1. They understand their brain can change.
People who are obsessed with inner growth realize that even the most long-standing habits and patterns can still be adapted for the better. They understand that brains are malleable, and in some ways, even fundamentally changeable.
2. They focus on controlling what they can as opposed to worrying about what they can’t.
They don’t just try to “control what they can” in life, they realize that they are in control of most of their lives. The things that they cannot control – like death, or other people’s behaviors – actually have little bearing on the day-to-day quality of their lives.
3. They see life as a video game, not a movie.
This is another way to say that they believe in free will (a concept that has “staggering” correlations with success). People who are obsessed with inner growth do not passively experience their life, they create their life.
4. They realize that their lives are a reflection of themselves.
People who are obsessed with inner growth realize that the quality of their lives depends entirely on how they perceive it and how they respond to it. They understand that if they change themselves, everything else will shift as well.
5. They realize they are connected to everything.
Instead of seeing themselves as outliers who only have to consider their own wellbeing, they realize they are silently connected to everyone and everything around them. (Neurological research on meditation that shows the part of the brain that separates the body from the outside world stops functioning at peak levels of meditation. This concept of connectedness is also a core tenet of spirituality.)
6. They focus on changing their mindset first.
People who are obsessed with inner growth realize that their mindset creates everything in their lives. Not because believing in something magically makes it appear, but because the way you think is responsible for the way you act, and the way you act creates what you have, do and are.
7. They think fluidly.
They are able to take in new information, consider coexisting truths, and are comfortable interpreting life in the grey areas. They are not more attached to their old worldviews as they are to the idea that they always have more to learn, and doing so can only benefit them.
8. They reject cynicism.
Becoming bitter is what people do when they feel helpless in the face of something they can’t overcome. People who are obsessed with inner growth don’t get bitter, they get better.
9. They keep an open network but are closest to the people who believe in them most.
The Pygmalion effect explains that one of the top predictors of someone’s performance at a company is the company’s expectation for them. How they are treated directly impacts how they perform. The same is true for socializing. Open networks have large correlations with success, as does one’s immediate social circle.
10. They aren’t afraid to get rid of things that don’t serve them.
Whether it’s clutter in their homes, friendships that don’t add anything to their lives, busywork that should be outsourced or anything else that zaps their energy, people who are obsessed with inner growth aren’t afraid to get rid of what they don’t want so they can start making room for what they do.
11. They are willing to take the blame.
Whereas most people are often looking for a scapegoat – or anything to which they can attribute their problems in life – people who are obsessed with inner growth focus more on the ways in which they aren’t living up to their potential, or taking action when they could be.
12. They believe the future can be better than the present.
Learned helplessness is what happens when people stop believing that change is possible, and people who are obsessed with inner growth aren’t passionate about it because they think its useless. They realize that the future can be better than the present and that they have the power to make it so.
13. They know it isn’t over until they win.
People who are obsessed with inner growth know that the fight isn’t over until they’ve won, until they’re different until they have defeated their demons. They understand that people recreate the same patterns, problems, and challenges in their lives until they overcome them. People who are obsessed with inner growth realize that they are the variable, they are what needs to change, and that when the real battle is against yourself, you don’t win until you heal.