Growth Mindset: How to Start The Day With Purpose
What is usually the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Although the way we all start the day is somewhat different, our activities are similar depending on the mindset we wake up with.
Some crave the dopamine hit that comes with checking the buzz on Twitter or likes and follows on Instagram.
Others check email immediately whilst others might choose to pray, say affirmations, do exercise or simply journal.
Then there are those who take things to a whole different level with a carefully pre-planned morning routine.
One way of segmenting what people choose to do with their time is to consider them from the perspective of producers vs consumers.
Producers typically have a growth mindset and spend most of their day in the engine room of creativity, learning, and problem solving to create value.
Consumers typically have a fixed mindset and spend some of their days procrastinating and most of it digesting the works and activities of others.
In essence, producers start the day with more with purpose and focus on outcomes that are not just useful to themselves but more importantly, useful to others.
This question of what you do first thing in the morning is usually an indicator of whether you have a net producer or consumer mindset.
We all consume and produce by differing amounts each day of our lives.
However, the balance of production vs consumption in your personal life is what matters.
If you get the balance right, it transforms the future state of your life forever!
In the same way, if you get the balance wrong, you’ll find that you spend most of your days struggling in one way or another.
I.e. You easily find yourself wondering where your days, weeks, months and years have gone.
This is made more obvious if you start to see others achieve things over time, whilst your life remains relatively stagnant.
If you’ve never considered this your position before, this is probably a good time to ask yourself:
Are you a net producer or consumer in life?
Instinctively, you should know where you stand today, although I can imagine this being a challenge if you aren’t used to asking yourself the hard questions.
The Producer vs Consumer Test
If you’ve struggled to decide whether you’re a net producer or consumer, here are a few telling questions to consider:
1. Do you start your day with a plan?
Starting your day without a plan is another way of saying that you don’t value your most precious gift – time.
It is the simplest way of welcoming every request or disturbance into your life.
Or to put it another way, it is a way of giving away the peace in your life.
Although plans don’t always go as we might intend, they help to give us structure and a way to allocate our most important resource of time.
They help us achieve things we won’t ordinarily achieve without the active focus on them.
If you find that you consistently plan your time day after day, then you’re a producer with a growth mindset.
2. Do you sell some of your time to yourself?
Most of us wake up on autopilot, snooze our alarms a few times, rush through morning prep and catch the train that just about gets us into work in time.
We repeat the same thing through the week and basically sell our time to our employers and dream of the lazy day (Friday) of the week.
The weekends come and we spend it watching shows or spending money out with friends or buying things online.
At no point do some stop to really consider themselves.
Think about it – If you considered yourself to be the most valuable thing in existence, you would sell some of your time to yourself.
I.e. You’d buy back some of your own time for your own development.
If you find that you consistently buying back some of your time day after day, then you’re a producer with a growth mindset.
3. Do you actively seek out and read books?
I love this quote from Charlie Munger –
The best thing a human being can do is to help another human being know more.
The first step on the path to wisdom is to acquire knowledge. After that comes understanding.
There is no shortcut to acquiring knowledge.
It requires putting in the work to seek out the right type of knowledge.
Reading books is one of the greatest life hacks ever!
Warren Buffett estimates that he spends 80% of his working day reading and thinking.
Whilst most of us don’t have the luxury of 80%, success leaves many clues.
If you want even a fraction of the success of some of the most admired people in the world, then you too need to put in the work.
You need to read. A lot!
Charlie Munger emphasises his point more by stating:
“Go to bed smarter than when you woke up.”
If you find that you consistently open up a book to read day after day, then you’re a producer with a growth mindset.
Tracking what you read and keeping a note of how many pages you read per day is a good way to motivate yourself to get better.
Related reading: Recommended Books I Love
4. Do you always seek ways to solve problems?
Some of the wealthiest people I have come across are always in the business of solving problems.
Whether it’s how to solve a tax problem or how to make their money work harder, they’re always seeking solutions.
What I’ve found personally is that if solving problems becomes a part of your nature, it changes the entire outlook of your life.
You go to bed with a challenge in your mind and your wake up rushing to your notepad to write an idea down.
If you find that you are enterprising or consistently seek more effective, efficient or innovative solutions to problems day after day, then you’re a producer with a growth mindset.
