#1. Learn something new every day.
When you are intellectually curious, your brain is constantly looking for opportunities to absorb new information that goes beyond your school curriculum, job description, or any set of social responsibilities. There are many ways to feed your curiosity. Read books, both fiction and non-fiction. Use a thesaurus to broaden your vocabulary. Watch documentaries on ancient civilizations, world-class leaders, the animal kingdom, and history of humankind. Do in-depth research on how to improve the quality of your life by adopting positive daily habits to keep you mentally and physically healthy.
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#2. Focus on developing a career path that’s a good fit for your personality, skills, and interests.
That means you first need to get to know yourself as well as possible. Set aside a couple of hours this weekend to write a few things down in your journal, which is always an excellent way to begin developing any big idea. Take the time to identify which personality traits you like having most, then write down the skills you can explore, improve, and master in order to take full advantage of those traits. Or, if you’d like to focus on a subject or field of expertise you want to pursue to get the job you always dreamed of, think how you can find a mentor to guide you on the path to getting there.
#3. Don’t apologize for being yourself.
There will be many times in your life (going through school, working on your career, switching jobs, getting into a relationship, starting a family) when you’ll be questioned, undermined, or criticized for your behavior, personality, ideas, or achievements. In those times, it’s important to keep in mind that you are unique in your own right and you are a whole person. This means that you have a combination of DNA, intelligence, personality traits, small quirks, likes and dislikes, routines, habits, and a number of skills that differentiate you from the rest of the world. No matter what, always celebrate being your own unique self and don’t feel obligated to explain why you have nurtured the skills you have built over time.
#4. Don’t automatically assume the role that others expect of you.
In most cases, expectations of male and female roles are passed on from generation to generation without a second thought, which is a great example of fixed mindset thinking. You might hear those messages coming from your parents, neighbors, relatives, extended circle of friends, partners, even society at large. How do you deal with them? The proactive way is to question these expectations every step of the way. It may be uncomfortable (and will likely be uncomfortable) but it’s necessary. Why? Because in this life you must, more than anything else, focus on discovering who you are and how to become the best version of yourself, not a carbon copy of somebody else or their ideas of who you “should” or “must” be.
#5. Define your boundaries every chance you get.
This applies to any number of situations where people are pushy or disrespectful of your time and space. Sometimes people aren’t aware they’re imposing, and in other cases their behavior is more aggressive. It’s up to you to take a stand. For example, if a friend insists on hanging out but you want time to yourself, do what you can to make yourself unavailable or simply tell them you’re busy. If someone asks you to do their job or finish up a task that is their responsibility, firmly say no. This may not feel comfortable to do in the beginning, but it’s a muscle you should work out often until it starts to feel more natural. Let’s face it: in order to accomplish what you’ve set out to do in life, being nice won’t necessarily get you there, but having the time and space most likely will.
#6. Build up your emotional resilience.
No, it’s not the easiest thing in the world to become resilient in an emotional sense, but it certainly helps to deal with negativity, obstacles, and problems you’ll face in your life. This especially applies to criticism coming from your immediate surroundings (including family and friends) to negative feedback you’ll most certainly receive at work or school. If you learn to expect criticism, it won’t faze you much when you actually do receive it. It won’t be that big of a deal. And no matter how the message is delivered, try not to always take things personally. Learn the difference between constructive criticism (when someone suggests that you do something in a different way, giving you the opportunity to approach a problem differently) and habitual negativity (when people constantly complain and criticize no matter the topic, in which case it’s best to ignore it).
#7. Take more risks.
This doesn’t mean you should start doing things that are life-threatening or can negatively impact your health and well-being. It simply means it’s OK (even morale-building) do something on a regular basis that scares you. That’s what personal growth is all about! For example, try an activity that makes you feel uncomfortable or self-conscious. Stand up to a bully. Learn to speak in front of a bigger audience. Challenge yourself to do one new thing this year, whether it’s learning to code, training for a marathon, practicing a foreign language, or starting a conversation with someone you admire and respect. Taking these types of risks helps us learn, through trial and error, and learning is growth.
#8. Avoid gossip and cultivate real friendships.
Gossiping and engaging in superficial exchanges is time-consuming and a fake way to build your social network. Let’s be real — how many of those conversations do you think you will remember a year from now, let alone five? Instead of spending hours on WhatsApp discussing other people, be smarter about your time. Consider building friendships based on common interests and intellectual pursuits. Seek things you have in common with other people. That could mean sharing a passion for historical documentaries, engaging in a conversation about world politics, going for a hike or bike ride together, reading a novel at the same time and talking about it afterwards, taking an online class to improve a skill, etc. Build the friendship over time, communicate with each other openly, learn to trust one another, and enjoy all the different ways in which you like to discover and experience the world.
#9. Respect yourself.
Regardless of your age, gender, nationality, and income bracket, improving the quality of your life is strongly connected to keeping up with your value system — your moral code. Respecting yourself is a pre-requisite to achieving anything of value. What does respecting yourself really mean? It can mean respect your time (because it’s a precious commodity and should not be wasted on trivial conversations or toxic people), your efforts (energy that you put into school, work, and your personal life), the knowledge you’ve acquired over time (which is proof that you’ve invested in yourself), your values (the moral code that is at the core of who you are), your goals (especially the goals you’ve prioritized because they’re important to you), and everything else you’re doing to become a better version of yourself.
#10. Make independence your number one goal.
You may be a student focused on completing their education to start a career, a professional busy acquiring skills necessary to get better in your career, or an entrepreneur starting a side hustle to generate more income. Either way, you are setting a foundation for becoming an independent adult. Why is independence important? Because when you are independent — financially, emotionally, physically — you are able to make choices that are right for you. What kind of choices will help you feel more independent? It can be anything from deciding which food to eat to be more healthy, saving up money to buy a car or move to an apartment that you can afford on your own, or investing more time in personal relationships with people who pursue a growth mindset. Making these choices independently and aligning them to your own needs, values, and goals will be helpful in building a future you want for yourself.
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Source — Quora.com written by Nela Canovic, Growth mindset hacker, writer, Silicon Valley entrepreneur.
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