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To say that mindset is everything seems like a too broad and big statement. Is it really true that mindset is everything or is it just an attractive tag line? When we consider mindset as most important aspect of a human being, we are not downplaying all other factors that influence our success and happiness. However, there are solid reasons to claim that the mental attitude of a person plays a significantly bigger role in determining which direction his life will head in long term.
Do you think that a young farmer boy in early 19th century whose name was Abraham Lincoln had any different frame of mind from his peers? We bet he does. What about Henry Ford who refused to bow down to the challenges of producing motor vehicles on large scale using innovating idea of assembly line? Did he possess the same beliefs as other industrialist of his era? What about the mindset of a innocent prisoner who spent golden 25 years of his life in jail for the sake of his fellow human beings? It is very difficult to imagine what it takes to develop a attitude of no grudge even after losing a big part of life in prison.
Before we try to understand why mindset is everything and how we should develop the right mentality, let us first explore what mindset actually is.
IN THIS ARTICLE:
WHAT IS A MINDSET?
The dictionary defines mindset in these words:
- A person’s way of thinking and their opinions
- A person’s usual attitude or mental state is his or her mindset.
- A mental attitude or inclination
So mindset is a way of looking at things and events happening around us. It is our way of interpreting events and circumstances. It helps us deal with different situations and events in our life. It is our mental framework through which we operate in the world. In simple terms, mindset is a philosophy of life.
Thoughts are behaviors we haven’t learned to observe yet.b.f. skinner
On intellectual level, we human beings are collection of different belief systems. These beliefs help us make sense of things around us. They work as mental navigational map for us to operate our routine lives rather in relatively smooth and less chaotic way. Our mindset is the essence of those beliefs. It creates a holistic picture of our mental models which define who we are, what we value and how we want to experience each and every moment of our life. Our beliefs influence how we think, feel, behave, and act in different circumstances.
WHERE DOES MINDSET COME FROM?
We all have mindsets and they differ from each other. It is because we have different upbringing, education and experiences. We all lived in slightly different environments. Early nurturing plays a vital role in develop the mental attitude. It is greatly influenced by following external factors:
- Parenting: Our parents are our first role models. They play a huge role in determining what we believe. We consciously and unconsciously adopt certain beliefs from our parents that remain with us for most part of our lives.
- Siblings: We adopt certain habits and attitude from our siblings out of inspiration or compulsion. These habits could be helpful or harmful in the long run.
- Teachers: Our teachers have great influence on our thinking, beliefs and our world view. We look up to them for guidance and encouragement.
- Friends: The people who impact us most in our early teens are our friends. We grow collectively and influence each other in many subtle and overt ways. For many people, this is the defining factor of what kind of people they become.
- Culture: Our cultural norms, including religion and political environment also play a role in developing our beliefs, attitudes and outlook on life.
However, we are not completely dependent on outside circumstances to have the perspective about different things and ideas. We actually have a lot more control over how we develop and shape our mind than we actually realize. We have the power of choice to focus on one perspective and ignore the other. We could develop the ability to control how to interpret things happening around us and to us. Even more importantly, we are in complete control of how we are going to respond to things and events at each and every moment of our life.
Mindsets are beliefs – beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities and abilities.
So our mindset is actually a combination of external forces and internal thought processes which make each and every one of us a unique human being. No two persons can think exactly the same way. You can’t see the world through my eyeballs nor could I. That’s why we say that that we all have different mindsets.
WHY MINDSET IS EVERYTHING?
Your mindset is everything. There is no doubt about that. But you may ask, what does this really means when we say that mindset is everything? It does not tell anything specific about the value of a mind. When we say that mindset is everything, it simply means that your mental thinking pattern has a significant impact on your life.
A healthy mentality is important to live an emotionally healthy, happy and fulfilling life. It affects every aspect of our existence. It influences our mental and physical health, our relationships, our career and our level of overall fulfillment in life. Mindset is everything because it has the power to change your destiny.
In order to live a functional life, we dependent on our physical senses of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting and feeling. However on intellectual level, we navigate through the terrain of everyday actions and long term decisions through our mind.
In the absence of a right or well functioning mindset, we become disabled to go through complexities of life in an efficient way. However, in contrast to physical disability, it is very difficult to evaluate and identify the deficiency of a dysfunctional mind. It requires a lot of introspection and self-awareness to identify the deeply held beliefs that provide foundation for our mindset.
The Impact of Mindset
Talent and luck play a vital role in determining success or failure of an individual or organization. However they are not the deciding factors. It is the mental approach that people carry, greatly influences the outcome in any given situation. Your specific attitide helps you evaluate a situation from a particular angle, based on which you may change your response, action or decision.
