Change Your Mindset and Do Something Great
Change your mindset and do something great!
The choice is yours.
Mindset definition: a person’s way of thinking and their opinions, beliefs and points of view.
"Lifelong learning is and must be based on some basic competences, and these include an entrepreneurial ability or mindset."
WHY mindset is so important
If you want to succeed at anything in life, your mindset is the key starting point to work on.
Your beliefs about yourself and what you can accomplish or not accomplish are what are going to drive your actions….
… and your actions (or non-action) are what create results or not.
This very article is a perfect example of this…I’ve been doing a lot of reading, research and thinking about mindset recently…for my own benefit and the benefit of my clients too.
But all of that effort in reading and researching the subject of mindset would be completely useless if ...
1) I didn’t apply it to me and my own life and...
2) if I didn’t share what the latest research on the subject says about the importance of mindset in taking control of one’s life and accomplishing the goals one has.
What purpose, in the end, would researching the subject of mindset be if I didn’t use it to help myself and others?
So, thinking about that lead to the action of sitting down at the computer and banging out this article for the benefit of others and…. at the same time for my own benefit.
Mindset and the Four-Minute Mile
On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister smashed through the four-minute barrier when he completed a mile run in 3 minutes, 59.4 seconds.
Interestingly, runners had been pursuing that goal since at least 1886.
“For years milers had been striving against the clock, but the elusive four minutes had always beaten them… it had become as much a psychological barrier as a physical one. And like an unconquerable mountain, the closer it was approached, the more daunting it seemed.” (British journalist and runner, John Bryant)
So, when Bannister finally broke through the 4-minute barrier for the mile, not only was their a collective “sigh of relief” within the running community...
... but within 46 days a second runner, John Landy, broke through the barrier, doing so in 3 minutes 58 seconds, and...
... just a year after that, 3 runners broke the barrier in a single race.
And, since then, more than a thousand runners have broken the 4-minute barrier running the mile - something that at one time was considered impossible to do.
The example of the 4-minute mile, and especially what happened after Roger Bannister finally broke through that barrier tells us...
... WHY our mindset is so important if we want to achieve anything great in life, and if we actually want to be in control - as much as is humanly possible - of our circumstances.
Why were so many other runners able to break the 4-minute mile once Bannister accomplished the feat?
Simply put: Mindset (belief)
Once other elite runners saw that what was once considered impossible was possible, their mindsets shifted, and they were able to accomplish the same thing.
“The others saw that they could do something they had previously thought impossible.” (source: The Power of Impossible Thinking by Yoram Wind and Colin Crook)
Taking Control of Your Circumstances
Life is like baseball.
The batter (you) never knows what the pitcher (life) is going to throw at him or her, whether a fastball, a sinker, a curve ball or a knuckle ball.
But the batter still wants to be, as much as humanly possible, in control so he or she can successfully hit the ball.
We want to be in control of our lives too… but the fact is that we can’t control everything, no matter how well we may have planned our path to success.
There are innumerable things that can suddenly be thrown our way that we were never expecting, e.g illness, loss of a job, death of a close friend or family member, financial setback, etc.
It’s especially under circumstances like these that our mindset is either going to help us cope and continue moving forward or….cause us to give up, shut down, quit!
This is WHY your mindset is so important, not just to you, but to the ones you love, to the people you work with and perhaps lead and/or to your entrepreneurial efforts.
"If you want to live the very best quality of life... regardless of what that looks like to you... you need to be continuously working on your mindset."
WHAT Mindset Do You Need to Develop?
There are really only two types of mindset: Fixed or Growth.
Fixed mindset people believe that they can’t, in any significant way, enhance your intelligence and that your abilities are pretty much set from birth.
Growth mindset people believe the opposite… that your intelligence and your abilities can be improved and talents can be developed through study, hard work and practice.
It’s easy to see how these two mindsets would affect the individuals holding them in the opposite way.
A person with a fixed mindset is far less likely to spend time and energy trying to improve his or her abilities or developing a talent or improving their intelligence...
... because these types of people believe these things to be static…. more or less fixed from birth.
And this becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy - in a sense - as this type of individual’s beliefs are confirmed to him or her...
... not because their beliefs are true, but because their beliefs cause them to refrain from putting in time and effort to improve themselves...
... and less time and effort means less positive results.
On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset is likely willing to spend a lot of time and energy focused on improving him or herself.
This results in an increase in intelligence and abilities.
Those positive results reinforce that person’s belief in him or herself and ( in their growth mindset) and they end up achieving much more than the fixed mindset person.
So, the differences between a fixed and a growth mindset result in significant differences in behaviour and those differences in behaviour will bring vastly different results.
Individuals with a growth mindset may achieve more than others because they worry a lot less about what can’t be done and spend a lot more time pursuing what they believe they can achieve.
Developing a growth mindset is a positive step that can lead to positive outcomes, but it's not a guarantee; your growth mindset needs to be backed by effort applied to worthwhile activities, and even then success is not inevitable. (source)
Examples of a Growth Mindset
Someone with a growth mindset focuses on finding solutions to problems, instead of finding someone or something to blame.
A growth mindset allows you to appreciate constructive feedback as you give careful thought to it, evaluating it objectively.
You seek out more information or other opinions, and if the feedback turns out to be accurate you'll look for ways to make improvements in personal performance and attitude.
A growth mindset helps you to see new tasks as a great opportunity to grow in knowledge, experience and abilities.
You take on the challenge of achieving new tasks with gusto and seek out help and advice to develop the skills needed to get them done.
HOW to Change Your Mindset
Be grateful for everything you currently have and you’re currently experiencing.
