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  • Writer's pictureshiv kumar

A growing mind is a success workshop

Updated: Nov 11, 2021

Are you familiar with the idiom “An idle mind is the devil’s workshop”? Well, the title of this article is a twist on that idiom, and just as true!

Recall the last time you saw a freshly laid concrete path. Do you remember seeing any marks in it that were made either intentionally or otherwise?

Have you observed the marks in older concrete pathways – paw marks of a dog, human feet, name inscriptions, dates? Impressions that were made when the concrete was fresh, and now they remain inscribed forever!

In the picture above, the number ‘2004’ will remain inscribed in the concrete as the years roll on. Imagine if the mind of the person who wrote this out in the wet concrete stayed put in the year 2004!

Some people treat their minds like these concrete paths. I call it the “concrete path syndrome”! Early impressions that were made in their minds during childhood or youth that go on to play significant roles in their lives forever.

I mean thoughts like “I’m stupid, have always been” or “I’m not smart enough for this”. Or letting one failure become a life-defining event.

Psychologists call this kind of mindset a “fixed mindset”. A mindset that believes that “I’m either good at something or I’m not”. End of story. The truth is that’s not really the end of the story, that could actually be the beginning.


For many years even science believed that intelligence was basically an inherited trait much like height, skin colour, or hair colour. That’s why there was a huge emphasis on IQ (intelligence quotient). It was thought that people were born intelligent or stupid, and learning stops after a certain age – a scientific version of the “concrete path syndrome”!

After the research into neuroplasticity and the theory of the changing brain, it became clear that it is never too late to “teach an old dog new tricks”!

You can change your mindset at any age – all you need is an open mind and the willingness to learn. And that is called a “growth mindset”.


One of my clients had become frustrated at not finding a job in his field after five years in the country that he had migrated to, in search of a better life for himself and his family. He had become convinced that he was now consigned to a lifetime of working odd jobs as his accented English would never let him get a better job.

I asked him if that belief was entirely his own or whether he’d been told that by prospective employers. He realized it was mainly his own conviction. He did have one potential employer who said his English was a stumbling block but he allowed that ONE opinion to become his truth!

We then looked at what efforts he had taken to resolve the problem that he had identified as his biggest challenge. You guessed it – NONE.

He had fallen into a fixed mindset where his problem had become permanent – like the impression in fresh concrete! He had allowed a single challenge to take over his life, become his identity and convince him that he had no choice but to carry that burden for the rest of his life.

Does my client’s story resonate with you? Is there a burden you’re carrying that has become a millstone around your neck?

In the second part of this blog, we’ll take a look at making the transition from a fixed to a growth mindset. Is all this talk of mindset just psychological gobbledegook or is it practically possible to make that change?

Be prepared to be surprised at just how easy it can be to transform your mindset, especially because you have already done it many times in your life!

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