easy to achieve. Rather than focus on the purpose of losing weight, for example, enjoy the new habits you learn, such as healthy eating, discipline, and the knowledge that you can do it. Thinking of Writing a book is a great idea. But rather than focusing on the published book, think about the new words and better writing skills you get in the process. These are small wins that point you towards excellence.

 

TAKE ON CHALLENGES

A person who has a growth mindset will always take on new challenges. Challenges are opportunities for growth so embrace them. The hardest part of any accomplishment is in starting. Take the first step to reading for ten minutes a day to improve your reading habit. Learn to listen and ask questions when you don’t understand. Face your fears, and you may be surprised that it is not as difficult as you thought.

I believe that you can mark yourself out for excellence if you decide. The question is, do you want to be an excellent person?

I will love to hear your comments and questions in the comments section below.  

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Besidone Ebule is the Project Director at B2SL, where he works to encourage personal development and build success networks. You can contact him at bessy.ebule@b2sl.org.

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WHAT IT MEANS TO HAVE A MINDSET FOR EXCELLENCE

“Productivity is never an accident. It is always the result of a commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort”. – Paul J. Meyer.

You may find yourself constantly battling pressure to work towards excellence in all you do by your parents, friends, or pressures from society. For some people, it means always coming first in class. For others, it may be striving to be the most outstanding in the group. Other people may constantly desire to be in the spotlight because of their achievements. What is more daunting is that there seems to be a global pressure for a competition which makes people instinctively compare their lives with others. The result is that we find ourselves always striving to do better in all circumstances. For you to strive for excellence, you must first understand it.

Excellence is the quality of being outstanding or extremely good, and in that sense, striving for it is not a bad idea. After all, who doesn’t want to be associated with outstanding results with all their attractions? Excellent results bring recognition, monetary reward most times, privileges, and a sense of importance. For example, if you have come tops in your class or recently led your group to victory, you will feel a sense of fulfillment. However, it would help knowing when striving for excellence is taken out of context and negative. Here are some tips on having the right mindset for excellence.

 

KNOW YOURSELF

Success is desirable and attracts attention, but you must realize that everyone who succeeded paid the price. When you hear that Lionel Messi is the best football player globally and has a net worth of $400 million, you may be tempted to envy him and want to be like him. Or, when you hear that Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa, you may aspire to take his position. However, for you to succeed, you must know where you are. Are you practicing the way Messi does? Do you have an eye for investments like Dangote does? It is a wild goose chase without answering that question, envying them, or wanting to be like them.

 

DON’T COMPARE YOURSELF WITH OTHERS

It is important not to compare yourself with others in your quest for excellence, but others can inspire you. For example, if you have done your best at anything, you shouldn’t bother about how other people have succeeded. Let’s say you wrote WAEC, NECO, or JAMB, and you have passed all your subjects with credits while your friend has passed all subjects with distinctions; you should have no cause to worry. Your friend may have had extra learning resources that you don’t have access to or may understand things quicker than you. You should not count yourself a failure based on other people’s successes.

 

WORK TO IMPROVE YOURSELF

Having a mindset of excellence will inspire you to work on improving yourself. If you fail a question or an exam, ask yourself sincerely, why did I not pass this subject? What can I do to turn my failure around? Do not give up on yourself and stop trying because people who give up never succeed in the end. If you must set out time to study until you understand how to answer the questions, do so! If you must get extra help from people who know more than you, do so by all means, and you can measure if you are growing or not.

When you have a mindset of excellence, there is a conscious effort to improve yourself better than you performed the last time. It is not striving to be someone else or competing with others so that you can outshine them.

Please let us know if you have any comments or questions or need further help in the comments section.

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THE RESULTS OF HARD WORK

Antoine Griezmann, the French footballer, once said, ‘With hard work and effort, you can achieve anything.’ I genuinely believe that virtually everything substantial is impossible to achieve if one doesn’t work hard. It is clear that hard work comes with pain and sacrifices, but one sure fact is that a hard worker is on the right path to achieve his dreams. 

So many great inventors, leaders, pacesetters began life at a place of disadvantage. Maybe they didn’t have good primary schooling or the necessary funds to achieve their dreams. But what did they do? Sit back and watch and blame life? No! they worked so hard, paid so many sacrifices, and got the reward in the end. They pulled of marvelous discoveries and inventions. Some others broke massive records, making them so famous that they became famous worldwide even after their death. That is what hard work can bring.

