6 Tips to Help You Open Up Emotionally

On a scale of 1-10, how open are you?

The first number that came to your mind before you started over thinking the answer is your honest answer. No, not this one you’re now thinking of and trying to rationalize.

When was the last time you genuinely opened up to someone about your feelings, emotions or just how life is treating you in general? When was the last time you said something along the lines of “You know what, I’m not doing so great?” when a trusted friend or family member sought to know how you are doing. When was the last time you felt light after having purged yourself of any deep-seated emotions that linger within?

I will definitely be the first to admit that it is not the easiest thing in the world to open up or bare your soul to anyone. In fact, it is easier and faster to just mutter a simple “fine” when asked the usual “how are you?”.

Here are some reasons why opening up may not be your most favourite thing in the world:

1 . Fear of Being Judged/Genuine Intentions: You may be scared of being judged if you open up about what you’re going through or some of your thoughts and feelings. You may also be scared of people rejecting you if they knew parts of you that are not so visible. This may be because you have maintained some level of reputation in your immediate community and you may be concerned that opening up would get you judged. you may also be concerned about the intentions of people who asked you if you are okay regularly.

2. Personality Type: Perhaps you are more of an introvert or a “keep to yourself” kind of person who is usually on their own. You probably do not have much practice opening up or speaking about your feelings. You may have even assumed a certain “personality” to box yourself in so you don’t have to open up to people.

3. Upbringing and parental influence: Another reason why you may struggle with opening up is because maybe growing up, you were not encouraged to talk about your feelings or show any form of emotions considered as “weak”. If you cried or showed sadness, you were probably encouraged to “be strong” or “be a man”. In adulthood, you have therefore subconsciously associated speaking about your feelings or emotions/being expressive with weakness.

4. Fear of uncovering old emotional trauma: You may be terrified of opening you to people about how you’re feeling in the present moment which may be as a result of a trigger of certain traumatic experiences you’ve experienced in the past. Perhaps you’re trying to erase those experiences from your mind and you’re scared that opening up will uncover them.

5.Fear of being vulnerable: Another reason could be that you are scared of being vulnerable or baring your soul to another person. You are scared of someone else having access to your thoughts or emotions and are very guarded. Perhaps you are a very independent person and are not used to being vulnerable emotionally. Or perhaps have opened up to trusted friends or family in the past and they have betrayed your confidence and trust.

The truth is that people who struggle with opening up sometimes crave the positive feelings that come with pouring out thoughts and feelings to a trusted friend or family. If you belong to this category for any or a combination of some of the reasons listed above, here are some practical tips to help you open up. It’s not a guarantee that you’d start opening up immediately, but if these simple tips are practiced with time, there could be some positive results:

Embrace Vulnerability

If you can learn to embrace the vulnerability of being open to others, regardless of how it turns out, you will feel more secure and satisfied in life.
“One way to become more comfortable with vulnerability is to separate your action from the outcome. You can control what you say and whom you open up to, but you can’t control their reaction or what they do. Once you realize that you aren’t responsible for how others behave or react, you may feel more free to open up.”

Vulnerability is not weakness. Seeking help is not weakness.

Remember that you’re not a burden

Often times, we resist opening up to even trusted friends or family members because we do not want to “burden them with” our “problems”. Yes, everyone has what they’re going through at different phases of life, but you are not a burden. Your “problems” are not a burden to those who love you and care about you. You are amazing, special and loved. You do not have to have everything figured out at once and this is why you need to be open to being open (see what I did there?), especially when going through a hard time.

Remember that your feelings/emotions are valid

Whatever you feel at any given time is valid. Society pressures us into having certain feelings/emotions to different phases/experiences in our lives. Remember that your thoughts, feelings are valid and just because someone else might not understand or resonate with them does not make them any less so. Remember this when next you want to shut down the idea of opening up to someone because you feel you might sound “too sensitive” or “too emotional” or like “you’re complaining”.

Be as specific as you can when communicating with others

This may be hard to do at first, but with practice, you can get positive results. When you’re communicating with others, be specific. When someone says to you, “How was your day?” don’t respond with, “Fine. Yours?” Be more open than that. Give details. Provide examples. Share stories. People will feel more connected to you (and will probably share some of their own stories) if you open up to them. Don’t be afraid of details.

Find ways to connect

If you feel that you have a circle of people you cannot open up to for a myriad of reasons, find ways to connect with others. If you take the time to learn about the world, and about others’ views of the world, you’ll have more opportunities to connect with others. Don’t be afraid to share what you know or bring up unusual topics. You’d be surprised how much you might have in common with someone else.

Try Journaling

If you struggle to open up to others about your thoughts and feelings, allowing yourself the freedom to write your thoughts and feelings as the come to you, with no filter, can be very freeing and help you see the benefits of expression.

Journaling is an amazing way to articulate your thoughts more clearly and helps you understand in-depthly how you are feeling at any given time.A short while back, I wrote about how journaling is changing my life and some great benefits of journaling.

In time, you’ll be able to express yourself more clearly to others.

Most importantly, remember that if you’re not used to it, being open with others takes time. When you first begin opening up to people, there will probably be a lot of fumbling and bumbling and trying to figure out what you want to say and how you want to say it.

It is not easy for some people open up and it may take an entire conversation (or many conversations) to really begin connecting with someone on an open level.

Be patient with yourself. Every time you’re open with someone, the door opens a little bit more.

Every little creak of the hinge is progress.

“Being vulnerable means being open, for wounding, but also for pleasure. Being open to the wounds of life means also being open to the bounty and beauty. Don’t mask or deny your vulnerability: it is your greatest asset.”

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Why You Need Mental Breaks + 5 Simple Ways to Take a Mental Break

The importance of taking occasional mental breaks cannot be over emphasized.

Mental breaks are great for your mental health in general because they give you a much-needed boost in creativity and productivity. They serve to rejuvenate and refresh your mind so you are not simply existing on auto-pilot mode on a day-to-day basis, barely makin’ it. These breaks, if taken the right way, therefore serve to provide a healthy balance between rest and work/productivity in a very busy and distracting world.

Most times, people refuse to take mental breaks because they are subconsciously connected to certain procedures and routines, so a break (whether mental or physical) in same threatens to make them feel purposeless or bored. The ironic thing about this is that while you may often cry out for a break “Oh I need a break!”, “I’m due for a vacation” and so on, the moment you take a break, it may be difficult to break free from procedure and routine. This is why you find yourself working/responding to emails on vacations or searching for a new course to take, to fight the feeling of not doing enough or the purposeless feeling.

I recently took a mental break from it all and it was simply amazing. I would be the first to admit that sometimes I fall into the category above of people who feel the need to do something at every point in time. However, in recent times, I am learning to just be and enjoy being.

