Return to site



The Power of Stillness in the Heart of the Storm....

“If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve” 

This advice actually reflects what modern psychology knows about how belief systems about our own abilities and potential fuel our behavior and predict our success.

“Do what you love, and don’t stop until you get what you love. 

Chris Walker

an inquiry into the power of our beliefs, both conscious and unconscious, and how changing even the simplest of them can have profound impact on nearly every aspect of our lives.

"Work as hard as you can, imagine immensities…”

Chris Walker

Getting Stressed - Using Adrenalin

One of the most basic beliefs we carry about ourselves has to do with how we view and inhabit what we consider to be our personality. A “fixed mindset” assumes that our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens which we can’t change in any meaningful way, and success is the result of that inherent intelligence. Work and life become an assessment of how those givens measure up against an equally fixed standard; striving for success and avoiding failure at all costs become a way of maintaining the sense of being smart or skilled. This requires stress, conflict and by consequence, adrenalin. And adrenalin is something we don't have allot of. (1-2 hours a day max).

Staying Calm

A “growth mindset,” on the other hand, thrives on challenge and sees failure not as evidence of unintelligence but as a heartening springboard for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. Out of these two mindsets, which we manifest from a very early age, springs a great deal of our behavior, our relationship with success and failure in both professional and personal contexts, and ultimately our capacity for happiness.

The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life. It can determine whether you become the person you want to be and whether you accomplish the things you value. How does this happen? How can a simple belief have the power to transform your psychology and, as a result, your life?

Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset—(see Myer Briggs and similar personality tests) - creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. If you have only a certain amount of intelligence, a certain personality, and a certain moral character — well, then you’d better prove that you have a healthy dose of them. It simply wouldn’t do to look or feel deficient in these most basic characteristics.

With a Fixed Mindset: Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser? . . .

I’ve seen so many people with this one consuming goal of proving themselves — in the classroom, in their careers, and in their relationships. Every situation calls for a confirmation of their intelligence, personality, or character.

With a Growth Mindset: everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

There’s another mindset in which these traits are not simply a hand you’re dealt and have to live with, always trying to convince yourself and others that you have a royal flush when you’re secretly worried it’s a pair of tens. In this mindset, the hand you’re dealt is just the starting point for development. This growth mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through your efforts. Although people may differ in every which way — in their initial talents and aptitudes, interests, or temperaments — everyone can change and grow through application and experience.

With a growth mindset, a person’s true potential is unknown (and unknowable); that it’s impossible to foresee what can be accomplished with years of passion, toil, and training.

At the heart of what makes the “growth mindset” a formula for inner calm, is that it creates a passion for learning rather than a hunger for approval. Its hallmark is the conviction that human qualities like intelligence and creativity, and even relational capacities like love and friendship, can be cultivated through effort and deliberate practice.

Not only are people with this mindset not discouraged by failure, but they don’t actually see themselves as failing in those situations — they see themselves as learning.

Why waste time proving over and over how great you are, when you could be getting better? Why hide deficiencies instead of overcoming them? Why look for friends or partners who will just shore up your self-esteem instead of ones who will also challenge you to grow? And why seek out the tried and true, instead of experiences that will stretch you? The passion for stretching yourself and sticking to it, even (or especially) when it’s not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mindset. This is the mindset that allows people to thrive during some of the most challenging times in their lives.

This idea, of course, isn’t new — people with the fixed mindset see risk and effort as potential to expose their inadequacies, and, if revealed prove that they come up short in some way.

But the relationship between mindset and effort is a two-way street:

If we choose the growth mindset, we are recognising the opportunity to learn rather than prove something. We take pride in learning from situations rather than fear shame or celebrate success as some form of proof that we're worthy of love.

The Road Less Travelled turns out to be the consequence of choosing a growth mindset, and you begin to understand that the fixed mindset, a belief that your qualities are carved in stone, leads to a host of thoughts and actions, and how a belief that your qualities can be cultivated, growth mindset, leads to a host of different thoughts and actions, taking you down an entirely different road.

The mindsets change what people strive for and what they see as success. . . they change the definition, significance, and impact of failure. . . they change the deepest meaning of effort. But most importantly they change the entire scope for the possibility to relax, enjoy work, remain calm.


What you fear comes near ...

Chris Walker

When you enter a mindset, you enter a new world. In one world — the world of fixed traits — success is about proving you’re smart or talented. Validating yourself. And of course, setting up a fear of failure, fear of being discovered, fear of being not as good as Dad, Mum, or the ironic fantasy icons we create to escape the traits of parents we do not respect. (super common and super destructive to mental strength and inner calm)

In the other — the world of changing qualities — it’s about stretching yourself to learn something new. Developing yourself. The fear of failure might still exist but the world in this situation is not so polarised, not so black (fail) and white (succeed). The fixed mindset will fear failure so desperately that their true ability is rarely enjoyed. Material castles of wealth, golden handcuffs in jobs, public displays of righteousness, build a wall for the fixed mindset that locks in it the very fear that eventually comes near. "shoot a bullet and fear missing the target" and you'll know exactly what I mean.