Here are some of the benefits of hard work:

Hard work brings success: John Carmack, a successful video gaming technologist, said, “focused hard work is the key to success.” John’s statement is as valid as it could be. The little effort, the little step in the right direction, is what sets one up for success. We’ve seen this in the career of some great sportsmen, how the amount of work they put in brought them to a great level above others.

Hard work brings self-fulfilment: Let’s say you have an exam, and you put in long night hours to read and prepare. After this, you write the exam, and when the results are released, you find out that you did amazingly. How would you feel? Happy with yourself, right? That’s the kind of self-fulfilment that comes with working hard.

Hard work brings recognition: It doesn’t matter how talented one is. If he doesn’t work hard, he won’t be recognized. Anywhere a genuine hard worker is, his results would always bring about recognition and recommendation.

In conclusion, hard work pays as Lou Holtz, a sportsman, sums it up by saying, “winners embrace hard work. They love the discipline of it, the trade-off they’re making to win. Losers, on the other hand, see it as punishment. And that’s the difference”. Try to work hard from now and enjoy the benefits.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Noble Uzoagba is a student. He is dedicated to success in his academics and future career. He is a member of B2SL Success Hub.

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MAKING HARD WORK SMART

“I think that my biggest attribute to any success that I have had is hard work. There really is no substitute for working hard”. – Maria Bartiromo.

Over time there has been misconception and out-of-context explanations about hard work and ‘smart’ work. Some people try to shy away from the fact that you need hard work to succeed. Unfortunately, no successful person got there by not working hard and still making progress by the same hard work.

There is no such thing as ‘smart’ work without hard work, but there can be hard work without brilliant work. After working hard, you seem to be working smart because of lots of experiences from working hard. Innovative work is simply putting your hard work effort in the right direction of success. On a lighter note, we now have smartphones everywhere because we have people who worked hard on several phones to get us to where we are today.

In 2002, Elon Musk, one of the world’s richest men, founded SpaceX with one of his goals to decrease the cost and improve the reliability of the access to space, ultimately by ten. The first three launches of the rocket to achieve this between 2006 and 2008 all resulted in failures. These failures almost ended the company as Musk planned financing was to cover the costs of only three launches. Tesla, SolarCity, and Musk personally were all nearly bankrupt at the same time as well. Musk was reportedly “waking from nightmares, screaming and in physical pain” because of the stress from the hard work to turn around the failures.

After putting so much effort and failing, it felt as though he was not being clever. However, things started to turn around when they achieved the first successful launch on the fourth attempt on 28 September 2008. Years later, after the success achieved from much effort, Elon Musk is now being seen and talked about as one of the most intelligent persons alive today.

By now, this should be clear that it’s not just enough to have clear goals like Elon Musk, but you must be ready to put in the needed effort to achieve them. Never think you are not being smart enough when you are failing. If you keep putting in the required consistent effort, you will eventually become someone the world will count as bright, just like Elon Musk.

I look forward to hearing from you in the comments section on your current journey working hard on one goal or the other. You are also free to ask questions where you need clarity.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles Adimah is an entrepreneur and the Project Manager of B2SL INITIATIVE, where he manages the vision. He is a great believer that a prosperous Nigeria is a product of successful Nigerians. You can reach him via email at charles@b2sl.org.

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DEVELOPING THE SPIRIT OF HARD WORK

There is a world of difference between a person working hard and the one who hardly works. We often find ourselves lost amid activities that we wonder whether we are yielding the desired result. If you are not careful, you sometimes spend hours, days, and even weeks truly busy, but at the end of it all, you will realize that you have just been wasting your time doing nothing. Here are some of the strategies for developing the spirit of hard work below.

Specify tasks to do and allocate time for having them done. Don’t be a victim of multi-tasking and over-commitment beyond your capability. Always isolate one to do at a particular time, then proceed to the next. When you complete tasks one after another, it helps you keep track of your achievements and the pace at which you accomplish them.

Avoid procrastinating. Never put up for later what you can do now. One thing with shifting responsibility is that you will always find out that the same reason that made you postpone a particular task still exists at that future time which you pushed it. So, whatever is worth doing, is worth doing now and perfectly.