So how do you know if you need a mental break ASAP? Here are just a few signs to show you you may need to take a break and chiiiiiilllllll.

No Motivation: You lack the motivation to get things done and nothing seems to inspire you anymore. You’re just going through the motions of life and sometimes, try to get motivated, but keep failing to be motivated.

Irregular sleep pattern: You are currently experiencing an irregular sleep pattern which may be due to stress, insomnia or “burning the midnight oil”.

Anti-social: You have become anti-social and subconsciously prefer to experience socialisation through your phone by scrolling through social media and interacting with people online.

Stressed out: You are currently mighty stressed out due to workload, activities and sometimes, unrealistic deadlines you are fighting to meet. You are therefore highly irritable, frustrated, always on edge and just all over the place mentally.

Low creativity/productivity: No matter how hard you try, putting high quality work out there seems to be a chore and your productivity is greatly declining.

There a lot more signs that you may need a mental break which I will encourage everyone reading this to research on, but the fact remains that if you feel it in your gut that you’re due for a mental break, then you most likely are!

So what ways can you take a mental break? Well, I am glad you asked!

Unplug: Unplug from it all; distractions, notifications, emails, social media…all of it! Sometimes, we may convince ourselves that scrolling through social media is taking a break. While that may be true to some extent, our brain still does some work while looking at photos or reading captions which are capable of evoking different kinds of emotions within us.

Take some time to meditate: Even if it’s just for five minutes a day. When on an extended mental break, meditating and observing quiet times for minutes or hours at a stretch can help quiet and refresh your mind. Meditating or observing a quiet time does not mean overthinking or mentally crossing of things on your to-do list. Think of nothing in particular or just visualise relaxation by thinking of an image that relaxes you such as the warm sun on your skin or a calm sea.

Immerse yourself in nature: Feel the ground or grass underneath your feet and focus on being present on enjoying your environment and the scenery. You can also take a walk as this is great way to relieve stress because it’s a great escape for your mind. Heading out for a quiet early morning walk in a peaceful environment when possible may offer even more relaxation.

Just Be: Be okay with “just being”. Simply sit still and take it all in slowly. Don’t be in a rush. You may also choose to relax, watch something or read a book. This may serve as a great escape and can leave you feeling refreshed, relaxed, and ready to face whatever is outside your bedroom door.

Stay away from Toxicity/Negativity: Consciously staying away from toxic/negative people, situations or thoughts is a simple way to take a mental break. You are left feeling positive, refreshed, creative and productive. It’s okay to take a break from toxic or negative people, no matter who they are or where they are.

While these are simple ways to take an occasional mental break or two rom every day living, it is important to state that going on a vacation or changing locations does not automatically mean you are taking a mental break. Mental breaks need to be intentional, purposeful and effective.

You do not need to go for a vacation or change your location to take a mental break. All you need to do is shut down and shut out for a while till your mind feels rejuvenated and refreshed.

Remember, “You’re still worthy even if you do nothing. Your worth is in your being, not in your doing.”

I hope this was helpful in some way. Kindly share with me in the comments what simple ways you take mental breaks!

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How Journaling is Changing My Life + 6 Amazing Benefits of Keeping a Journal

Writing has always been a great purge for me.

As far back as I can remember, I have always loved expressing my thoughts in words, to the best of my ability, I must add…because sometimes, my crazy imagination cannot be put into simple words. LOL. So writing has always come easy to me and with time, I found that I did quite well expressing myself and articulating my thoughts with words.

I had always been a “journal-keeper” at different stages of my life, if there is such a word. Of course, at some point, I fell into the “Dear Diary” phase that plagues most female pre-teens/teenagers where I would whisper untold secrets to my diary (the type that came with a little gold padlock and key in its edge) with words, feeling confident that the padlock kept my deepest darkest secrets safe from the world. Plis, what secrets?

LOL. Youthful innocence.

Some months ago, I started Journaling intentionally and its benefits have been too great not to share. “Journaling generally involves the practice of keeping a journal that explores thoughts and feelings surrounding the events of your life.”

Whichever type of journal you choose to keep (gratitude, goals, ideas, values, experiences, curiosity or a combination of all), journaling and writing down your thoughts, feelings and emotions in different moments is guaranteed to give great scientifically researched benefits.

Journaling has become an integral part of my daily routine (I do this 3-5 minutes everyday, some days are longer). After the last sentence, whatever it may be, I drop my pen on my paper feeling somewhat satisfied, purged and more aware of myself, my emotions or what I am feeling at that point. I am then able to connect with myself in ways I may not be able to do through out the day (if journaling in the morning) or may not have done through out the day (if journaling at night.

I am really excited to share some of these simply changing and amazing benefits of journaling with you. They include:

Journaling reduces stress and anxiety

ARRGGHHH! I cannot over emphasize this enough! Journaling has helped to greatly reduce stress and anxiety in different aspects of my life. You find that writing about frustration, anger, sadness and other painful emotions helps to release the intensity of these feelings. By journaling your emotions and thoughts, especially when they are not so great, you tend to feel calmer and better able to stay in the present.

In the moments where I have felt overwhelmed with some challenges, putting pen to paper, even if not having the right words, has helped reduce any anxiety or stress felt at the time.

Clarifies thoughts and gives perspective

Another benefit of journaling is that it helps you prioritize, clarify thinking, and accomplish your most important tasks, over urgent busy work. Journaling has definitely helped me clarify what I need and desire in various aspects of my life.

By writing down your thoughts routinely, you get to know what makes you feel happy and confident. You also become clear about situations and people who are toxic for you — important information for your emotional well-being. You become clear about who you are as a person, why you feel the way you do in certain circumstances and how you can apply yourself to become the best version of yourself.

“Thinking in writing has this magical quality of clarifying your thoughts.”

Furthermore, journaling also helps to reframe your personal narrative and gives you a fresh perspective on people, experiences, things and lessons learned. By reflecting on your thoughts and experiences, you are, in effect, telling your own story. Journaling therefore helps to find new meaning and perspectives in these narratives.

Emotional release

Journaling serves as a medium to release your emotions on paper; when you are happy, sad, pained, angry, frustrated, sober or just feeling grateful, writing down your thoughts and expressing how you feel can be a great way to release your emotions.

When we are going through certain emotions, we find that we either want to speak to someone trustworthy about it or just shutdown completely and drown in our thoughts. Journaling serves as an effective way of purging intense emotions that may be raging deep within you so you do not implode or explode over little things.

Encourages mindfulness and self awareness

For me, this has to be one of the most amazing benefits of keeping a journal. By consciously articulating and writing down my thoughts, experiences and emotions at different moments, I have become more mindful of who I am at my core, the decisions I take and the impact these decisions have on me. I am also becoming more aware of my self ; my temperaments, likes, dislikes, wants, needs and so on.