If you believe that a couple of failures means it is too difficult or even impossible for you to achieve a target, then you would simply give up as soon you hit that benchmark of ‘failure’. However, if your whole idea of failure is flipped upside down and you use it for better preparation and more resilience, then you would not to abandon a task just because a couple of your efforts were not successful. So the same outcome may trigger different responses in different people because they possess different mindsets.
TYPES OF MINDSETS
There can be as many mindsets as many people in the world. It is fascinating that two people no matter how similar their conditions are, see and interpret the same situation differently. Our uniqueness help us curate our own mindset. However, we can put different mindsets in broad categories based on some common characteristics. These cateogories are following:
- Growth Vs Fixed Mindset
- Positive Vs Negative Mindset
- Strong Vs Weak Mindset
- Challenge Vs Complacent Mindset
- Abundance Vs Scarcity Mindset
- Entrepreneurial Vs Employee Mindset
- Mindful Vs Absent Mindset
However, for the purpose of this article, we will only talk about two commonly known mindsets. Carol Dweck in her world famous book Mindset, introduced the idea of growth mindset and fixed mindset. This concept is a great way to understand the workings of mind and to use it in empowering ways. Let us briefly discuss each one of them.
Growth mindset is a kind of mindset that is open to new experiences, ideas and opinion. As the name suggest, people with growth mindset are always in a learning mode. They believe that they can learn, grow and improve. These people focus on the possibility instead of limitations. They seek new challenges, go beyond comfort zone, enjoy in the unknown territory and are neither afraid of obstacles nor failures.
Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn’t mean that others can’t do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training.Carol Dweck
Fixed mindset is opposite to growth mindset. People with fixed mindset believe that their qualities are carved in stone. They think that they are either competent or not; they think that they can’t do anything about it. The fixed mentality people enjoy living in familiar territory. Out of ordinary ideas or events make them uncomfortable. They avoid failure at all costs. They are not ready to try out new things and they don’t like to be seen as imperfect. Therefore, the fear of defeat trumps their desire of success.
SEVEN REASONS WHY MINDSET IS IMPORTANT
1. Mindset Determines Happiness Level
Happiness is not a place to reach or an outcome to achieve. No matter how much net worth you have, no matter how famous you become, how pretty you look, no amount of success can guarantee you happiness. Happiness is a state of mind. In other words, it is your way of thinking that determines your happiness.
If you make your happiness conditional to some external outcome, you may keep waiting forever because there is no guarantee that your wish could be fulfilled. The attitude of delaying happiness until we achieve a certain goal deprives many people of enjoying their lives. Therefore it is important to develop a mindset that is not dependent on external factors for happiness rather seek inner fulfillment.
2. Resilience against Setbacks
Obstacles, setbacks and failures are inevitable. No matter how talented or prepared you are, you may have to face barriers and problems on your way to achieve something. There is nothing wrong in facing obstacles. The problem arises when we start losing faith after successive failures.
The difference between successful and unsuccessful people is mostly their response to different challenges. Some people give up only after a few attempts however others keep trying despite many failed efforts. The difference in mindset make people react to same situations differently. The people with mindset of resilience are most likely to succeed. When you are tolerant of failure, you are deserving of success.
3. Mindset of Possibility
The concept of possible and impossible is very subjective. A lot of things that were not possible a hundred years ago, now seem ordinary. The inventions of television, internet, wireless technology and advances in medical science are no less than miracles. Similarly, what we imagine as impossible today, may become reality in a couple of decades.
The greatest inventions and the kind of progress we have seen could not feasible in the absence of possibility mindset. The right mental framework will help you find solution to the problems that may seem unsolvable. However the deficient mindset not only abandons challenging goals, it also shake belief in the ability to pursue achievable targets. Therefore, if you believe that something can be done, you find a ways to do it. However if you believe that something can’t be done, you find an excuse for not doing it.
4. Acceptance of Imperfections
If you are a growth minded person, you will not be afraid to accept your shortcomings and mistakes. In fact you will actively find your imperfections, accept those you can’t change and make effort to overcome those weaknesses that are within your control.
I don’t divide the world into the weak and the strong, or the successes and the failures…. I divide the world into the learners and non-learners.Benjamin Barber
When you really believe that your mindset is everything, you will then tolerate the discomfort of accepting your mistakes and learning and learning from them. It requires a great shift in mind because we don’t want to be viewed as fool or incompetent. So a right mindset is needed to overcome the pain of imperfection.
5. Disciplined Mindset
A disciplined mind is a very powerful mind. However, discipline is not a natural state, at least not in the chaotic world we live in. The blessing of modern technology brings with it the curse of interruptions. We are constantly being bombarded with distraction all the time. The addiction with social media has reduced our attention span and deeply hampered our creative thinking ability.
