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How to become a firm and confident person


Practice a growth mindset.

Carol Dweck, professor of psychology at Stanford, wrote the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. She makes an important distinction between two mindsets: fixed and growth mindset. If you’ve adopted a fixed mindset, you think being successful is due to good genes, a particular talent or gift, or something you are or aren’t born with but can never change. Succeeding means being perfect every time, achieving results easily and effortlessly, without much preparation or learning anything new. It’s about staying in the comfort zone and repeating what works. The downside to a fixed way of thinking is never stepping out of your comfort zone and doing something that is tough and challenging. Yet that’s where real success happens — in the growth mindset way of thinking.

How can you do this?

To nurture a growth mindset, shift your focus from the end result (making straight A’s in school or getting a promotion at work) to the actual process of becoming successful. A growth mindset person doesn’t think that success is being the best—they believe success is doing their best. You can start by moving away from your comfort zone (doing everything the same way over and over, using the same tools and processes), and towards a zone that’s uncomfortable and new. For example, come up with a better way to improve how you do your work — break down a large task in smaller increments, or tackle a difficult cognitive problem early in the day when your mind can concentrate better. Or, wake up a bit earlier each morning to practice a new fitness habit such as going for a run or swim.

Avoid toxic people at all costs.

Toxic people are everywhere, from the workplace to the family, and often in our circle of friends. They can be extremely negative, repeating how work is impossible, complaining about their lot in life (or suggesting you should see yours the same way), or just focusing on what’s preventing them from being happy. However, they may claim to know what’s best for you, that they care about happens to you, and that’s why their advice is to be careful, not to try anything new, not to move forward. That’s when things can veer off into seeing the world full of impossibilities, instead of possibilities. However, there are ways to deal with their toxicity.

How can you do this?

So maybe you don’t have a choice if your university professor is a pessimist. Work and school don’t give us many opportunities to select who we interact with. However, you can make up for it by being very selective who you spend your free time with. If a relative or school friend wants to call you up to complain or to gossip, just say no. Tell them you’re busy. Don’t engage in awfulizing scenarios and negative banter over the phone. Why not do something important for your personal development, like read a book or start an online course on a topic that fascinates you?

Practice saying NO often.

If you often find yourself running out of time to do what you need or would like to have time for, that means you’re saying yes to too many things, and ultimately wasting time and energy on things that are not that important in the long run. What are some typical real-life examples? Giving in to distractions of any kind, such as spending hours on insignificant activities, pointless conversations, answering every phone call, or indulging in passive forms of entertainment such as watching TV or Netflix for hours. When you say no to distractions, you make a positive change that will impact your daily life and improve the quality of your overall life.

How can you do this?

Exercising your “no” muscle means literally saying no in a variety of situations in your daily life. If there’s leftover cake in the fridge, don’t indulge and eat a double portion for the next three days just because you can. If you’re in the middle of finishing up a project and a friend calls to ask you out, don’t drop everything because you want to please them. Know your priorities — and stay in tune with them. Be aware of what is relevant to your life and why you’re working on something. If you think of it this way, you will be less likely to ignore the things that are beneficial to your personal and professional growth.

Stop making excuses to live a better quality of life.

It’s amazing how much we go through life making excuses for why we cannot do things. We don’t have the time to read books, but we sure make the time to watch TV for three hours straight after dinner. We don’t feel like studying tonight, because we’d much rather hang out with friends and ignore the exam until it’s well past midnight. We don’t want to apply for a new job because it sounds much more challenging than the one we currently have, so we keep the status quo and drag ourselves to work each day feeling unmotivated. It all sounds illogical, doesn’t it? But excuses, no matter their shape or size, are standing in the way of living our life to the fullest. That’s why it’s time to stop making them.

How can you do this?

Here’s where you can really experience what mental toughness is all about. It’s time to put a stop to destructive behavior and bad habits that are not helpful to you and your future self. It’s time to change the way you talk to yourself and also how you see yourself. Don’t coddle yourself; be tough when it comes to setting daily goals. Don’t count on motivation to get you out of bed; set the alarm and as soon as you hear it, get up. Don’t tell yourself you cannot do something; even if you’re not in the mood, just do it anyway. Don’t dwell on past mistakes; focus on what you’ve learned from the situation and move on, even if it’s making a tiny step forward. Today, you may not see yourself as a disciplined person, but tomorrow — it’s a real possibility

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