HOW PRIORITIZING GROWTH MAKES YOU A HAPPIER PERSON

After my studies at the Art-Academy, the only thing I focussed on was attracting new customers so that I would be able to pay the bills. School was over now, and to me that meant ‘stop learning, start working’. I didn’t realize that this would sabotage my professional progress and therefore my happiness.

I sat for hours and hours behind my computer to work with Photoshop and thought this was the only way in which I needed to get better: perfecting my craft. But after a while, I started dreading the thing that I loved most. I got bored doing the same thing over and over, especially because in this work there is a lot of repetition involved that doesn’t need a lot of brainpower. Retouching skin can be monotonous if you do not attend the proper attitude.

Researchers found that one of the things that people need to be happy is to be engaged in difficult-but-doable activities.

STACK SKILLS AND KEEP STACKING FOREVER

Only when I started listening to podcasts while retouching, I was able to enjoy this job again. I found a way to keep my mind occupied and killed two birds with one stone by doing this. 

“Individuals who believe their talents can be developed (through hard work, good strategies, and input from others) have a growth mindset. They tend to achieve more than those with a more fixed mindset (those who believe their talents are innate gifts)” – Carol Dweck

Changing from music to podcasts with interesting successful persons, made me feel more purposeful. The worthless feeling was gone. Now I was acquiring knowledge about broad topics while also earning money and perfecting my skill. 

Prioritising makes happy - byZilla

WHAT SHOULD I DO TO APPROACH LIFE WITH A GROWTH MINDSET?

1. TIME IS VALUABLE. DO NOT WASTE IT.

Most people will go their whole lives as a slave to entertainment. They prioritize entertainment over improving their life, their family’s well-being, and their hopes and dreams. – Anthony Moore

Instead, devote yourself to reading books, listen to podcasts, go to seminars, take courses and keep learning to grow your confidence. 

Six years ago I stopped watching television. I do tune in to Netflix from time to time, which is a more conscious act compared to mindlessly zapping through tv channels. Watching a film or series (or better: a documentary) should be a break to relax, not a bad habit that let’s you escape from reality.

Invest your time and money in things that make you grow as a person. 

An expensive watch or car won’t make you a better person. But traveling to new cultures will broaden your perception of the world and makes you reflect on who you are and how you live your life compared to others. You encounter problems that wouldn’t have come up if you had stayed home. So you develop the skill of problem-solving more quickly.

2. BE CURIOUS AND EMBRACE NEW OPPORTUNITIES

I am a big procrastinator myself when I face an opportunity that scares me. But I try to make an effort to always push myself in doing new things. Those intimidating events can lead to special encounters that will change your life forever. 

Always staying in the safety of your own home and circle of friends will not bring any new insights or experiences.

3. DO NOT GET DISCOURAGED BY OPINIONS FROM OTHERS

Receiving harsh criticism can lead to insecurity and being afraid to take steps forward. 

Keep in mind that effort makes you stronger and practice makes perfect. Every pro out there did only get there by falling, rising and never giving up.

4. DO NOT ONLY CHASE GOALS. ENJOY THE JOURNEY

Happiness lives in the present moment. So if you always look at the future to realize your goals, it will feel like chasing the impossible. Checking one goal will free up space for another. And that one big goal from then, will now seem like just a little step towards something else.

Fulfillment comes from realizing how far you’ve already come.

This is why I enjoy going through my own retouch portfolio regularly. It is a visual reminder of what I’ve done so far and something that I can be proud of. Of course, you can also measure your own success by building a strong Linked-in profile, making a list of all the books you’ve read, keeping track of your health information or write down important events in a journal. Whatever makes you remember and observe the things you’ve already accomplished.

Don’t forget to celebrate the small wins.

When I launched this blog it felt a bit unnecessary to celebrate it with a party. But I did it anyway because I wanted to reward myself for all the hard work I put in so far. Even though it is just the beginning, it is an important step in achieving a bigger goal so it deserved to be celebrated. Giving it attention made me more purposeful and focused on the next step.

KEEP LEARNING, EVEN WHEN YOU THINK YOU KNOW IT ALL

Since the beginning of this month, I started a nano-degree in Digital Marketing in which I need to invest 10 hours a week for the coming 3 months. 

I don’t want to switch careers. I just want to become smarter in marketing myself. You could say “Why don’t you just hire someone else to do that”? But how can I possibly hire someone else if I cannot talk about my expectations with that person? I first need a basic understanding of the subject. Besides, I want to challenge myself by stacking more skills to my curriculum.

I committed to learning two hours first thing in the morning every day, which gives me the feeling I have an amazing headstart on the rest of the world. By the time it is 8 o’clock, I have already learned new skills that I can immediately apply to grow my own business.

Taking baby steps towards my dream goals, causes me to take a winning feeling into the rest of the day and make it a powerful, productive and cheerful one.

It is not achieving the goal itself that makes us happy but making progress towards that goal.