Old Dog, New Tricks

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Cultivating the Secret Garden Within, Part 1

“You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” This idiom depicting the struggle of self-growth has permeated society since the 1500s with its first mention in John Fitzherbert’s Book of Husbandry. We’ve undoubtedly heard this utterance before, usually as an argument in favor of accepting a barricaded mindset. But, as we’ve seen in workplace trends such as the migration from brick-and-mortar offices to flexible work structures, mindsets can and should change, especially when faced with obstacles or limitations.

As adults, we have already shaped our worldviews and attitudes pertaining to life’s various situations. We’ve completed a trellis and framed the garden of our minds with some level of a fixed mindset.But, as delineated here by clinical psychologist Robert Puff, glimpsing past that frame and beholding more fertile gardening methods is how we grow. Challenging our limitations instead of accepting them is how we reshape our very destinies.

People or events that challenge us and illuminate previously hidden deficiencies might trigger defensiveness or depression if we adhere to a fixed mindset. The fixed mindset, after all, is a cage, forever fastening us to a single, stagnant archetype. Those of us who dare glance at the distant horizon do not see challenge as cause for retreat. Instead, we recognize challenge as a catalyst by which we can rally and hone the skills necessary to expand the yield of our mental harvest, as illustrated here by Sprouts.

Accepting a status quo, accepting a stubborn chorus of “this is the way it’s always been,” seldom—if indeed ever—produces progress. Pursuit of growth can be intimidating. Like cultivating a bountiful garden, it takes work.

Today, put the work in. Peer over casually accepted frames of mind and bloom beyond obstacles and limitations.

“Your mind is a garden; your thoughts are the seeds. You can grow flowers, or you can grow weeds.”
– Jonathan C. Short

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