5. Do you see everything in life as a learning experience?
I love Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset talk about the ‘The Power of Believing That You Can Improve”:
She talks about this idea of the “Power of Not Yet”.
Just because you have not been successful at something does not mean you’ve failed and that’s it.
It just means that you have not yet achieved it and this opens your mind up to the idea that you’re on a learning curve.
Compared to consumers, producers are always experimenting and trying new things out for the desired outcome.
If you find that you are consistently open-minded and see everything you do each day as a learning experience, then you’re a producer with a growth mindset.
Now that you have some idea about whether you’re a net producer or consumer, let’s now consider why this is important:
I hopefully don’t need to convince you that the people you see with any form of wealth got there because they produced more than they consumed.
This is perhaps why achieving Financial Independence has huge appeal. You can only get there if you go against the grain of the consumerist culture of today.
Wealth creation never happens by accident.
It requires considerable effort to make sure that you create value, make some money, and create the margin that you can deploy to work for you.
If you’re like me, you have a heart for giving and would like to do more if you could.
Here’s the thing though, you’re far more likely to go above board and help others out if you have a producer mindset.
In fact, people who spend most of their time consuming usually don’t think much of anyone else but themselves and what they can get.
So if giving (time, money, knowledge, etc) is close to your heart, then you know exactly what side of the fence you need to be sitting for it to become a reality.
If you have a goal of starting a side business one day or even starting a blog, then it helps to begin now to practice what it takes.
A net producer, for example, gives up his or her time to daily activities that get them closer each day to their desired goals.
If you’re currently more of a net consumer then focusing on what it takes to develop a growth mindset should be your priority.
For example –
- The effort that it takes to achieve goals should be seen more as a path to mastery rather than a pointless exercise.
- Challenges in the day to day should be embraced rather than ignored.
- Inspiration should be sought from the successes of others rather than seen as a threat.
Questions to consider in developing a growth mindset –
- Doing: What did you try really hard at today?
- Thinking: What did you do today that made you think hard?
- Challenging: What will you do to challenge yourself today?
- Improving: What will you do to improve your work?
- Growing: What will you do improve your talent?
- Learning: What can you learn from this situation or mistake?
- Persevering: What happened today that made you keep going?
- Solving: What will you do to solve this problem?
Related reading: Why Setting Goals Increases Your Bank Balance
Perhaps one of the greatest gifts you can give your kids is to teach them to have an eye for creating things.
Kids of today are glued to iPads and live in other people’s worlds when they should be out there exploring their environments and trying things out.
How about teaching your child the other side of how the internet works and the idea of contributing content that helps people?
Or even getting them involved in challenges that expose them to using social media in a way that encourages positive dialogue around an important issue.
You could even set them a challenge that has a monetary reward tied to the extent of their creativity.
The point here is simple – If you have kids, you have a wonderful opportunity to influence their outlook on life now.
Read more here on the impact that different types of praise can have on kids.
Starting your day with purpose begins with your choice to become a net producer, which involves developing a growth mindset.
This requires effort and being your best self. It also requires putting others at the center of why you do what you do.
It leads to a life without worry about how good you are but a life with energy focused on learning and improving your talents every day by doing.
An empowered life of purpose.
- How to Reduce Stress & Anxiety Tied to Money
- 9 Qualities You Need to Reach Financial Independence
- Your Name Is Your Asset – Embrace It!
- What Do You Have In Your Hands?
Do you consider yourself to be a net producer or consumer? What are you doing to change the balance in your life? Do you believe in the idea of having a growth mindset?
Do please share this post if you found it useful, and remember, in all things be thankful and Seek Joy.
I love the point you make about selling some of your time to yourself, and the point about logging how much you read each day!
Awesome writeup as usual. Thanks for this Ken!
Ken Okoroafor says
Ken Okoroafor says
Hey Vicki, you’re welcome! Thanks for stopping by.
This is so deeply insightful. I do notice that my hour from waking up to leaving for work seems to go fast if I just drink coffee and scroll Facebook. (Which isn’t terrible every so often 🤥)
But I definitely want to spend more time exercising and meditation. As a PF blogger myself I typically just work on blogging tasks 😂
Ken Okoroafor says
Thanks for stopping by! I’m in your camp re exercise and meditation. With the Summer now here, I’m doing more walks and runs.