By Eugene Wilson
Most of us would attest our lives are busy and we struggle with self-discipline and getting things done. Even more important, we struggle having enough time to focus on moving important projects forward. And yet most of us would also admit we likely squander time on things of lesser value, and if we knew what to do, we could likely do things better.
Develop a Growth Mindset as Opposed to a Fixed Mindset
So, if that is you, I want to give you a first step to taking control of your life. It is simple. . . so simple that some will likely fail to understand its significance. Here it is: the first step in taking control of your life is to develop a growth mindset as opposed to a fixed mindset. Our thinking and our locus of control has a huge impact on our lives and how we handle stuff (responsibilities, reaching forward in accomplishing our goals, and so on).A growth mindset says I may not be able to control others, I may not be able to shape my circumstances the way I want them to be right now, but I have the ability to grow. Click To Tweet
If you have a fixed mindset, or an external locus of control, you will think that outside circumstances control your life. That’s just the way it is. I can’t do anything about it. It’s just my personality. It’s just my job. It’s just the way things are. In contrast, a growth mindset says I may not be able to control others, I may not be able to shape my circumstances the way I want them to be right now, but I have the ability to grow. I have the ability to manage what is in my hands. And I am going to do the best that I can and let God take care of everything else outside of my control.
I have learned that people with a growth mindset change and evolve, and in doing so shape their future. If you want to get more things done, if you want to focus on some things that are important to you that you just haven’t found the time to do, start by developing a growth mindset.
Attaining Rhythm and Exercising Self-Discipline
How does one attain rhythm—forward movement that enables one to achieve goals and turn dreams into realities?
Rowing, perhaps more than any other Olympic sport, requires members of the team to be in rhythm with one another. Even the smallest deviations from a rowing pattern can ruin a boat’s Olympic hopes. Rowers, according to Luke McGee—coach of the US men’s eight race rowing—must act as one both mentally and physically; the men must be in rhythm. “If you don’t have [rhythm], then you’re not even in the contest,” says McGee.
Rhythm can be defined as movement that yields desired results without unnecessary stress or burden.
Something as simple as waking up thirty minutes earlier yields an extra 3.5 hours per week.
Hence, one’s best effort in moving forward (accomplishing goals, turning dreams into realities) depends on rhythm. Unfortunately most people are overly busy, frantically trying to keep up with things and doing a poor job at it.
The first step is to exercise control of your life. Start by changing your thinking. It is not a surprise that people with an internal locus of control—those who believe that much of one’s life can be controlled—are more productive than those who believe outside factors control their lives. Such people, those with an external locus of control, struggle to attain rhythm largely because of their thinking.
We are not the masters of our destiny, for our lives are not our own. As Christians, we should have that settled and should not deviate from it. Yet from a practical standpoint, many of us struggle to attain rhythm. For example, consider the bivocational pastor who desperately wants to move forward with things in ministry but struggles having the time to do so. This is a genuine struggle for many, but it is not a hopeless situation.
Something as simple as waking up thirty minutes earlier yields an extra 3.5 hours per week—time that could be invested in writing the book you have dreamed about, or extra time for prayer and study. The point is simple: Outside factors have less control over your life than what you might think. To attain rhythm, start by changing your thinking.
Bio: Eugene Wilson is a minister with over thirty years of pastoral experience, and he has a doctorate in strategic leadership from Regent University. He is the founder of the coaching and consulting organization Equipping Leaders and an adjunct professor at Urshan College and Urshan Graduate School of Theology. He and his wife, Kerri, have two children.