Educate Yourself – The Growth Mindset

Do you believe in a growth mindset, or believe in innate ability? I’ve benefited immeasurably from having a growth mindset instilled in me from a young age. My parents rewarded me for my efforts, rather than for my results. Instead of believing someone was smart or not-smart, it was more often a function of effort. It boiled down to simply be a case of mindset. When it comes to your health – knowledge is power – and by the end of this page, you will have a solid foundation to build your health knowledge.

When it comes to your health, your mindset is everything. ‘Healthy’ individuals tend to subscribe to a growth mindset, rather than a fixed mindset. They believe that  with a little focus and effort, anything is possible. These individuals approach their health with an inquisitive mindset, and are not afraid to experiment to discover more about what healthy means for them. Perhaps most importantly, they’re not afraid of ‘failing’. There is no such thing as a failed experiment, not in asking a stupid question.

By contrast, unhealthy individuals are often facing an uphill battle with a fixed mindset. If they don’t already know it, they’re far less likely to go and search for information. Someone with a fixed mindset will accept any information presented to them, without question. This may result in thinking that diet coke is good for you, that margarine is heart healthy, olive oil is good for cooking, or that calories in equals calories out (just name a few).

I suffered from this for years, eating the carbohydrate rich diet recommended by the food pyramid and experienced a slow decline into a world of brain-fog and inflammation. During my university years, I realised I was studying exactly the same subjects as doctors-in-the-making and discovered that it was possible for me to learn about health on my own. So I started to take control of my health and have never looked back. I no longer rely on the media, on the government, on just one doctor, or on any single source of information to make my health decisions for me.

This brings us to the first step on your journey towards optimal health – make a commitment to educate yourself in all things health. This doesn’t require quitting your job to get a degree – it simply means you are committed to understanding what is good for your body. It’s easy to be distracted by the latest diet or superfood fad – when you’re in a growth mindset you will now be able to make your own assessment of what works for you. Once you understand what your body needs, and what you should avoid, the rest will fall in place slowly over time.

This page provides links to some of my other articles to get you started on your own health education journey. Approach these with an inquisitive nature, and pretend that you will need to explain the key concepts to a close friend (it will help to sink in more).

Sleep Health
Without a good nights sleep you will never perform at your optimum level – certainly not for any sustained period. In order the be the best person you can be, you need to ensure you build each day on a solid foundation of sleep. Familiarising yourself with what helps and hinders your sleep is one of the most powerful ‘hacks’ I’ve found to increase my energy, focus and general mindset.

Nutrition
Be aware of the current state of nutrition – it’s not that hard. The food pyramid we all grew up with is well overdue for a re-build. Fat is no longer the source of all nutritional evil – Fact. More recently fat has been recognised as essential, and sugar, gluten and dairy have come under fire as the likely sources of our disease epidemic. I certainly don’t advocate eating margarine, cooking with olive oil, or consuming any trans-fats. You truly are what you eat – poor food choices lead to poor focus, mood, relationships, and general poor performance. It is essential to understand for yourself the current understanding of optimal nutrition. Visit my page on Modern Nutrition for more on the current state of nutrition – remember that every meal is an opportunity to make a better decision.

Exercise
A common misconception relating to exercise is that more is better. I believe that over-training is the most common mistake made by the majority of ‘healthy’ people. Exercise is essential for health, but it is also very stressful for the body to recover from. During recovery, inflammation is required for repair, which is why I’m a great advocate for the minimalist approach when it comes to exercise.

The Learning Process
The best strategies I’ve found to help me learn new skills through both my day-to-day professional life, and my self health optimisation activities are:

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail.
  2. Always ask the question, what are the motives of the author.
  3. Pretend you need to explain the topic to a close friend or stranger.
  4. Commit to being a lifelong learner, and enjoy the journey!

Use these strategies to build a system of continuous self-education and watch your health improve. Once you start learning and experimenting, you’ll feel a sense of empowerment and freedom. From this growth mindset, it will be hard to imagine how you ever lived any other way.

The greatest thing about living in the information age, is that all the health information you need is already at your fingertips – you only have to look for it.

Get started now, click on one of the links above, book that appointment for a second opinion, or simply ask google a health question that has been bugging you.

Happy learning!
Brett

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