Increases Gratitude and encourages healing

Often enough, I try to write down things I am grateful for. This could be difficult especially if going through a tough time. However, by writing down at least one thing, you become aware of the fact that life is not just composed of unfortunate events and it encourages you to maintain a positive attitude to life.

In addition, journaling helps healing through difficult moments. By consciously writing down your experiences, lessons learned and your feelings about these experiences, you are able to heal through these tough times. By writing and repeating affirmations, you are able to take control of your thought process and focus on healing and not suffering.

Self-discipline and achievement of goals

Needless to say, journaling helps to boost self-discipline and the achievement of goals. By constantly writing down your goals, how you feel about attaining them and the best ways you can achieve them while staying true to yourself, you learn to discipline yourself and can achieve goals set out in various aspects of your life. You are able to track your progress and look back on what you could have done better.

What if I writing is not my thing?

A typical question that comes up on journaling is “What if writing is not my thing?”. To this, I simply say “Then make it your thing!”

The benefits of journaling are just too great and impactful for you to box yourself into only what your thing is. As human beings, we are constantly growing, evolving, learning, unlearning and changing. Allow yourself to evolve and welcome new things/routines that are guaranteed to boost your mental health.

So how can you start?

Your journal does not have to be anything fancy. Just a simple notebook and pen would do. I would definitely recommend journaling the traditional way with a pen and paper and not on your phone. Psychologists have determined that writing things out by hand improves memory and encourages deeper thinking and reflection.

Your words do not have to be perfect or sound like a perfectly crafted novel. You are not writing for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction. No one is going to read your journal. Also, there are no right words. Just let your thoughts flow on paper.

In addition, it is important that you schedule time to journal, especially when you are attempting to make it a part of you. 3 to 5 minutes daily or every other day is okay at first or however long you find yourself writing words on paper.

And if you find yourself glaring at a blank page with a pen tightly clenched between you fingers for the longest time with nothing to write, start by writing down 5 things you are grateful for or 5 important lessons you have learned in the past week/month. Or simply write an open and honest letter to yourself, or perhaps a loved one you have been meaning to connect with or even a loved one lost.

I hope this was helpful for you. If you have started journaling, please share with me in the comment section, the benefits you have gained or hope to gain from keeping a journal!

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I Nearly Lost My Mind; Surviving The NLS Bar Finals

Nothing could have ever prepared me for the mental trauma that was going to be the Nigerian Law School. Absolutely Nothing.

Almost half a decade later and I still remember it as clear as anything in my mind (see how I said “almost half a decade later” and not “four years later”, with the former sounding a lot longer than the latter? LOL. English is a beautiful thing, really).

I digress.

I had successfully graduated from the university with a first class in Law and was excited about the learning experience the Nigerian Law School would offer. I love learning new things in life generally and I figured this experience would be no different. I had watched Hollywood law movies and series so “passing the bar” seemed like something exciting that would happen as long as you put in the hours and read well. However, I would soon come to find out that “no be everybody wey sabi book dey pass”.

At the time I wrote the NLS bar finals, a candidate’s overall result category was determined by his/her “worst” grade. There is the first class, second class upper, second class lower, pass, conditional pass and fail categories. If you got a first class, it meant you scored As in the all the courses written during the finals. A second class upper meant your lowest grade was a B. So you could have all As and one B and would have the same result category as someone who had all Bs…and so on and so fourth.

Now, word on the streets is that the NLS grades your Bar Finals by your average overall score. So I hear the pressure may not be as crazy. May or may not be true, but so I hear.

Anyway, so I got into the law school excited at the new learning opportunities. It was all fun and games until we got to weeks before the exams and I realized how much coursework I had to get into my head. (This is a good time to talk about the fact that you never know how well your brain can process and memorize a ton of information until you have to write the NLS Bar Finals).

As the Big 5 (the number of courses we take at the Nigerian law school) approached, I remember thinking I was going to lose my mind. I was barely getting enough sleep, I went through the worst forms of anxiety and was still trying to memorize almost all the sections of CAMA (Companies and Allied Matters Act…for the non lawyers, there are more than 600 sections) at the same time! I would stay up trying to read, fall asleep from exhaustion and then wake up and cry because…why should I be falling asleep when I still had tons to read?!

I would stay up all night reading and falling asleep and reading some more and falling asleep some more. When my eyes got too heavy, I would stand at my balcony at 2am with a torchlight to my books just so I did not fall asleep. (Oh, I fell asleep standing a couple of times). Of course, the mosquitoes would have a field day feasting on me, but what did that matter in the grand scheme of things?

I would drink all the cans of red bull and cups of coffee I could find…and still fall asleep!! Then I would wake up and cry because precious time had gone while I slept like a donkey…then I would stop crying because I would could not read and cry at the same time. But I would read for a while and then cry for some minutes…then continue reading! Oh, I was a mess! 😅😩

In fact, I stopped eating dinner at some point because it seemed like 24 hours was not enough to read and pack all the information into my head. I could therefore not risk wasting the valuable 45 minutes I could use to read to stand in line waiting to buy fried yam or rice and peppered sauce from Mama Aisha. A perfect waste of time!

The worst was when I would stay up all night reading a particular course then the next day, someone would ask me a question on what I had just read and I would blank out! I would even ask “Sorry, was I in class the day this was taught?”. With the person’s positive confirmation that I was in class, I would just silently weep in my head at how I was going to fail the Bar Finals…afterwards, I would go and cry. Yup, there was a lot of crying going on.

Along with all the sections of acts and laws, principles of law, latin maxims and case law I had to keep in my head, the pressure I felt was next to nothing. I remember always thinking “failure is not even an option” and “you will die trying” because I just had to make my parents proud. I just had to make my family proud. I just had to make my university proud…My university because I was constantly reminded that because I graduated from a Nigerian private university with a first class, anything less than a 2-1 at the law school would seem off. The fact that it was a Nigerian private university made it worse because I would get to know of comments like “oh she graduated with a First? Let’s see what she’ll make here. That one is equivalent to pass here na.” And sometimes, these voices haunted me at night when I fell asleep…and woke up to cry.

Stories would surface of students reading so much that they would literally run mad for some days, yelling and screaming in the hostels or acting abnormally that they had to be taken to the clinic.

I would attend these CLASFON (the Christian law students association) sermons and would leave there “pumped in the Lord” and heavily convinced that he was going to fight my battles, high-fiving other hopefuls after service saying “We have passed! We have made it”… Two hours later, I would be back in my room reading, panicking and of course… balling my eyes out. Now that I think of it, I probably spent more time crying and being anxious than reading.

