Goal mindset versus growth mindset

I set a lot of goals for my life. Many of them I have hit the bull’s eye. Others I have fell short of the objective, and we have certain milestones or targets that we need to hit along the way in order to realize the goal. When you hit the target or goal, you feel good or ecstatic.

Earl Nightingale said it the best—that success is the realization of a worthy ideal.

But the problem with goal setting is our tendency not to see what’s next on our journey. Some would say, “Derrick, I have reached the peak of this mountain that I set for myself.” Sadly, many lose the drive, no stamina or no desire, and they stop at that point. It’s like you accomplished a small success, and then you  rest on that small success. You never move forward or beyond.

When you think about a growth conscious person, they continue beyond that goal and take on a different mindset. In fact, they want growth. You will continue growth, and you will hit all your goals when you look back on your journey five or ten years later. 

Man, that is a great feeling to move on to greater heights. You keep climbing the ladder until you reach heaven, and then you can stop. This reminds me of the song from the TV show, The Jeffersons, which is a part of my story, “We’re moving on up to the east side.” I remember in the early days when I was in my 20s. I had just started a family and had a new job, which was 20 miles away from home. I needed transportation, and I didn’t have a lot of money. Neither my mother nor my siblings had the money to lend me to buy a decent vehicle. I saw an ad in the local newspaper that a private owner had a 1970 Plymouth that was once a taxicab for sale. The private owner removed the decals and the taxi cab signs. But it still had the painted colors of the local taxicab company.

 On occasion I would get flagged down on the street by people wanting cab service. Many times I would stop to the anticipating customer and explain that my vehicle was privately owned, and they would have to call the local taxi cab company. Some would get really upset at me. This vehicle was always in the repair shop. Finally, I got tired of folks flagging me down and shoveling out wasted money for a beat-up vehicle, so I brought another used car, a Chevrolet Vega, which had an aluminum engine block. That car lasted a few months. The engine block cracked, and blue smoke traced my path down the local streets. I kept working through my trouble vehicles for three years when I bought a new Caravan off the showroom floor. That was a good feeling. However, I was in the military and serving my country and paying big monthly payments. Suze Orman taught me the lesson to stop using finance companies. But that took growth and hitting goal after goal after goal. During this time, I developed a growth plan for my life and started getting mentors in my life. Each mentor taught me growth principles that helped facilitate growth and maturity in my life. Looking back over my present journey, I see the growth, and the pain of growth. You may say that was great and proud of you. But I just don’t have the energy, knowledge, money, or time to plan for other growth challenges. 

John Maxwell said, “now is the best time to start anything.” Ask yourself, if not now WHEN? Growth is intentional, not accidental.

The real process of growth begins with your thoughts. Those thoughts become words, and the words become actions! James Allen, author of As a Man Thinketh, says, “You cannot travel within and stand still without.” Think about it. All life, except mankind, grows to its full potential. It’s only mankind that circumvents the process. For example, how tall will a tree grow? A tree doesn’t decide to stop growing. It continues growing all its life. 

So, I challenge you not to stop or do away with goal setting but go above and beyond goal setting and latch on to the growth mindset.

I love personal growth and development. And I think you will, too, once you start seeing a difference by applying what I have shared with you in this blog.

Derrick Darden, PhD


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