November 24


Don’t expect results too quickly (Growth Mindset Hacks Series)

By Harry Heijligers

November 24, 2017

Growth Mindset

This article is one in a series of Growth Mindset Hacks. Today the fifth growth mindset hack: Don’t expect results too quickly.

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:


What happens when you have too high expectations of the results you want to achieve? You will be disappointed. You will be discouraged. You are going to doubt yourself. Probably you think: “Why bother? I will never make it. It is useless to begin anyway."

If you want to see results too quickly, you expect too much of yourself and too fast. The reality will then automatically and by definition disappoint you. You will stop trying to do something because you have realized that you can't succeed. You will throw in the towel. Then you are going to do precisely the opposite of what you should do. You either procrastinate on doing what you have to do, or you give up your goal entirely.

So, don't expect results too quickly!

It is also useless to expect results quickly because things just need their time. That is a law of nature. That applies to everyone, including you.

Chinese Bamboo Trees don’t seem to grow in any way after you have planted them. In the first four years, after planting, you will not see any visible sign that there is a Bamboo tree growing. Finally, in the fifth year, suddenly in six weeks’ time, the tree will grow 80 feet. Unbelievable! They can grow so fast because they have laid a solid foundation in the first four years.
The same law of nature applies to you as well. First, you need to invest in doing the hard work without seeing any results. So, instead of focusing on results, you need to focus on laying the foundation first. If you would focus on results, you would probably give up way before you have seen any results. So, you need to trust the process and in the meantime, keep doing the hard work.

There are two main reasons why someone is expecting results too quickly.

1) You are impatient because you don’t want to put too much work into achieving your goals.
For example, you want to lose weight quickly. Then you'd rather be ready tomorrow than the day after tomorrow because the sooner you can forget about your weight loss the quicker you can get on with your life.
You want to get rid of those extra pounds as quickly as possible with as little effort as possible. After all, you do not like to have to work too hard. So, the sooner you have results, with as little effort as possible, the better it is.

2) You want to self-sabotage yourself. If you expect results too fast, what many people do, that is asking for trouble. Firstly, it is an illusion, and it is a mechanism to make it easy for you to give up. If you know that you have to do something, which is not possible, then you know that it is doomed to fail. But if it is consciously or unconsciously your intention to sabotage your plan, then it is, of course, useful to create high expectations, because that is the ultimate recipe for failure.

How can you prevent yourself from falling into the trap of wanting to see results too quickly?

Be realistic. Realize that it is a natural law that everything needs its own pace and time to be accomplished. See the example of the bamboo trees. It is a law of nature that you will always encounter obstacles. No matter how good you are at planning.

“It is a law of nature that you must do difficult things to gain strength and power. As with working out, after a while, you make the connection between doing difficult things and the benefits you get from doing them, and you come to look forward to doing these difficult things.”
- Ray Dalio

My wife always expects things to go faster. So if she wants to clean the house, for example, she hopes to be ready in 1 day, while it would generally take a week or so. Then after a couple of hours, she realizes, that she has only done a fraction of what she expected to have done. Then she panics and ends up doing nothing anymore.

Let go your idea of the result. Make sure you don't think about it when you are starting a new activity. You will have a different focus. For example, you say to yourself "I want to clean the house for 2 hours, and I will see how far I come." So instead of focusing on the result, you focus on the work that needs to be done and then you will check what you have accomplished or not.

What if you are continuously focusing on getting the result while you know that it is best not to do that and only focus on the work to be done?

If I need to do administrative work, for example, well firstly I don’t want to do it, and I want to postpone it as far as possible, but secondly, I want it to be done as quickly as possible. I know that I need to let go of this idea of having it done quickly. So, I say to myself, “The next hour, I will do my administrative work, and after the that I know how far I got.” But that is easier said than done. In the meantime, while I finally work on my administrative work, I only think, when am I done? I hope that it is finished quickly. So, I can’t let go of this idée fixe of completing it as soon as possible.

The solution to letting go of your idée fixe of wanting to get results too quickly while you know that you want to focus on doing the work is a "Visual Squash".

Visual Squash

A Visual Squash is an NLP technique with which you can “re-wire” your brain. You integrate different parts of your brain which are working like a standalone-island by creating new neural pathways between them. You use your body as a vessel to create those new neural pathways.

1. Think of your idée fixe of wanting to have results too quickly.
2. Hold both your hands in front of you with the palms right up.
3. Make a visual representation of the part in you which is focusing on having results too quickly. Place this visual representation on one of your hands in front of you. How does it look? How does it feel? Warm, cold, heavy, light?
4. Make another visual representation of the part of you which wants to focus on doing the work. Place this visual representation in your other hand. How does it look like? How does it feel? Warm, cold, heavy, light?
5. Go to your first hand. Ask the part on that hand which purpose it has for you. Repeat this question a couple of times until you get the highest purpose of this part.
6. Repeat the same for the other hand.
7. Conclude that both parts actual wants the same for you and they are both parts of an integrated oneness in you.
8. Now bring both hands slowly together. Let your body do its work. As soon as you have concluded that both parts are one of a kind, your body automatically will start moving your hands together. Let it do its job.
9. As soon as your hands have come together, bring them both to your chest, and say “Thank you [your name]”; so, in my case I say to myself “Thank you, Harry”.


Don’t expect results too quickly. It’s unrealistic and counterproductive. It is a way to self-sabotage you. Instead focus on the work which needs to be done and let go of your expectations of the result you will gain from that. Use the Visual Squash technique to help you with that.

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.

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