I know people (friends, family and university coursemates alike) would believe they were encouraging me by saying “I believe in you” “You can do this.” “Ah, is it not you?” “You’re good to go” but in mind, all I saw was one more person I was going to let down if I did not kill myself trying.

I guess it also did not really help that when I briefly visited my university to do some clearance during the law school session, some of my lecturers would say to me “I hope you are reading oo. You know the school is depending on you. Do not give us a bad name. Look at this your colleague that got first class and failed…now look at the bad name we have. Read ooo” I would smile sheepishly and nod slowly as I walked out of their offices but the pressure I would feel afterward was mindblowingly intense.

So no matter how much I tried to act like it did not matter whatever grade I came out with (I would often tell myself “abeg, anyhow we do it, it’s fine” just to make me feel better), I felt the ever-present nagging pressure perched on my shoulder as soon as I opened a book to read. I promise, after I voiced out this view to an older woman one time, she looked at me and told me softly “Rachel, you do know that you cannot afford to get anything less that a 2:1 right? And that is the reality. Fortunately or unfortunately.” Needless to say, you guessed right what I did that night.

Fastforward to the first day of my exams. I can recall vividly the way my hands shook as I wrote my first paper. I had spent so much time reading the question over and over again; not wanting to start answering questions early so I do not look like oversabi (LOL, the things I worried about back then!) Besides, the week before, the DG had advised us to spend an hour carefully reading the questions…


I wasted so much time reading and re-reading questions that by the time it was announced we had an hour left, I had answered just one question. I had 3 more to go. Three heavily pregnant questions.

My heart froze. My palms became sweaty and the pen kept slipping through my fingers. I suddenly broke down in the exam hall and started crying. I was sure I was going to fail and this was the end. There was no way I was going to make it. It was almost impossible to finish with the limited amount of time I had left. Plus, I had mathematics to calculate in one question I had chosen! I hate maths, for goodness sakes! I had to watch youtube videos to learn how to multiply with decimals! I cried for about two minutes at my seat to the point my vision became so blurry, I had to say silently to myself “Rachel, you cannot write and cry. Pick one.”

And so I picked writing my exam. I wrote like a mad dog. I had no time to think or go over what I had written. But I wrote like my life depended on it. at some point, I could not read my handwriting, but I did not care. I was going to die trying. And believe it or not, I finished!…or came close to finishing anyway.

After the exams, some students would attempt to approach me to discuss the answers to some of the questions with me. I would politely decline, saying “Sorry, I do not want to discuss this” and stick my earphones into my ears. LOL. One time before my ears could escape the after-exam nervous chatter, I heard someone say to his friend “Guy, shey for that number 2 your answer na 2,304?” or something like that. I promise, my answer was “0”. I just smiled and walked away. There was really nothing I could do at that point.


It was one of the most difficult periods in my life but I am super glad it is over and I passed to my satisfaction, at least (I made a 2:1), made my family and university proud (one of my university lecturers literally took me round departments pranking other lecturers that I had failed. The look on their faces were….LOL. Now, I can say it’s funny, but then it was not, because all I kept thinking was “what if I had actually failed?”).

In my books, anyone who has passed through the Nigerian Law School in the past 7-10 years, especially on the first attempt, is a true champion, no matter the category of pass.

However not everyone had an immediate success story. Friendships were ruined, people suffered from depression while preparing for the Finals and after the results came out. Some gave up after the first paper and said they would return the next year only to venture into some other path in life. Some who had prepared so well unfortunately fell ill during the exams and could not give their best and so were judged based on that performance. Some had nervous breakdowns and went blank during the exams, forgetting all they had read and thus, coming out with not-so-great results.

Some of these horror stories continue to make the rounds amongst law students who are typically prone to suffering from high levels of anxiety, depression and nervous breakdowns while they prepare for the Finals. So, if you are currently preparing for the Bar Finals and find yourself in a not-so-great headspace right now, here are 5 simple tips you can practice to maintain optimal mental health while preparing for the Finals:

Stay away from toxic/negative people:

These could be friends or coursemates who just want to draw from you but have nothing to offer you. Stay away from any form of negativity or negative-minded people who may have already “given up” before the exam because they cannot “come and kill” themselves. Also, if you feel a tremendous amount of pressure from a particular source; perhaps friends or even family, reduce contact (as much as possible) with that source until your finals are over. You do not need constant reminders that your village people and communities are all depending on you.

Do not compare yourself to others:

You may look around you and think most people have it figured out. It seems like they are done reading and confident they will definitely pass the Finals. It seems like some people are not shaking and are ready to kill it.

Na lie.

The people who answer questions the most during lectures may have already started giving tutorials to many hopefuls who flock at their feet. And you are in awe of them and how confident you are. You start thinking of your own life and how you cannot even remember the section of CAMA that talks about removal of directors (hey, calm down. If you cannot remember, refer to your jotter or notes).

Do not waste anytime comparing yourself to others. They are most likely as scared and nervous as you are. It is not your business. Do not spend time wishing you were anyone, that would not happen. Focus on you.

Find and maintain a system that works for you

Do not get caught up in reading/studying patterns that do not work for you because your friends/room mate or whoever is doing same. Find what works for you and maintain that system! If you are a night reader, read at night; if you can read during the day, do so; if you do not like reading in the library, my friend, please don’t go. You will not suddenly appear more serious because you went to the library to read.

Get some sleep

I know this may seem impossible at this point and as the Finals get closer but just try. Even if it is occasional naps or at least four hours in the night. During the exam week, the reality is you might barely get as much sleep as is needed for your body so these weeks leading up can help to get some much needed sleep. Remember you cannot cheat your body. Some stayed up all night reading only to fall asleep at the exam table while holding a pen, ready to “kill it”.

Believe in yourself 

Last and very importantly, believe in yourself! You can do this! You have come this far because you are brilliant and smart. You may doubt your brain’s capacity and ability to handle how much information you are currently taking in, but do not worry, your brain can handle far much more than what you are putting in.

Believe in you. Take it one step at at a time, a chapter at a time, a case at a time, a section at a time.

You can do it and you will do it!

I hope this was helpful and encouraging in some ways. If you’ve written the Bar in whatever jurisdiction, please share your experience or a tip or two that worked for you to help law students stay sane while they prepare for the Bar Finals!

You can also watch a video I did on my youtube channel recently outlining practical tips to help you ace the Bar Finals!

You can also subscribe down here to my blog for weekly blog posts!

Breathe; A Gentle Reminder

This is a gentle reminder to pause whatever you may be thinking this minute, whatever you are currently over analyzing…and take a deep breath.

This is a gentle reminder to give yourself some credit. You have worked so hard to come this far. It may seem as though things are not going as they should or the exact way you want them to, but in time, they will fall into place perfectly. In time.