Ensure you make adequate provision for rest. You can’t feel good and do good if you don’t have good health. Rest allows us time to generate and replenish the energy we expend at work or any task our body needs to complete. There is a saying that people who don’t sleep because they don’t want to fall sick will surely fall ill because they failed to sleep. Your body is the vehicle that will carry you through this experience called life. So, make sure you have a good time for rest and make sure that you eat well if you have the means. It is also important to note that overfeeding and addiction to food have the psychological tendency to make you lazy. So, your health (physical and mental) determines your productivity also whether physical or mental.

Also, to develop the spirit of hard work, ensure you have accountability partners. By this I mean, you have some person(s) that will always remind you of your commitments, assignments, engagements, and projects. Your accountability partner can be your mentor, your friend, your parent, and your elders. You can also use To-Do-List, where you itemize all your schedules in order of preference and urgency and attach a dateline to each item. Above all, be intentional about anything you find yourself doing. Avoid time wasters and unnecessary chats or conversations. Follow these steps, and we will surely meet at the top to do business because you will undoubtedly be successful.

You can tell us your thoughts or questions in the comments section below.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Henry Ibrahim is the Content Creator at B2SL. He loves working with young people to help them discover their purpose in life. You can contact him at Ibrahim@b2sl.org.

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THE MEANING OF HARD WORK

“Luck is great, but most of life is hard work” – Lain Duncan Smith.

It is the beginning of a new month, and who can believe that we are in the 11th month of the year already. We have just about 61 days until the beginning of another year! This year has been a challenging year for most people worldwide, especially with the Coronavirus pandemic and the attendant social and economic consequences. We have shown remarkable resilience in staying afloat up till now, and we can only hope for better days ahead.

Our value focus for November at B2SL is hard work. Without a doubt, you cannot succeed in life if you do not work hard. Many people get scared at the thought of hard work because of the connotation of stress, discomfort, and sustained effort associated with it. Hard work is just like a bitter pill to swallow, yet if we want to succeed, we must work hard just as we swallow bitter pills if we’re going to get well.

So, what is hard work? The online dictionary defines hard work as a great deal of effort or endurance. Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines hardworking as constantly, regularly, or habitually engaged in earnest and energetic work. We can learn from these definitions that everything in life requires effort, from walking to talking, reading to writing, exercising, playing, etc. The second thing we can learn from the definition is that we must put in extra effort if we want to succeed. The extra effort is the game-changer.

One common trend with all successful people is that they put extra effort into winning the prize. For example, throughout the term, you learn different topics in different subjects. At the end of the period, your success will largely depend on how much extra effort you have put into mastering the exercises and examples so you can answer the questions correctly. If you do not put in extra effort to master the topics and answer the questions correctly, you will fail.

How you get your grades in school is not different from how you get your reward in life and become successful. When people want your service or product, they want to see how much extra effort you have put in to satisfy them. The level of effort you put into what you do will determine people’s satisfaction and their willingness to patronize you repeatedly.

As you build yourself up for success, try to imbibe a mindset of hard work into what you do. Think about how you can put in extra effort to improve yourself. Whether it is in your writing, singing, coding, studying, or whatever career you choose. Hard work will not kill you; it will only ensure that you are successful.

As we start the month on a high note of hard work, we would love to hear your experiences or questions in the comments section below.

We wish you all the best.

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THREE BENEFITS OF KNOWLEDGE

Knowledge is the treasure of a wise man – Anonymous.

The dictionary defines knowledge as facts, information, and skills acquired through experience or education. If you know how to swim, you would probably have learned how to float, breathe underwater, move your whole body in a coordinated manner forward or backward, etc. If you did not learn by yourself, someone must have taught you. If you go to a pool, you can immediately differentiate the people who know how to swim from those who cannot. Those who cannot swim will not know how to float, breathe underwater, or move their body in a coordinated manner. In life, before you can do anything, you must know something!

If you look closely at those who excel in their fields, you will observe that they know something more than others. Professional singers know how to pick the right key and pitch, just like experienced teachers know the correct information to provide to their students in a stimulating way. Professional cooks know how to mix the right ingredients for the right taste; doctors diagnose illnesses and prescribe the proper medication. In all the professions mentioned, you will observe that the difference between them and the average person is their knowledge over time. I will highlight three benefits of expertise below.