Whatever you’re current situation or regardless of what you’re experiencing right at this moment, you have reasons to be grateful…
... if you make a focused effort to find those reasons.
No matter what you're currently facing, there are always going to be millions or billions of people facing situations worse than you can possibly comprehend. Find gratitude!
One of the most powerful mindset shifting techniques is to either mentally review, daily, 3 to 5 things you're grateful for, or write them down in a journal.
One study conducted with nearly 300 adults, found that those whom wrote one gratitude letter a week for three weeks reported much better mental health four weeks and twelve weeks after the writing exercise ended...
... in contrast to those who didn’t write the gratitude letters but received counselling, or those who received the counselling while also writing about their deepest thoughts and feelings related to negative experiences. (source)
What’s more, the researchers, Joel Wong and Joshua Brown, found clues to HOW gratitude might work on our minds and bodies.
First, gratitude frees us from toxic emotions…
In the study mentioned above, the group writing the gratitude letters had better mental health afterwards… but not for the reason most of us would think.
The benefits weren't due to spending time writing more positive emotion words and phrases.
Instead, the researchers found that the mental health improvements were due to writing fewer negative emotion words and phrases, not because they were writing more positive emotion words and phrases.
Being focused on and writing about the positive emotions towards someone else and expressing gratefulness for having them in your life, means spending less time, or perhaps no time at all, thinking about negative, toxic emotions, like resentment and envy.
An attitude of gratitude prevents us from spending time on negative thoughts...
... and that may be the reason it has such a powerful, positive effect on mental and emotional well being.
Second, the researchers found that, even if it’s not shared with others, gratitude still helps.
The researchers didn't require the gratitude letter writers to actually mail their letters to the person they were writing them for…
…and it turns out that 77 percent of them didn’t actually send their gratitude letters out.
BUT…they still received the positive effects of writing those letters, indicating that the mere exercise of writing produced positive mental health results…
…so the researchers concluded that gratitude works even when it isn’t communicated directly to the person you’re expressing the gratitude for.
Hence, Wong and Brown encourage writing a gratitude letter, even if you’re not sure that you want to actually send it to the person you’re writing it for because the act of writing it is enough to produce positive changes in mindset.
Third, allow time for the benefits of gratitude writing to kick in.
In their study, Wong and Brown found that the positive changes in mental health in the gratitude writing group weren’t immediate.
The benefits started to appear 4 weeks after the writing was completed and, interestingly, the benefits increased 12 weeks after…
… this was a welcome surprise, since other studies showed the positive effects of gratitude writing declining as more time passed, but in this case the opposite was true.
Why this happened is not something the researchers can say with certainty, but their advice is...
... if you do a gratitude writing activity and don’t feel an immediate change for the better in your mindset, don’t worry...
... be patient, keep at it, give yourself time and you will eventually see the positive results you’re looking for.
Fourth, gratitude creates positive, long - lasting effects on the brain.
This part is really interesting.
About 3 months after the psychotherapy session, Wong and Brown took some of the participants and put them through a fMRI scanner to see how their brains were processing information.
What the scans showed is that the brain activity of the individuals who had written the gratitude letters was distinct from the brain activity of those who didn’t write the gratitude letters.
When those who had written gratitude letters experienced receiving gratitude themselves, the area of their brains responsible for learning and decision making showed greater neural sensitivity.
This indicates that people who are more grateful are also more sensitive to how they express gratitude.
Remember, these scans took place about 3 months after the gratitude letters had been written and the psychotherapy sessions had been completed…
... showing that expressing gratitude may produce long-lasting, positive effects in the brain.
KEY POINT: Expressing gratitude is a great way to rewire your brain and shift your mindset.
As a Licensed NLP Business Practitioner, one of the first things I learned when taking my course to get my license, was this NLP presupposition:
There is no failure, only feedback.
Failure implies judgement and finality, whereas if we view a perceived failure as feedback instead, there's no judgement.
Think about a little child who is just learning to walk... how does that look?
The child is extremely wobbly, falls down... a lot...
... gets back up... weebbles and wobbles all over the place... falls down again... gets back up again and...
... just keeps going and trying and weebbling and wobbling until he/she finally masters walking.
While the child is going through all of that... taking the feedback he or she is receiving and using it to improve, we never judge that child.
You would never think of calling the child stupid, or slow, or incapable of walking just because, at the outset, he or she is unsteady, falls down, gets up and keeps trying.
Instead, you do the complete opposite. You encourage that child to keep at it, right?
The fact is, the more feedback that child gets, the more the child learns to walk.
Likewise, whatever you're doing, you're going to get a lot of feedback.
And when you look at that feedback from the proper perspective, when you reframe what you now are viewing as failure and start viewing it as feedback, you're going to learn, make the necessary adjustments and improve.
Reframing failure as feedback is a key step in developing the right mindset so you succeed at whatever you decide to do.
Imagine how much the quality of your life will improve when you approach things from that perspective!
Watch the video below and learn what Angela Duckworth's research revealed about a significant predictor of success.
If you want to have a high quality of life, here are the most important takeaways:
1) Your beliefs (your mindset) matter because beliefs drive actions.
2) You should work hard to develop a growth mindset.
3) Gratitude is a key to changing your mindset.
4) Be patient to allow gratitude to "kick in" so you start to feel its positive effects.
5) There is no failure, there is only feedback.
Start applying these principles daily and watch the quality of your life, relationships and work/business soar.
What are your thoughts? What have you found effective in helping you to change your mindset? I'd love to hear from you so please share your thoughts in the comments section below.