This is a gentle reminder to be patient; it will all be worth it. The sleepless nights, excruciating moments, sacrifices, efforts, resources, “wasted” time, the rewards not gotten. In time, they will all be worth it. Do not stop trying. Do not give up. Though you may not get any “recognition” now, but in time, you will. Remember that seemingly mighty dreams/goals are accomplished by first taking a few baby steps in faith towards them.

This is a gentle reminder to keep believing in yourself. Your belief in yourself may have dwindled over time, but remember that your belief in yourself and your capabilities can either create an amazing life for you or destroy one full of potential. All you need to accomplish all you desire lies within you. You are not limited by your circumstances, no matter what they may be unless you allow them hold you back. Remember that if you push hard enough, the universe will give it to you.

This is a gentle reminder to, at least once, today, take a look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself “I am proud of you (insert name)” because you are doing a great job, even when you do not feel like it. Stop being so hard on yourself. Stop bashing yourself. Stop talking down on yourself. You are way more than you think you are.

This is a gentle reminder to take it all one step at a time; because that is all you can really do. Attempting otherwise might cause you to get overwhelmed or worse, fall flat on your face. You want it all and you want it all now but there are steps that must be taken; steps in the right direction. Some of those steps may be full of uncertainty, doubt, fear, failures, anxiety, panic attacks and mistakes, but you must learn to trust the process and treasure the journey.

This is a gentle reminder that each person has his/her own race to run. Resist from engaging in subconscious unhealthy comparisons. Stay away from mediums and people that fuel unhealthy comparisons and self-pity. You believe that you are not growing or making any progress in life because you compare your journey with only the highlights and accomplishments of others while managing to lose focus of yours. Do not get fooled by the seeming perfections of social media. Focus on your journey and feed your focus. You are doing great, no matter how small you think.

This is a gentle reminder to forgive yourself first. Release the need to replay a negative situation over and over again in your mind. Do not become a hostage to your past by always reviewing and reliving your mistakes. Do not remind yourself what you should have, could have or would have been. Release it and let it go. Move on. It is okay to fail, it is okay to learn, it is okay to live.

This is a gentle reminder to accept yourself; to love yourself as you are. Your finest work, your best movements, your joy, peace, and healing comes when you love yourself. You give a great gift to the world when you love and accept yourself.

This is a gentle reminder to take some time out today to appreciate yourself, praise yourself and compliment yourself . You are special, loved and needed in this world because you have a vital role to play, no matter what role it may be. There is something within you so special, unique and that no other person possesses. Find it. And if you are yet to find it, do not worry, it will come.

This is a gentle reminder that your thoughts play a vital role in how you live your life. You can train your thoughts to be positive and hopeful or you can just allow them to be negative and upset you. You can chose to think good thoughts and feel good or you can choose to think bad thoughts and feel lousy. It is totally up to you. You can learn how to change your thoughts and you can learn to change the way you feel about any situation. Change your thoughts, change your world.

This is a gentle reminder that life holds a potential meaning under any condition, even the most miserable ones. Because you are having a bad day, a bad week, a bad month or a bad year does not mean you have a bad life. Your life can turn around for the better in the twinkle of an eye. Life can turn around in the snap of fingers for the better.

This is a gentle reminder that you are enough. You are all you need to complete you. You are a catch. You are more than enough and you are capable of doing whatever you set your mind to. You can accomplish great things, you will accomplish great things.

This is a gentle reminder to retain your sanity. No one can rush you through any phase of life without your permission. The right moments will come and when they happen, they will be magical. Do not rush, do not feel rushed, do not allow yourself to feel rush. Aspire, but enjoy the journey.

This is a gentle reminder that you matter. Your life matters no matter how tiny, insignificant or unnecessary you feel. You may not know this but your life, your mere existence, is an inspiration to at least one other human being. Your being gives them life as they try to navigate the tenets of this crazy world. They look at you and might not tell you but are inspired.

This is a gentle reminder to be grateful during the highs and graceful during the lows. To be grateful and appreciate life for what it is; because life, with its seasons and phases, its ups and downs, its promises and disappointments, its highs and lows, its explainables and unexplainables is beautiful.

This is a gentle reminder to pause and just breathe.

Taking Thoughts Captive

I think a lot.

Like, if there was an olympic sport for overthinking, the organisers would have to create a new type of medal for me, because Gold would not be appreciative enough of my abilities when I come first. Lol. In fact, When I win whatever medal they give me, I would be the flag hoisted up high (because that podium no fit do me) while a personalized national anthem would be played for me (and I would flap dramatically in the wind like a flag) because the olympic officials would marvel at how good I am at overthinking…honestly, I marvel at my imagination sometimes too.

SO while I have found that my overthinking could be a blessing in a way, in the sense that my crazy imagination can run wild and keep me company on days where I do not particularly crave human company (on such days, I laugh out loud at some of the things I think, so much that I am sure my neighbours think I am crazy) and also serves as a filter through which I can pass ideas, plans and decisions, I have found that it could be a huge problem because, well, no one wants their thoughts to run too fast that they cannot control them or keep them up at night. Plus, no one wants to remain stagnant because they are constantly over-analyzing, overthinking and not taking any action.

Overthinking and Over-analyzing

If you are like me and you suffer from overthinkingporosis, then you know that while sometimes, you could take pride in your ability to analyse situations to the point where you take the right decisions, you could also be subject to analysis paralysis where you find yourself analysing situations, decisions and plans to the point where you are stagnant and cannot make a move.

For me, I am learning to have a find a healthy balance with my thoughts and in analysing situations so that I do not find myself in a rut where I can neither go forward or backward. I am therefore attempting to take risks, take decisions, try new things out to see how they go first instead of overthinking and analysing.

“Do not let perfect be the enemy of good. Do not let good be the enemy of done.”


The thing with overthinking is that when you think alot, you are automatically more subject to an infestation of negative thoughts in your mind than the average thinker. These Automated Negative Thoughts (or ANTs as they are often called) always have a way of silently creeping up and invading your mind to the point where all that you think and are consumed by are negative thoughts.

“ANTs are cynical, gloomy, and complaining thoughts that just seem to keep coming all by themselves.
ANTs can cause people to be depressed and fatalistic, which have a profound impact on their lives. “I know I won’t pass that test on Tuesday.” This kind of thinking makes for a self-fulfilling prophecy: if they’ve already convinced themselves they won’t pass, they won’t study very hard and they won’t pass the test.

This type of thinking severely limits a person’s ability to enjoy his or her life because how one thinks on a moment-to-moment basis plays a large role in how one feels and how one conducts one’s affairs. If you are depressed all the time, you don’t expect good things to happen so you don’t try very hard to make them happen. The internal distress from melancholy thinking can make you behave in ways that alienate others, thus causing you to isolate yourself further.

