A Growth Mindset

“As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness. There is more hope for fools than for people who think they are wise”
– Proverbs 26:11-12

How many times are we in a situation where we say, “I would never do this again?” But two weeks later, the same thing happens. Three weeks later, the same thing happens. The next time the opportunity comes, we return back to our nature, just like a dog would return to its vomit. 

“There is more hope for fools…”

 This is foolishness, right? We people who return to our vomit. There’s more hope for us. That’s a good thing. That’s a really good thing. There’s more hope for us than for people who think they are wise (and are not). 

Have you ever met somebody who just thinks they just know everything? 

“I read an article yesterday, and so now I know how to change the world.”

“I read an article yesterday. Here’s my solution for border control.” 

“I heard a talking head yesterday, and I’m going to go on social media and tell everybody how they should believe and vote.”

We often talk as though we have all of the answers. Do you ever talk to somebody who says, “Hey, I don’t know what to do about this situation” and they open up the window for you to bring some wisdom to their life? But the moment you step into that, they look at you like they’re ten years old and they say the phrase that every parent, every teacher, every grandparent, every older sibling hates to hear from the little 8 to 10-year-old. The two words that drive people crazy. 

“I know.”

 No, you don’t know. Because if you knew, then we wouldn’t be in this situation. This phrase is rooted in pride. It shows a lack of humility. And it’s a phrase that we are guilty of saying, or at least thinking, all the time. 

What if we just listened to others? It’s likely that those we trust the most around us, those who know and love us, might have good ideas. And that’s what the Scripture is trying to tell us. 

Stop saying “I know.” Stop being wise in your own eyes.

There’s a self-righteousness in that thought that is not of God. We should be in a learning mode. Why? Because the wise are open to learning wisdom from everyone and everything that God may put in their path. 

That’s what it means to be wise. Carol Dweck says this about a growth mindset. “A growth mindset is the belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication, hard work, and the right kind of encouragement.”

Having a growth mindset is knowing that we don’t know everything. It’s walking in humility and learning from everyone and everything. It’s remembering those words I  heard when I was far from God in High School. When Ms. Jackie told me 31 years ago that, “You’re being a fool,” I’m still learning from her today. She spoke truth to me. I wasn’t glad to hear it then, but that truth has stuck in my heart and still shapes who I am today. That’s a growth mindset. 

What’s the opposite of a growth mindset? A fixed mindset. 

Many of our people at Gateway are incredibly talented. Building a business may come easy to you. You may be a prolific author. You may have incredible natural talent. But if we’re not careful, we say, “I no longer need to grow because of my gift or because of my success.”

When we start thinking like this, those thoughts become the lid of our lives. Those thoughts show we have a fixed mindset. 

Believe it or not, scripture encourages us to have a growth mindset. We may get the phrase “growth mindset” from psychology, but it really does line up with scripture. 

Luke 2:52 says, “And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

Jesus wasn’t born in a manger with all of life completely figured out. Jesus grew. He knew his purpose as he got older, but he had to grow in wisdom, especially those around him. 

I can imagine that the King of the universe came to Earth to be raised by a humble carpenter. Scripture doesn’t say a lot about Joseph, his Earthly father. But I can imagine he was a humble man who provided for his family.  He was a blue-collar guy who probably had these small-town values because he lived in a small town in a village that Jesus still had to glean and grow in wisdom and stature.

And then he grew in his favor with God because he was growing. It’s a growth mindset. So here’s the question:

Do you have a growth mindset or are you and I stuck with feeling that change is impossible or even worse, unnecessary?

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Speaker: Carlos Ortiz