No great feat of intellectual level could be achieved in the absence of focused attention. Therefore it is imperative to develop a disciplined mindset if we are to use our cognitive abilities at their maximum potential.
6. Handling Uncertainty
James Clear, author of Atomic Habits said that the ultimate form of preparation is not planning for a specific scenario, but a mindset that can handle uncertainty. No one can guarantee which scenario will unfold in future. Life is full of uncertainties and surprises. We prepare for one kind of scenario and have to deal with completely different circumstances.
The unexpected turn of events make life exciting as well as challenging. Preparation is very important in handling specific problems. However, only preparation may not take you through many unforeseen turn of events. Such moments call for a mindset that can handle uncertainty with confidence.
When you are mentally ready for anything and everything, nothing takes you by surprise. You then keen your nerves under control and do everything in your power to handle that unexpected challenge. When we say that mindset is everything, we also mean that a powerful thinking mind can handle everything.
7. Criticism as Fuel
Criticism could prove to be fatal if not handled in a proper way. Whenever we face any criticism, we push back and try to protect ourselves due to our evolutionary defense mechanism. However, criticism is not always bad. Actually it is a very way to obtain feedback and use it to improve our shortcomings.
A powerful mentality will not see criticism as threat rather will make effective use of it by making necessary changes wherever they are needed. However, not all criticism is equal. Some kind of criticism is constructive and valuable while others are toxic and should not be tolerated.
HOW TO DEVELOP A POWERFUL MINDSET
– Have a Vision
A life without purpose is a soulless life. Purpose creates meaning, passion and excitement in our life. When you define a big grand purpose, you become excited. You start diligently working on yourself and your goals. The bigger your purpose is, the more empowered you feel.
– Develop Self-Belief
You are what you believe you are. Self-belief is what gives you strength and make you mentally strong. It can be developed through positive & empowering thoughts as well as courageous bold actions.
– Incorporate Optimism
Being optimistic is being certain of the possibility of your desired outcome. Pessimistic mindset is death to your dreams. Always Look at the bright aspect of every situation and you will find something that gives you hope and belief.
– Hang out with Right People
We are the product of our environment. We learn to think in ways of our parents, peers and colleagues. We unconsciously adopt their belief systems. Be careful of the mentality of people you hang out with.
– Stop Seeking Approval
Approval-seeking is for weak people. A person with powerful mindset is not dependent on the permission and agreements of other people. He does not care what the world thinks about him. He goes for what he believes is right.
– Recharge Yourself
The computer system needs a reboot to install updates. So does human mind. You need constant recharge to shed off toxins and heal physically, emotionally and spiritually. Bless yourself with solitude time to meditate, pray, walk as well as exercise and proper sleep.
– Compete with Yourself
You don’t need to win from other people. Your competition is with yourself. Be better than you yesterday was. That is your benchmark of improvement. Never get into trap of comparing yourself with others.
– Take on the Challenges
We grow by doing something we have not done before. If you don’t accept new challenges, you remain the same. Our abilities, skills and even mindset expands and improves by facing new challenges and making effort find solutions to the difficult problems of life. So always welcome challenges with open heart and mind.
WHAT KIND OF MINDSET DO YOU POSSESS?
Everything you need to become better, live happy and achieve more is a right mental approach. In essence, mindset is everything.
Have you ever evaluated what kind of mindset do you possess? Are you carrying a mindset of progress, growth, improvement and abundance or a mindset of limitation, deficiency, fear and scarcity?
Take a deep look at your communication, habits, behaviors and actions, you will find the answer.
SUMMARY : MINDSET IS EVERYTHING
I am hopeful that this article has given you enough reasons to believe that mindset is everything. The empowering mind can do wonders whereas the destructive mind could put you in the rabbit hole of despair and misery. Following are the key takeaways from this article:
- Mindset is a combination of a person’s way of thinking, attitude and beliefs. It comes from upbringing, environment, education as well as personal choices.
- Mindset is everything because it is the single most important factor to determine a person’s level of success, happiness and fulfillment.
- We all have different mindsets; some are empowering and valuable while others are limiting and negative.
- People with growth mindset believe in improvement, effort and change. However, the people who possess fixed mindset believe that talent, ability and improvement are not possible.
- The right mentality increases satisfaction, give sense of control in uncertain situations, handles criticism effectively and makes difficult situations favorable through appropriate response.
- A powerful mindset can be developed through purpose-driven life, self-belief, optimism, hanging out with right people and willingness to face challenges.
- When you believe that mindset is everything, it means you believe that you have control over your life because you have control over your own mind.
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