On the other hand, positive thoughts and a positive attitude will help you radiate a sense of well being, making it easier for others to connect with you. Positive thoughts will also help you be more effective in your life. So, as you can see, what goes on in your mind all day long can determine whether your behavior is self-defeating or self-promoting.”

~Daniel G. Amen, MD

To get rid of these ANTs when they creep up, the first step is to identify that they are negative thoughts and that they are false. Once you have done that, you can then replace them with positive ones, the truth. The danger, however, is where you find yourself believing these negative thoughts as the truth. But, they are not true!

Some of the most common “species” of ANTs are:

  1. “Always” thinking: thinking in words like always, never, no one, every one, every time, everything. You get something wrong one time and then you go “I always fail” or “I always get it wrong” or “No one loves me” or “Everyone hates me”.
  2. Focusing on the negative: only seeing the bad in a situation.
  3. Thinking with your feelings: believing negative feelings without ever questioning them.
  4. Guilt beatings: thinking in words like “should, must, ought or have to.”
  5. Labeling: attaching a negative label to yourself or to someone else like “stupid”, “dumb” and “failure”
  6. Personalization: innocuous events are taken to have personal meaning.
  7. Mind reading (RED ANT): believing that you know what another person is thinking, even though they haven’t told you.
  8. Fortune telling (RED ANT): predicting the worst possible outcome to a situation.
  9. Blame (RED ANT): blaming someone else for your own problems

The RED ANTS ( as the name implies) are like those ants that, when they bite, go so deep you feel it in your soul, that you begin to question your purpose in life while trying not to cry like a baby. But, these are all negative thoughts that can ruin you from the inside out if you allow yourself to continuously dwell on them.

BUT…you can regulate these thoughts. You can replace them with positive thoughts and you can get rid of them altogether! Trust me, I will be the first to admit that this is not the easiest thing in the world. In fact, it’s hard. In fact, it’s super hard, especially if you are like me and sometimes, your thoughts run too fast and before you know it, you’re already entrenched in negative thoughts. BUT it is possible to take these thoughts captive.

“You can train your thoughts to be positive and hopeful or you can just allow them to be negative and upset you. Once you learn about your thoughts, you can chose to think good thoughts and feel good or you can choose to think bad thoughts and feel lousy. That’s right, it’s up to you! You can learn how to change your thoughts and you can learn to change the way you feel.

Briefly, some ways I currently am learning to take my thoughts captive, especially negative thoughts that try to creep up are:

Repetition/Affirmations: This means consciously repeating positive words to yourself to replace the negative thoughts even though you do not feel like saying them or even if at that particular moment, you do not believe it. I have tried it and it works. Even when I am moody, I tell myself “I am happy. I am loved. I am special” I keep repeating same. In crisis situations, I go “I am calm, I am calm” and over time, you find that it sticks and.. this has been proven by science, your brain releases chemicals that make you believe these words and replace negative thoughts with positive ones.

So when a negative thought pops up, I try (and I have been tryyyinnnngggg…it is tough, but I made a decision to at least, try) to counter it with a positive one. I set it up against the truth; against God’s truth. And sometimes, I ask myself “this thing I am saying about myself, is it true?” “Is this what God thinks about me?” “Does God really see me as a failure, or as dumb, or as stupid?”

We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~ 2 Corinthians 10:5 New International Version (NIV)

When faced with seemingly difficult tasks, I remind myself of previous tasks that I have overcome. I tell myself “I can do it” , “I can do it” even though I am shaking on the inside from fear or my heart is beating wildly. I tell myself “I can do all things”. Granted, sometimes, it is easier said than done, but hey, how would you know unless you tried? You say it over and over again until you believe it.

“I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength”

~Phil 4:13

One way to learn how to change your thoughts is to notice them when they are negative and talk back to them. If you can correct negative thoughts, you take away their power over you. When you just think a negative thought without challenging it, your mind believes it and your body reacts to it.”

~Daniel G. Amen, MD

Practicing gratitude: By doing this, you remind your self daily and with each moment of all your blessings; things you have that you take for granted, yet people would give anything to have. You remind yourself of the ways that God has come through for you in tough situations. You practice gratitude and you list out the things you are thankful for and you find that you feel better about what lies ahead.

Go easy on yourself : I talk about this a lot on my Instagram because I know that I am quite hard on myself. No, full disclosure, I can be really really hard on myself. I have been told by some very few people close to me and I am now consciously making an effort to go easy on myself and give myself some credit.

If you are your own worst critic, remember to relax and go easy on yourself. You did not come this far by accident, so you must be doing something right. And if you’re reading this thinking “But I haven’t even come far and have nothing going good for me right now” then re-read the point above.

Only the living can complain about how bad things are going.

Just go for it

If you are currently plagued with analysis paralysis and/or overthinking a decision you are about to take and have stalled for the longest moment, hesitate no longer! Just go for it! you can do it! You know those negative thoughts you are currently having about failure right now? The negative what-ifs? They would most likely not come to pass. BUT HOW WOULD YOU KNOW UNLESS YOU GO FOR IT?

I do not know who needed to read this today, but remember that once you start replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts, you will start having positive results. If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought.

Change your thoughts, change your world.

“The soul becomes dyed with the colour of its thoughts.”― Marcus Aurelius

4 Simple & Practical Ways To Prioritize Your Mental Health in 2019

Yessss, these two words…Mental Health.

It’s funny how sometimes we hear the words “Mental Health” and our minds instantly dart to depression, suicidal thoughts, schizophrenia, mental illnesses and so on. While these do exist within the mental health sphere, there is a lot more to catering to our mental health than these. As such, it is pertinent to continue to discover and imbibe ways we can prioritize our mental health and keep ourselves healthy all year long.

I am fully aware that there is this weird negativity ascribed to any thing concerning mental health in general and most times, the Nigerian society tends to subconsciously relegate “mental health issues” to the “crazy”, “sad” or “depressed” in the society. However, for me, prioritizing my mental health is one of the things I am consciously working on this year.

Clearly, our mental health (which includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being which affects how we think, feel, and act) and mental fitness or lack of it has the ability to positively or negatively affect vital areas of our life. Our mental health helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make decisions in life. It therefore goes without saying that if you are mentally fit, if you are fully present and at peace generally, and if you constantly decide to be happy in the midst of life and its eccentricities, then you are bound to achieve more.

“Your mental health is a priority. Your happiness is an essential. Your self-care is a necessity.”

Look, and I say this with all the kindness and care in the world; No one is going to take care of you the way you would. You are mighty loved by family and friends and have a special purpose here on earth. Your family and friends would love to dote on you as much as time and energy allows them. However, each human being tends to put their self-preservation first ahead of another. It is a natural instinct and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. So if you want to be physically and mentally healthy, you have to take the first step.
It all starts from YOU.

