The guru culture, or enlightenment industry, is much like the weight loss industry. It is full of gurus who look at the world, at human misery and offer “solutions” to large problems through a very narrow cone of vision, with a mindset that makes them look and sound special. Special talent, special connection, special story, selected especially to get this knowledge. 1
How they got enlightened. How they got the gift. Blah blah blah. Male, female… all similar stories, all lies.
Mindvalley is a great aggregator of gurus like that.
Just like the weight loss industry, the purpose of every purchase is to promise you that this is the last and only solution you need, only to leave you hoping that the next “solution” will be the last one, the final solution. Oh, and this is important: if the “solution” doesn’t work, it is your fault. But the next one will be foolproof… you being always the fool who can’t make it work for you.
The guru suggests that there is an end to the seeking and this is it. You found what you were seeking for.
What the gurus cater to is what is called “fixed mindset”.
Their own and yours.
Fixed mindset is based on the world view that you are born with certain qualities, intelligence, and personality, and it won’t change over your lifetime.
That there is an “I” and there is an “is”.
Landmark Education calls these myths… and they are. Except…
If you believe that you were given what you got, intelligence, talent, beauty, and it and you can’t change then your behavior will be consistent with that.
You’ll be offended by anyone suggesting that you are less than you could be, that you need to grow, that you don’t have what you thought you had. Or that you are not special.
You’ll be miserable, guaranteed, and you’ll be extremely reactive.
Your TLB will be on the bottom, and you’ll be seeking out people who make you feel good about yourself, and avoid everyone who makes you feel bad about yourself. And any and all feedback, correction, adjustment, will make you feel bad about yourself…
The main, the guiding principle of my programs is that you need to earn what you want.
How do you earn anything? You grow into it.
People with the fixed mindset won’t grow into it… not that they don’t want what they want. They can’t see that they can grow into it. They can’t see it, because growing into anything is based on the idea that you are not fixed.
You are not fixed. Not your IQ, not your personality, not your talent, not your skills, not your vibration, not the number of spiritual capacities, not your TLB, not anything.
Life is about growing, changing, and humans have an almost unlimited, almost unreachable ceiling of growth, regardless of their current IQ, personality, skill level, or anything.
Until two days ago I didn’t have a word for what’s stopping these people. (I’ll get back to the gurus in a little bit… hang on!)
Then I started to read Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset.
You see, unless your vocabulary allows for a new thing to be seen, you won’t see it.
Mindset works on your vocabulary. It makes some things dominant, other things not visible at all.
I have been writing to people who have no words in their vocabulary for growth, evolution. They can strategize, they can manipulate, they can scream, they can plead, they can see things they could change, but there is no word for growth in their vocabulary.
Change is not growth. Change is fixing. Change is based on the idea that something is wrong.
The best way to recognize a person with the fixed mindset, in the Starting Point Measurements, is their TLB and their response to feedback.
They will have 1 for TLB and evil for feedback.
70% of the people who ask for their Starting Point Measurements have fixed mindset. So they argue, they tell me that I am wrong, or they go into despair. The list all the people who had said how wonderful, enlightened, amazing they are. They unsubscribe. And often they demand a refund. They feel cheated.
With the fixed mindset they cannot see that they can grow, that they can evolve, that they can get smarter, through challenging themselves.
Of course everyone has a mix… in some areas even I have a fixed mindset… but now that I have a name for it, now that I see it, I can develop ways to grow in those areas too.
And back to the gurus: gurus have a fixed mindset. In that mindset they are special, they’ve got it, and there is no place to grow, no need to grow, no chance to grow.
My hunch is that I am talking about every guru. Or saint. Or Jesus, Mohammed, Buddha…
In the religions that don’t have a lot of followers, like Jainism, the unattractive part is that it is not a fixed mindset religion: you have to challenge yourself and grow.
In other religions you just pray and ask for stuff…
Judaism, in its essence, isn’t a fixed mindset religion, but your rabbi may be. And, of course, you hear what any rabbi says from your own mindset… not theirs.
The Scots, I learned recently, was a growth mindset nation for 200-300 years… very inspiring.
The English: no. The Irish: no. The German: somewhat. The Russian: no. The Hungarian: somewhat.
It’s a cultural thing… you get it with the breast milk, so to say.
My father had a growth mindset. My mother had a fixed mindset. The both had a fixed mindset about their children.
Because I didn’t participate with them… avoided them, I managed to have some growth mindset, that started to express itself when I was going to be thrown out of a good school my father got me into… for my poor grades.
I didn’t know if I was smart enough. I knew that I could become smarter. And I did.
In architecture school I was more dominated by the fixed mindset: the world was divided to talented and not talented people… a fixed mindset.
I returned to the growth mindset when I started to participate in the Forum, later the Landmark Forum… And although I stopped participating after 26 years, I retained the mindset.
50% of participants in Landmark have fixed mindset. Less than the world average. Why? Because even to sign up to Landmark, one needs to believe that one can grow…
You want to hear what other people say about you… hoping that you are better than you feel you are.
And you don’t want to hear what other people say about you because you fear that you are less than you feel you are.
Fixed mindset is a trap, and you want to get out of it. You want to get into the growth mindset.
Life is never fixed. Nothing much is fixed about you… except hair color, eye color, not even your body height, your tendency to be fat, or your tendency to have certain diseases.
I run into people who believe that they have diabetes and high blood pressure, and they carry it like their cross. They do not even THINK that it is not a cross they need to carry, that it is a result of how they live… and how you live you can change… it’s obvious.
So what should you do now that you’ve read this?
First, read the book. I haven’t finished it, and I don’t know what she is going to say about how to change your mindset, but in my experience when you have a new word your consciousness will start working… it is like yeast in the dough… starts transforming you.
You’ll catch yourself with the fixed mindset thoughts and you’ll say… Hoho… fixed mindset alert. And you’ll ask: what if it isn’t true? What if I am not dumb, smart, brilliant, or special… what if I can be more, better, and keep on growing and love it?
What if being judgmental, having prejudices, pre-judging people is what keeps me cemented in the life I don’t like… Because they are the signs of the fixed mindset?
What if it were a good thing to find out where you are at: you’d know where you are starting, instead of having illusions or delusions about that.
In my experience, the students who ask for feedback most frequently are the ones who use the feedback most to turn their mindset and their lives around.
The 67 steps program is incredibly effective for the growth minded folks and devastating for fixed minded folks.
You get feedback daily: you get to look at your life, your thoughts, your beliefs, your behavior in comparison to the thoughts, beliefs, behavior of people who did well… authors, billionaires, sports stars, etc.
If you have the growth mindset, you use this feedback to slowly turn your life around.
But unless you manage to turn around your fixed mindset into growth mindset, you won’t…
So turning your mindset around should be your first priority.
You’ll thank me for it later. And then I may even accept you into my coaching program.