December 8


Know, Understand, and Acknowledge your Current Situation

By Harry Heijligers

December 8, 2017

Growth Mindset

This article is one in a series of Growth Mindset Hacks. Today the seventh growth mindset hack: Know, Understand, and Acknowledge your Current Situation.

As said in this article, having a growth mindset instead of a fixed mindset, has numerous benefits for you. And the good news is that you too can develop a growth mindset. Read on, for today's growth mindset hack:


We all have goals in our lives. Big goals and small goals. This means that we often are busy pursuing our goals. This is a way of thinking I’d like to call Results-thinking.​

In my early twenties, I had a good and dear friend Roy. He was a couple of years older than me and played the trumpet in a Pop band he had organized himself. While I was playing the trombone, he asked me to join him in his group. I played for many years in his band, and we all had a great time.

The band was playing very well, but just on an amateur level. But Roy had great dreams. He was always talking about international success and doing world tours and so on. He really believed that if we correctly played how it should be that we would a highly successful renowned pop band. This sounds great, isn’t it! I mean if you ever heard of positive thinking then here you have the guy who was thinking all the time positively! But, unfortunately for him, the band never got any success. Even not locally in our city.

So, what happened?

Why was his extreme kind of Results-thinking not bringing him the success he had hoped for? Well, that’s because he totally forgot his current situation. He was not aware, did not understand and indeed was not acknowledging the fact the fact he had an amateur band with unprofessional guys, like me, who just wanted to have a little bit of fun while playing music. His goal was so far-fetched from reality that it was quite impossible.

You could argue that everything is possible with the right action.

Well, that’s true of course. But Roy didn’t put in the proper effort because he was not aware of the unbridgeable gap he had to cross. But because of his unawareness of his current situation, he kept on believing that his goal was achievable. So, he kept on pursuing that purpose in the way he had done it before. With the same crappy result, of course. This is why it is essential to know your current situation well enough with regards to your goals so that you also understand the gap between your current situation and your goals and even acknowledge it. Ignoring the gap is no option, of course. Nor is whining and complaining.

For 25 years, I have worked as a Project Manager in large corporations, and in the hundreds of projects I have done, it was always concerned about making change happen. When I talked to my stakeholders about the project, they were still focusing only on the To-Be side of the equation. However, if you don’t know where you stand now, how will you know where to go.

I always used this as an example. Let’s assume that someone drops you in the middle of a forest. And your assignment is to go the nearest village with the name “A.” And, of course, you get a map of the territory. How will you know where to go? North? South? East? West? Well, if you don’t know where you are right now, you don’t. That’s why it is also essential to know your current situation. Not only that, you need to know your current situation, to understand it and to acknowledge it.

Let me give you an example.

Let’s say that your goal is to run the Marathon in New York next month. Okay great! Of course, you have done all kinds of positive visualization, so you have seen yourself pass the finish line a couple of times already. You will become more and more enthusiastic every time. You are highly motivated to run the marathon. But one day goes by and the next and the next. And suddenly you ask yourself why you haven’t started preparing yourself. Well, the chances are that you have neglected your current situation. You are out of shape; you haven’t run for months now. Your schedule with appointments the coming period is incredibly busy. So, you haven’t explored your current situation with regards to your goal. So, where to start? Clean your agenda entirely for the next six weeks? Start running 16 hours per day? You don’t know where to begin because you don’t know where you are right now. No wonder that you are procrastinating!

So, the first thing you have to do is to examine your current situation with regards to your goal. What are the requirements to run the marathon of New York? You must be in shape. You must have the time to exercise and prepare. You must have the chance to attend the event. You must have the budget to travel and stay in New York. And so on and so on. Now given these requirements, what is your assessment of your current situation? Give yourself for each element a grade from 0 to 10. Zero meaning entirely not appropriate, ten meaning excellent qualification. Now, you know a couple of things.

First of all, you can assess the viability of your goal. How SMART is your goal anyway?

Secondly, you can determine your weakest link and make that your highest priority.

So, now you know your current situation. But do you fully understand it too? Do you know how big the gap is between your current situation and your wannabee situation? Have you done your Negative Visualization to find the obstacles on your way to your goal? Have you decided on how to attack those challenges?

  • Step 1: Be aware that you can only depart from your current situation on your way to your goal. So, you need to know where you are right now.
  • Step 2: Assess your current situation without judgment and check how you are doing with regards to the requirements of your goal. I mean, if you have been dropped in the forest and you don’t know where to go to, so what your goal is, then why would you need to know where you are right now?
  • Step 3: Define the gap between your current situation and the necessary requirements.

So, now you know and understand your current situation? But do you acknowledge it too? If the current situation is not what you want, often people tend to ignore it or even fight against it. This is the worst you can do, of course, because it only brings you further from your goal. So, also if you have given yourself very low grades on the list of requirements, it still doesn’t mean much. Don’t judge it. It is like it is. And it is a reasonable assessment of where you are right now so that you know where to go from here. So, be glad that you did the evaluation, no matter how big the gap seems to be, between your current reality and your wished reality. Just see it as a stepping stone to make progress from there.


Develop your Growth Mindset and start by knowing, understanding, and acknowledging your current situation, so that you know for sure and with confidence what to do and where to start.

And until you begin to see the change in your life, let me know in the comment box below, what is your view on this Growth Mindset Hack, and I'll try to support you with that.

And until we meet …

Live fully, be awesome,

Harry Heijligers

P.S. Please take a moment to share this article. Everyone should have the chance to change his mindset for the better, don’t you think?

Thank you!

Harry Heijligers

About the author

Harry Heijligers has more than 25 years of experience as a Project Manager and more than 17 years of experience as an NLP Trainer. He has a Dutch blog about NLP here:
If you'd like to know about the Smart Leadership Hut, please check this: Smart Leadership Hut.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Never miss a good story!

 Subscribe to our newsletter to keep up with the latest trends!