So, how, my friends, can you prioritize you mental health this year and in the coming years? I’m glad you asked! Here are five seemingly little but practical ways you can prioritize your mental health and protect your mental space.


It’s basically no news that selfcare is now one of the most used words in the world. Everyone seems to be taking to it and it is not rocket science why. You have to take care of yourself. It is absolutely important for your mental health and mental space. You have to look after yourself and sometimes, put yourself first.

This may entail saying a simple “no” to some requests(which i discuss below) or you taking decisions that may not make others happy. This is so that you are not constantly left feeling stressed out or overwhelmed or burned out. It may also entail changing your lifestyle to a healthier one by paying attention to what you eat, exercising and getting enough sleep. No doubt that a healthy lifestyle would impact greatly on your mental health as a whole.

When you put yourself first sometimes, you feel satisfied, at peace and are able to do more; more for yourself and more for others as well. How is it said again? “You cannot pour from an empty cup”

Say “No”

It’s amazing what power this little two letter word holds and what peace it brings. So I learned this pretty much late in life and used to be so stressed out and burned out due to the loads of commitments and deadlines I would bring upon my self just because I could not say no. I would inconvenience myself for others to my own detriment and I was constantly unhappy (this is not to say that sacrificing for others once in a while is not good, but there has to be some kind of balance in place)…and being unhappy or constantly burned out is definitely not the recipe for productivity or getting things done. Because honestly, if your mind is tired of doing so much all the time, then you’re bound to be moody, irritable, confused, frustrated, lack the necessary concentration or just be downright unproductive.

“Love yourself enough to set boundaries. Your time and energy are precious. You get to choose how you use it. You teach people how to treat you by deciding what you will and won’t accept.”
~ Anna Taylor


In a fast paced world, full of distractions of every kind, it is pretty easy to get subconsciously enveloped by it all. Things move by so fast(sometimes, it seems time moves by too fast!) that we’re constantly trying to catch up, you know? And while it comes with its perks, the internet and social media has made our connectivity and access all the more heightened. We are connected to everything and everything is connected to us. Access to you has never been easier.

So then, it becomes necessary, once a while, to unplug from it all…take social media breaks if necessary, disconnect from the world from a bit. Instagram would still be there when you get back, take long walks (you’d be surprised at the amazing effect walks have on the mind and mental health). Be okay with listening to your mind and your thoughts (which I discuss more about below) rather than having it crowded with information all the time or being pulled in different directions by people that have access to you. Practice selective availability.

I watched a TED talk on the negative effects of social media on your mental health and if you have time….mehhnnn you should watch it! You would be blown away. I have put a link here for you. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Czg_9C7gw0o


So this is something I started pretty recently and I actually have a full blog post on this just sitting in my drafts (yeah I know…don’t mind me), but I promise I’ll post up soon. But I’ll share an excerpt below so you see how this helps to keep you mentally healthy.

“No, meditation is not just about sitting cross-legged with your eyes closed and constantly making humming sounds. Meditation is a lot more than that as it involves a using particular techniques like mindfulness to focus your mind on a particular object, thought or activity. By doing this, you are able to eliminate unwanted thoughts and clear the mind of any overwhelming feeling. You are also able to train your mind to be more attentive, aware stable and calm no matter what may be happening externally. 

You can take five to ten minutes of your day or even an hour meditating. You can sit in an absolutely quiet place, in an upright position, close your eyes and focus just on your breathing or any other sound. When thoughts try to creep in as they normally would do, you mentally swat them away and maintain that quiet calm. You will find that it is harder than it sounds.

“With a calm mind, you are more likely to be able to act by rational choice and appropriately to the situation. When you are in a grip of an emotion, that’s going to bias your perceptions of what is occurring to what fits that emotion. Themes that don’t fit in, you are not going to recognize. So, a calm mind is an essential precondition for being able to respond to the reality, not the unrealities that you are preoccupied with.

The Dalai Lama says that if you are only aware of how you felt afterward, that’s pre-kindergarten. If you are aware immediately afterward, that’s kindergarten. High school is being aware during, and college is if you become aware as the emotion arises. That’s what we would all like to do, so we can choose whether to engage or not, in order not to have episodes that we’ll later regret. And I think it’s possible for everybody to learn this.”~ I promise I’ve forgotten who said this but I’ll find out soon”

It is simply amazing the benefits of meditation and I think this quote does justice to the positive effect meditation has on our mental health in general. When done, you’re left feeling refreshed and with a clear mind. So maybe try practicing it sometime? Yes? Mastery might take a while but practice makes perfect.

Looking at this picture calms me funny enough…

I hope this blog post was helpful in some little way. Let me know your thoughts in the comments! How are you staying mentally healthy this year?


The Growth Mindset (Pt. 2)

“Failure will never overtake you if your determination to succeed is strong enough”- Og Mandino

Hi Guys! I apologize for the break in transmission. Last weekend was quite crazy but all went well. I hope you’re excited at an opportunity to see a brand new day today. Life is a gift and every day above six feet below should be celebrated. You have another chance, another opportunity to make today count! So do not waste any time feeling sorry for yourself or lounging in self pity. Instead, you can spend some time being grateful for the gift of life itself…count your blessings, take a prayer walk, write down or accomplish a goal, call up/message a loved one and tell them how grateful you are to have him/her in your life, do something random that makes you happy. Just make it count!

The week before the last, I wrote the first part of this piece titled “The Growth Mindset” which you can read here where I discussed some of the characteristics of a person with a Growth Mindset and compared same with that of a person with a Fixed Mindset.

“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work-brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment.”- Carol Dweck

Photo Source: KINLT

I also included, at the end of the blog post, a link to an assessment test to help you identify what kind of mindset you have presently.

Today’s piece focuses on some of the ways you can develop a Growth Mindset. I’ll be sharing five tips which I have learned and am currently learning on how to develop a Growth Mindset.

1.Embrace imperfections- Who else gets super hard on themselves sometimes or most of the time? *waving hand furiously in the air*. I know a whoolllleeee lot about being hard on myself sometimes especially when I fall short of my expectations or other people’s expectations of me or make mistakes when carrying out an important task. I’m learning however to embrace my imperfections and to give room for mistakes, errors and other learning opportunities. You will fall here and there before you get to a stage where you’re satisfied with your performance and even then, with a growth mindset, you always seek to improve as the room for improvement is never big enough.

Some days would be good, some great and some outright discouraging, but I am also understanding that there are some things that I am not really good at naturally and need to spend extra time learning how to do and that’s perfectly okay. All you need to be concerned with is giving your best whatever the situation.

