As children we each begin our lives with an incredible gift – The gift of an Open Mindset. We truly believe that we can do, be, or have ANYTHING.
If someone asks us what we want to be when we grow up, we tell them that we want to be a palaeontologist and archaeologist, who is also a part-time astronaut and professional soccer player.
However, as we ‘grow up’ people and circumstances begin to impose limits on our thinking, and all too often we lose our open mindset, and instead adopt a closed mindset that stifles our growth and prevents us from reaching our full potential.
For example, as a boy Luke loved to draw. Most of all he loved to draw animals. He would spend hours with his sketchbook and a box of crayons, happily drawing horses, birds and lions.
His parents encouraged his efforts and when he was seven they took him to an art class run by a gruff old woman named Mrs. Dubrovsky who was a ‘professional’ artist.
Each week, Mrs. Dubrovsky set up a collection of bottles, glasses and fruit on a table and told her students to draw them. Luke did his best but he really wasn’t interested in drawing fruit – he wanted to draw lions.
By the end of the semester, his interest had waned. On the last day of term, he overheard Mrs Dubrovsky tell his mother that, “Luke does not have the temperament required to be an artist.” In that instant, Luke’s mindset slammed shut like a prison door. His teacher had said that he couldn’t be an artist so… he stopped drawing.
This could be the end of the story, but fortunately, as an adult, Luke discovered a powerful 5-step process to unlock his fixed mindset and reconnect with his childhood passion.
Step 1: Refuse to accept the limitations imposed on you by other people
It took over 35 years, but eventually Luke came to the realisation that Mrs Dubrovsky was NOT a world-renowned artist, but rather, just a local art teacher who had no idea how to nurture children’s passion for art.
Luke made the conscious decision to reject her assessment of his ability, and reconnect with his desire to draw, which had lain dormant in his heart for so many years.
Step 2: Make Time to DO
Luke’s next step was to find time to pursue his passion. Now 42, he was extremely busy juggling the demands of his work and family. However when he examined his weekly timetable carefully, he discovered that he had two hours to himself every Thursday evening, when his wife took their daughter to piano lessons. He decided to dedicate this time to drawing and painting.
Step 3: Make Time to LEARN
Luke also realised the importance of continuous learning. He would have loved to book into a regular art class, but he just didn’t have the time, so instead he picked up a copy of the book ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ and took it to work with him.
During his lunch break, he found a quite spot and read the book and worked through the exercises. He was amazed at the progress he made, and this quickly became a highpoint of his day.
Step 4: Select Your Teachers with Care
After his childhood experience with Mrs Dubrovsky, Luke realised the importance of selecting the right teacher for each stage of his journey. After completing the ‘Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain’ book, Luke purchased a DVD by wildlife artist Joe Weatherly.
After learning a great deal in his own time, and developing his skill through consistent practise, eventually Luke was ready to find an art teacher. He talked with many professional artists and eventually found someone who he respected and enjoyed spending time with.
Over the next two years, his new teacher helped Luke take his drawing and painting to a whole new level.
Step 5: Enjoy the Journey and the Destination
Even though Luke was starting to draw later in life, he was not disappointed by his early efforts. He did not see learning to draw as a painful journey that would eventually lead to something he could enjoy.
On the contrary, he derived an incredible sense of joy from the process of learning. Every time he picked up a pencil and started drawing he felt a stirring in his heart and a sense that he was FINALLY doing what he was meant to do.
Five years after making the decision to start drawing again, Luke held his first exhibition at a local gallery.
Not only was he proud of the wildlife paintings that hung on the gallery walls, he was also proud of the fact that he had overcome the childhood limitations imposed on him by Mrs Dubrovsky.
Today I’d like to encourage you to adopt an open mindset and understand that no matter what has happened in the past, you CAN achieve your most important goals in life, if you are willing to put in the time and effort required to bring them to fruition.
All you have to do is:
1. Reject the limitations imposed on you by others and decide exactly what it is that YOU want to be good at 2. Find the time to DO 3. Find the time to LEARN 4. Select your teachers carefully 5. Enjoy the journey and the destination
By following this 5-step plan, you can overcome longstanding limitations, tap into the optimism of your youth, and ultimately become the person you were always meant to be.