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  • How a Growth Mindset Can Silence Your Inner Critic

    Thanks to Kris, my wife of almost 33 years, our family has always been a Disney family. I had never been to Disney until my 30th birthday, when my wife planned an incredible surprise birthday trip to Disney World. I still remember the magic all these years later. This was before we had children.

    Like many families, we raised our five children on regular doses of Disney films, clothing, and other miscellaneous merchandise. I guess it’s no surprise that one of our children chose a career with Disney in a corporate role.

    Over the years, we’ve had our favorite Disney movies and characters. There are too many favorites to name and not enough time or space to reminisce. As a ritual during the new norm of the pandemic, our family enjoyed a weekly family movie night. Our family recently watched the new Disney release “Luca” together. In Siskel & Ebert fashion, it scored thumbs-up from all six adult viewers.

    The story of “Luca” is set in a picturesque Italian coastal town. The storyline is a “bromance” of two young males named Luca and Alberto, his older and more worldly new friend.

    Luca and Alberto are sea monsters that transform into humans upon leaving the sea and change back to sea monsters again upon entering the water. On dry land, when they are splashed by water or rain drops, their flesh turns to scales. There are many foibles and fortunes in the story to keep the suspense interesting. Viewers are left actively wondering if the boys will be discovered as hidden sea monsters, which could be Disney’s allegory for “imposter syndrome” — a self-limiting condition of self-doubt in which many people wonder if they are as capable and competent as others perceive them to be.

    “Luca” was uplifting as it revealed or reinforced several vital life lessons. One of these themes was the importance of forming healthy, mutual two-way friendships.

    Throughout much of the film, Alberto is the one mentoring Luca by challenging him to overcome self-doubt and to silence the inner critic in his head. However, when Alberto experienced some negative emotions and seemed rejected, isolated, and lonely, Luca stepped up, and offered support and unconditional love as a new best friend.

    Silencing the Inner Critic

    A major theme of the movie recurred in different situations and scenarios. This recurring theme is the importance of identifying, naming, and silencing the inner critic inside our head and that dominates our internal thoughts. Silencing the inner critic is crucial to discovering our purpose, happiness, and success. Learning to silence the inner critic intricately and intimately affects our personal wellbeing.

    The inner critic stifles personal and professional growth by snuffing our dreams and extinguishing our hopes. The inner critic is a foe that keeps many of us from following our hearts and dreams.

    Alberto taught Luca to stretch outside his comfort zone and overcome his recurring negative self-talk by teaching him to recite and then exclaim the words “Silenzio Bruno” when he was worried to take risks. It was empowering to see and hear Luca repeating these words as an affirmation that he deserved to live free of the self-constraints characterized by a fixed mindset.

    Adopting a Growth Mindset

    Thanks to Alberto’s mentoring and tutelage, Luca adopted a growth mindset which is characterized by a desire for personal fulfillment beyond one’s current circumstances. Luca was limited by a fixed mindset when he believed his self-talk that he should not reach beyond his current place in life and when he was convinced by self-doubt to give up easily and not pursue new growth opportunities. In contrast, Luca experienced freedom in the growth mindset that allowed him to embrace new learnings and challenges.

    Luca reminded me of one of my favorite articles from Psychology Today in 2019 that highlighted 15 Ways to build a Growth Mindset. I hope this article empowers you to silence the inner critic of self-doubt that limits your future aspirations and overall wellbeing.

    And P.S., if you haven’t watched “Luca” yet…it’s not too late!

    Published on: 08.09.21

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How a Growth Mindset Can Silence Your Inner Critic