I’m currently reading the book below titled “The Rules of Life” by Richard Templar. It’s a really good book so far (even though I think the author gives off this too-blunt, rude kinda vibe in the book anyway; my opinion ) and I’ve learned alot from it including learning to accept myself for who I am and embracing my imperfections whatever they may be.

So embrace those imperfections and keep learning, keep growing, keep moving!

2. Fail forward- When you adopt a growth mindset, you fail forward. In failing forward, you acknowledge that failure is a part of our everyday life in achieving your goals and that you would fall a couple of times before we arrive at your destination. You develop the ability to get back up after you have been knocked down, you learn from your mistake and you move forward in a better direction. You see failures as learning opportunities and obstacles as building blocks.


“Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner…I will persist with knowledge that each failure will increase my chance of success at the next attempt…Each obstacle I will consider as a mere detour to my goal and a challenge to my profession.”- Og Mandino, The Greatest Salesman in The World

3.Avoid comparison- Do not in anyway compare yourself to the next person. Sometimes these comparisons creep up subconsciously and before we know it, we waste valuable time dwelling on them and feeling less than competent to handle certain tasks because we are too busy concentrating on the next person’s strengths and not ours. A growth minded individual realizes that each person has his/her gifts, talents, strengths and weaknesses and has an equal chance at developing same as each individual is unique in his/her own way. Focus on your strengths and develop your weaknesses into strengths. Also, feed your potential!

Photo Source: Opencolleagues.edu.au

4. Make a new goal to replace every goal accomplished- A growth minded person does not get complacent with his/her achievements. Instead, when one goal has been accomplished, a new goal can be made to replace that goal. This ensures that the individual is constantly learning, failing forward and trying to do his/her best at every point in time.

5. Fall in love with the process- Last but not the least, enjoy the learning process of it all. Life is in various stages and phases with each one presenting a plethora of lessons that we can learn from. Sometimes we are so obsessed with seeing the end result of a goal or a dream within a certain time frame that we get impatient and begin to freak out when the process continues beyond that expected time frame. A growth minded person embraces all the lessons that can be learned from life in his/her daily activities and in the phases of life while expecting the best to come.

Photo Source: Sublimely Fit

Do not get carried away looking out for only the end result or destination that you miss out on the learning process. Remember, the prize is in the process.

Have a great Saturday!

Featured photo source: teacherspayteachers.com

The Growth Mindset

“The view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”- Dr. Carol Dweck

“It’s nothing but a mindset thing” said just about almost every human being on the planet at one point in their life or the other.

And yes, we surely have all had a point in life where our mindsets played a huge role when when faced with something; a task ahead, a decision to make or even failure. In fact, everyday, our mindsets play a major role from how we feel when we wake up in the morning, to how we approach challenges, good news and bad news through out the day, to how we handle criticism; constructive or not and to how we take on life in general. There really is no better way to put the ultimate fact that the mindset you choose to adopt in life is everything…Absolutely everything. And yes, your mindset is a choice.

Your mindset is just that…Your mind, set in different ideas, beliefs about yourself, others and life as a whole. Your mindset affects your attitudes, your outlook. But in examining the two basic kinds of mindsets, what does it really mean to have a Growth Mindset and a Fixed mindset? And if by the end of reading this you find that you do not have a growth mindset, how can you develop one?

Growth Mindset v Fixed Mindset.                                   Photo source: talenttalks.net

It’s pretty easy to look at this picture and feel “oh I’m a growth minded person so that’s reallynot an issue” But take a closer look at the picture and then give yourself an honest assessment of whether or not you really do have a Growth Mindset or a Fixed Mindset.”

So there’s this professor of psychology at Stanford University, Dr. Carol Dweck who, along with her colleagues became very interested in students’ attitudes about failure. After much study and research, they observed that some students rebounded while other students seemed devastated by even the smallest setbacks. She thereafter coined the terms “Growth Mindset” and “Fixed Mindset” basically to describe the underlying beliefs people have about learning and intelligence.

“A growth minded person believes that they can learn anything as long as they are willing to put in enough effort into it. If they fail, they would get back up and try again, this time with new knowledge about what not to do. They realize that their potential is only limited by their willingness to work hard and keep trying new approaches until something works.”

A growth minded person takes on challenges and learns from them and increases their abilities and achievements. He or she does not see failure in its raw form and does not get discouraged or devastated by mistakes, but sees each failure as a learning opportunity or as an opportunity to be better and to do better. He/she sees failure not as an evidence of unintelligence, but as an opportunity for growth. He/she is constantly willing to improve, is positive about the future and hopeful that his/her goals would be achieved.

Photo source:mindsetworks.com

I’m sure as most of us read this, we thought “oh that’s definitely me” but hold on, lets see what the flip side presents.

Conversely and as the name implies, a fixed minded person basically feels that character, intelligence and creative abilities are fixed and cannot be changed in any meaningful way. He/she has a “you either got it or you don’t”. People with fixed mindsets only stick to what they know. They look at people in other fields of study or professions that seem difficult and who do well and go “well, because he/she is intelligent in this particular field. That is not my field and I cannot be good in that field because I do not have the “natural intelligence” for that”.

A fixed minded person believes “you’re either smart or you’re not”. He/she is not soooo open to new challenges or tasks and does not handle criticism or failure well. He/she gets super devastated when they do not get desired results or when they suffer a setback and then dwell in it for a while, not forgetting to beat themselves up and be hard on themselves. Because of this, they tend to give up easily when they suffer a few setbacks in trying to achieve their goals and conclude “oh well, this is not for me….I can never be this or can never be that”. They then feel challenged by the success of others.

Photo source: Brainpickings.org

So think again, which mindset do you possess?

While either of these mindsets form within us at a very early age in our lives, it is very possible to develop the other much later in life and they ultimately manifest in our personal or professional aspects of our lives.

Flowing from all of this, the important question to ask is “what mindset do I have?”. More importantly to ask is “What kind of mindset do I want to develop and get better at having?” Other questions to ask are “What mindset would I need to adopt to better achieve the goals I have set for myself in various aspects of my life?” “If I have the Growth Mindset presently, do I want to develop it and get better?

Remember that your words are very powerful, especially those you tell yourself and they ultimately determine what your attitude to life and minset would be. If you woke up this morning feeling moody and have already thought that today might not be such a great day, change your mindset….most importantly too, change your words. Speak positive words of affirmation and watch your mindset change.

“Change your words to change your mind”


Next week, I’ll share some tips on how to not only develop a Growth Mindset, but stick by it. Meanwhile, I saw this Mindset Assessment online and took it. The results are generated immediately and the assessment statements are quite interesting. You can take the assessment here.

Remember, “If you imagine less, less will be what you undoubtedly deserve.”

Stay positive, be happy and have a Growth Mindset today!

Featured photo source: warriormindcoach.com