 

KNOWLEDGE IMPROVES THINKING

The knowledge you have about a subject serves as raw materials for thinking. I once had an experience in a paint factory where a small fire broke out. We use a lot of chemicals in making paint, and most of them are highly flammable. A small fire caused by a bit of carelessness can cause damages worth millions of dollars. A lady in the factory who knew the suitable fire extinguisher to use put the fire off. Why was she able to put the fire off and avoid heavy financial loss? She knew the correct extinguisher to use. She was able to put the fire off because she knew what to do in the circumstance. Just imagine if she did not know what to do at that time. Once your knowledge increases, your thinking capability will improve.

 

KNOWLEDGE EMPOWERS YOU TO SOLVE PROBLEMS

Knowledge is expensive because it empowers you to solve problems. As far as humans exist, there will always be problems to solve. And as far as you can solve problems for people, your pay cheque is guaranteed. All you need to do is empower yourself with the required knowledge to continue to be a solution provider. People will be willing to pay you if you can help them save time or money, take care of the things they cannot, allow them to be more organized, etc. Once you know this, you can investigate an area where people need help and provide solutions. You can start from the immediate environment. What are the challenges that people face? What knowledge can you get to be of service?

 

KNOWLEDGE BREEDS HOPE

Knowledge inspires hope in you because your perspective will be different from those who do not know. Have you ever wondered why people go to doctors when they are ill? Because doctors know about diseases, illnesses, and cures, people run to them when they are sick. What are they doing? They are hoping that the doctor will give them some medication to get well. Notice that the patient does not have to know the cure. But knowing a doctor who knows the treatment inspires hope of getting better.

What knowledge are you acquiring now? How will it benefit you and those around you? Let me know in the comments section below, or feel free to ask any questions you may have.

I wish you all the best. 

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Besidone Ebule is the Project Director at B2SL, where he works to encourage personal development and build success networks. You can contact him at bessy.ebule@b2sl.org.

 

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THE NEED FOR KNOWLEDGE, UNDERSTANDING AND WISDOM

“All our knowledge begins with the senses, proceeds then to understanding and then ends with reason.” – Immanuel Kant

You will agree with me that you and most people around you believe they need knowledge, understanding and wisdom to accomplish great things in life. So the problem most times is not whether we know that we need these things, but how much of them we really need. Your need for knowledge, understanding and wisdom will forever be on the increasing order as you progress from one stage of life to another.

For example, when you were in primary one you were taught simple addition and subtraction. But as you progressed to primary two through to six, the way the same addition and subtraction were taught seemed to become more complex as you made progress from one class to the other.

With knowledge being the starting point of everything, understanding is simply getting used to the knowledge you are interacting with while wisdom is using the knowledge you have mastered to guide your reasoning in solving problems or delivering results. This therefore means that without knowledge and proper understanding you will not be able to demonstrate wisdom when it’s time to make decisions.

In looking at the life of the world renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson, we will see how he was able to move from knowledge to wisdom in creating a successful professional career as a medical doctor.

In the University of Michigan Medical School Carson struggled academically at first, doing so poorly on his first set of comprehensive exams that his faculty adviser recommended he drop out of medical school or take a reduced academic load and take longer to finish. He continued with a regular academic load, and his grades improved to average in his first year of medical school. By his second year of medical school, Carson began to excel academically by seldom attending lectures and instead studying textbooks and lecture notes from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. 

Studying so hard means Carson was acquiring the needed knowledge that will help him stand out later in his professional career.

Much later as a medical doctor Carson was the lead neurosurgeon of a 70-member surgical team that separated conjoined twins Patrick and Benjamin Binder, who had been joined at the back of the head. The separation surgery held promise in part because the twin boys had separate brains.

We can see wisdom in action here as the knowledge acquired over time and well understood was used to carry out such impossible surgery.

This is why you need knowledge, understanding and wisdom. With these three acting as one, you can also do the impossible like Ben Carson.

I look forward to seeing your comment on the comment section so I can know if this article was helpful or not. You can also ask questions if you have any.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Charles Adimah is an entrepreneur and the Project Manager of B2SL INITIATIVE, where he manages the vision. He is a great believer that a prosperous Nigeria is a product of successful Nigerians. You can reach him via email at charles@b2sl.org.