In one world, failure is about having a setback. Getting a bad grade. Losing a tournament. Getting fired. Getting rejected. It means you’re not smart or talented. In the other world, failure is about not growing. Not reaching for the things you value. It means you’re not fulfilling your potential.


In one world, effort is a bad thing. It, like failure, means you’re not smart or talented. If you were, you wouldn’t need effort. In the other world, effort is what makes you smart or talented.

Using Praise to Change a Mindset from Fixed (stressed) to Growth (Calm)

In her landmark research Carol Dweck, (Mindset: The New Psychology of Success,) gave each of ten children a sequence of fairly challenging problems from a nonverbal IQ test, then praised the student for his or her performance — most had done pretty well. But they offered two types of praise: Some students were told “Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must be smart at this,” while others, “Wow, you got [X many] right. That’s a really good score. You must have worked really hard.” In other words, some were praised for ability and others for effort. The findings, at this point, are unsurprising yet jarring:

The ability praise pushed students right into the fixed mindset, and they showed all the signs of it, too: When given a choice, they rejected a challenging new task that they could learn from. They didn’t want to do anything that could expose their flaws and call into question their talent.

In contrast, when students were praised for effort, 90 percent of them wanted the challenging new task that they could learn from.

Why we get stuck

Many people get stuck in stress, wishing and dreaming about calm, going on meditation retreats or yoga classes or spa treatments only to return back in the morning to unhealthy jobs, or bad relationships, or personal addictions that, in spite of evidence to support a new opportunity to fix things, prefer to give lip service to change but stay stuck in that long corrupted space.

Take children as an example: the growth-mindset children wanted to stretch themselves, because their definition of success was about becoming smarter. Those with “fixed” mentality stayed on the safe side, choosing the easier puzzles that would affirm their existing ability, validating their belief that smart kids don’t make mistakes;

Presence is more important than praise in teaching children to cultivate a healthy relationship with achievement, new research, explores how these mindsets are born — they form, it turns out, very early in life.

In another seminal study, Dweck and her colleagues offered four-year-olds a choice: They could either redo an easy jigsaw puzzle, or try a harder one. Even these young children conformed to the characteristics of one of the two mindsets — those with “fixed” mentality stayed on the safe side, choosing the easier puzzles that would affirm their existing ability, articulating to the researchers their belief that smart kids don’t make mistakes; those with the “growth” mindset thought it an odd choice to begin with, perplexed why anyone would want to do the same puzzle over and over if they aren’t learning anything new. In other words, the fixed-mindset kids wanted to make sure they succeeded in order to seem smart, whereas the growth-mindset ones wanted to stretch themselves, for their definition of success was about becoming smarter.

So why do we lie to ourselves about change? Well, it comes down to our mindset about success and failure...

For the effort-praised kids, the difficulty was simply an indication that they had to put in more effort, not a sign of failure or a reflection of their poor intellect.

Perhaps most importantly, the two mindsets also impacted the kids’ level of enjoyment — everyone enjoyed the first round of easier questions, which most kids got right, but as soon as the questions got more challenging, the ability-praised kids no longer had any fun, while the effort-praised ones not only still enjoyed the problems but even said that the more challenging, the more fun. The latter also had significant improvements in their performance as the problems got harder, while the former kept getting worse and worse, as if discouraged by their own success-or-failure mindset.

Life gets better or worse, depending on how we look at it...

Chris Walker

The most unsettling finding came after the IQ questions were completed, when the researchers asked the kids to write private letters to their peers relaying the experience, including a space for reporting their scores on the problems. In this research, astonishingly, the most toxic byproduct of the fixed mindset turned out to be dishonesty: Forty percent of the ability-praised kids lied about their scores, inflating them to look more successful.

In the fixed mindset, imperfections are shameful — especially if you’re talented — so they lied them away. What’s so alarming is that praise took ordinary children and made them into liars, simply by telling them they were smart.

This weeks Personal Development Goal: Calm

A growth mindset is priceless and to achieve it is easy enough if you are willing.

We will cover this topic in the podcasts, as well as your coaching session. In the meantime, grab your notepad and answer these questions to help us build your growth mindset.


IS there any story you are still telling about the past that is holding onto hurt, disappointment, frustration or anger?


Is your body demonstrating any aches and pains, ailments, injuries, diseases or discomforts?


Is there any part of your life story that seems to be repeating itself and holding you back?


What are your seven fears ... One for each area of life.... (do you fear failure and if so, why?)



What aspects of your skills, personality, mindset, beliefs and communication need to improve/evolve/change for the future?



When you stuff up, get it wrong, miss the target, do something stupid, make a mistake or miss hit a goal, what do you normally say to yourself about yourself?


Calm.... Confidence and Skill... A Growth Mindset.

All Posts

Almost done…

We just sent you an email. Please click the link in the email to confirm your subscription!

OKSubscriptions powered by Strikingly