Having a Growth Mindset

I'm starting to really feel like I'm building a life in London.

It's the sort of thing where I've got a pseudo routine in place, where I'm regularly grocery shopping and catching the right buses, and maybe even being asked for directions from tourists (soooooo legit).

It's a testament to the adaptability of humans. Even when we reach points in life where our souls feel depleted, we still somehow have the strength to recover. It's a concept I've been learning in class: the growth mindset.

Essentially, you can be one of two people: a fixed mindset person or a growth mindset person. Using the very simple example of a puzzle, the fixed mindset person will give up in frustration when met with harder and unfamiliar puzzles. They will turn back to what's familiar and easy, believing that is all they are good at. However, as you've guessed by now, the growth mindset person takes on the harder puzzles, despite the possibility of failure. They recognize the challenge.

Last year, I can safely say I had a fixed mindset. I flew to Turkey with all the usual fantasies about living overseas and was met with the reality of life. It was the most difficult challenge I had ever faced. A fish out of water confused by my struggle, I retreated. While I had some legitimate reasons for turning back, I was unable to really understand the root of my sadness.

Coming into London, I had already changed my mindset.

Did I tell you guys I cried my first night here? It wasn't from sadness or pain, but rather, shock. A primal reaction took over my body and there I was sobbing on the floor like a complete lunatic, taking in all that shock. Once the feeling passed, I wiped my eyes, left my room and knocked on my neighbor's door. I asked something along the lines of, "Hey! Do you wanna come out with me tonight?" It was an odd transition; but symbolic, none the less.

I was in the fledgling stage of building my new life. Of course, not everyone reacts the same way to an international move. What made my move(s) shocking for me was my fear of the unknown and the challenge ahead. Now I know it is the greatest reward to jump off the highest cliff and still clumsily find a way to fly.

I continue to welcome the challenge.


  1. GREAT post, Ashley! Really enjoyed it. I was fixed before too, but I like life more with a growth mindset!

    My first night in England (when I moved there) I cried too. I was freaked out by what I had done. How would I ever be able to live in another country, work in another country, (live&work-) -in another language. So many things were different. But at the same time I was super excited too. It turned out to be a fantastic learning experience for me.

    And when I moved to Spain years later, I was expecting to cry and be scared at my arrival too, cause I thought it was something I would have to go through. But I wasn't. I think probably having gone through it once, there wasn't more left to be scared about, from what scared me the first time. I was just ready to embrace this new life with open arms. I can't say enough how happy I am that I decided to pack up and move to Spain :) And I hope you are just as happy about your move to the UK! Have a great day!

  2. I can actually tell a difference in you & your writing from when you went to Turkey and it's a positive change! I am so glad you seem to really be embracing and enjoying your time in the UK!

  3. Congratulations! I love it when I hit that point when I start to feel at home in a new place, it always feels like a great accomplishment.

  4. Very well written Ashley. I recognize myself in so much that you write about. I think moving to a new place - all alone especially (which is the best growing experience)- is always a shock, and never quite like you expected.
    I'm so excited to see you and talk about your experience.
    It will be even more fun when London really starts feeling like home.
    I remember that after I was traveling a little to LA, Las Vegas or wherever else, I noticed how much I looked forward to come home - to San Diego. It is interesting when a country that isn't initially your country starts feeling like home.
    Good to know we can adapt that easily ;)
    (Must say I'm still missing what I now call my second home at times;))

    - Sonja

  5. I've definitely cried the first nights (most recently last year), and mindsets do make a huge difference. I think we're all allowed some "failures" or "false starts" like Turkey, because not everything is a good idea at a good time, but I'm so glad your current adventure is agreeing with you so much!

  6. This is a really great post! I can totally feel you when you say that the first night is probably the hardest for a transition.


  7. This is all so very wonderful to read. Except for the crying part, but I reckon it's all part of it. Suddenly I want to plan a trip somewhere. Why is that? ;)

  8. First nights are always hard for a transistion of any kind. First few days are the things that we doubt ourselves but once we reach out and create a support group around ourselves - then it seems better! :)


  9. I love this post. I think I'm having a growth mindset in more & more ways but it can be very hard to be okay with the unfamiliar & strange when the familiar is so comfortable! But when we do cross over and the unfamiliar becomes the familiar? That's amazing. And you're amazing. The first night is always the hardest but when you can look back a year from now and see how much you've grown because of your leap of faith? Nothing like it!