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THE PURSUIT OF KNOWLEDGE

“If a man empties his purse into his head, no man can take it away from him. An investment in knowledge always pays the best interest.” – Benjamin Franklin.

Benjamin Franklin was one of America’s founding fathers. He had little formal education, which ended when he was ten years old. At twelve, he was an apprentice to his elder brother James, a printer in Boston. Franklin left his brother and went out to work as a printer in Philadelphia at 17. He went to England to work in the printing business for a few years. He later came back to Philadelphia to start a printing business that printed various items, including government pamphlets, books, and currency. Franklin was a voracious reader and went on to teach himself how to become a skilled writer. Franklin’s success in the printing business pushed him to the limelight and made him a statesman, author, publisher, scientist, and diplomat.

Lessons from Franklin’s story.

It takes humility to learn – Although Franklin had limited formal education, he did not allow that to deter his ambition. He was humble enough to understand the printing business from his elder brother and taught himself how to be an excellent writer. Notice that Franklin did not complain about his lack of education but instead looked for ways to educate himself. You may not have all the money you need now to pursue your dream courseHowever, if you are humble enough, you will find ways to educate yourself towards your goal. It takes humility first to recognize your limitations and then work to overcome them. The internet is a great place to gather resources that will enhance your capability to achieve your goals. Be humble enough to run after relevant knowledge and stop wasting time on content that will not develop you.

It takes time to learn– Learning is not spontaneous. You will need to dedicate some quality time to anything you are learning. One common trait of all successful people is that they all invest time into learning about their field. You can see how Franklin learned from his brother for five years and then went on to work for experience before starting his own company. You may not need to wait that long for you to chase your dreams, but you need some time to familiarise yourself with the knowledge you need to succeed in your field. There is no shortcut when it comes to learning. 

Knowledge comes at a cost– If you want to learn, be ready to pay the price. Knowledge never comes free. You either pay directly or indirectly. When Franklin did not go to school to pay fees, he learned under his brother. During that time, his freedom would have been limited. Even if you search for things from the internet, someone paid for the knowledge before they could share it with you. Remember that you also paid for an internet subscription before you could access the material. So, knowledge is not free after all.

Embrace the habit of pursuing knowledge because it is an investment that pays ultimately.  

 I will be looking forward to hearing from you in the comments section below.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Besidone Ebule is the Project Director at B2SL, where he works to encourage personal development and build success networks. You can contact him at bessy.ebule@b2sl.org.

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KNOWLEDGE IS THE KEY TO A SUCCESSFUL LIFE

“Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” – Kofi Annan.

Welcome to October. Our focus this month is on knowledge which is key to every human success. Knowledge is the abstract ideas, intellect, and collection of information garnered by contact with events and exposure to real-life situations. To know means being exposed to information or having the abstract ability to say or perform something. One’s ability to talk, walk, or do anything depends on the amount of knowledge they have about the task or action in question.  

We are already two months away from the year 2022, and the world is still struggling to recover from the impact of the Corona Virus pandemic. Much effort has been put in place to combat and eradicate this pandemic, but human knowledge is yet to reach a breakthrough on finding a total cure to the COVID 19 disaster. This situation indicates that whatever we don’t know will always be more significant than us. However, this is not the only problem that plagues humanity begging for a solution. 

Most successful people in history became successful because they knew how to solve those problems. The Wright brothers, who solved the problem of an easy and faster means of transportation by inventing the airplane, are a good example.

We hope to gain from going to school the knowledge that will help us solve problems and live a life of significance within human society. The pursuit of knowledge makes you relevant and of more excellent value to your immediate environment because you will have what will make people come to you. We get paid for two things in life. The value we take to the market and the value we become. But we get paid most for the value we become. All of these cannot be possible if we don’t know how to produce what to take to the market, or we refuse to learn to add value to ourselves to become solution providers. 

What do you know that will make people come to you? Find an area of life and try to understand more about it. Begin to challenge yourself to be hungry to learn more because it will enable you to do more and be sought after the more so that your life will be more significant and valuable to the human family. In no distant time, you will become a force to be reckoned with and pave the way for you before great men.

I will be excited to know what you are learning or to know what questions you are asking in the comments section below.

 

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Henry Ibrahim is the Content Creator at B2SL. He loves working with young people to help them discover their purpose in life. You can contact him at Ibrahim@b2sl.org.

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