We are living in a season that is defined by a battle for your mind, your mental health and emotional wellness. The psychology magazines are filled with articles and discussions about the effect the myriad of issues in 2020 have had on the health of our culture as a whole. Many are struggling with depression, discouragement, pessimism, fear. It affects not only the way in which we lead, but the way in which life as a whole is lived. The one who is going to excel or even just survive is the person who develops a healthy mindset. That is a way of thinking, a mental inclination or disposition, or a frame of mind.
Your mindset is your collection of thoughts and beliefs that shape your thought habits. And your thought habits affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do. Your mind-set impacts how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of you. Your mindset is a big, big deal.
Mindset.com defines mindset as a collection of beliefs and thoughts: “Mindsets are those collection of beliefs and thoughts that make up the mental attitude, inclination, habit, or disposition that predetermines a person’s interpretations and responses to events, circumstances, and situations. An attitude is a settled way of thinking or feeling about someone or something, typically one that is reflected in a person’s behavior.” Your attitude is how you feel about something. Your mindset shapes your attitude, and your attitude reinforces your mindset.
According to Tony Robbins, a belief is simply a feeling of certainty about something. For example, if you believe that you’re intelligent, all you’re really saying is, “I feel certain that I’m intelligent.” The basic building blocks of beliefs are ideas. Beliefs are like a tabletop. As you build references and experiences, you add legs to your tabletop. When your idea feels certain, it becomes a belief.
That’s why it’s so important to know what your beliefs are based on.
Your beliefs shape your attitude.
Your attitude also shapes your beliefs.
Your beliefs shape your mindset.
Change your mindset, change your life. Our thoughts have incredible power over our everyday lives, and our moods and behaviors are a reflection of how we think. You can change the way you think and therefore change your life. Here are some starters for doing that:
Refuse the fixed mindset and decide to grow. Decide to be realistic, but also believe for the best. Believe in your capacity to make the best of every situation, and your creativity and ability will rise to it.
Be willing to fail. The only way to live life well is to take risks, and with risk also comes occasional failure. It’s not the end of the world. Being stuck is another kind of failure. Don’t just stay where you are.
Invest in a long-term vision. You must get a positive vision of where you’re headed before you figure out how to get there. When you know your big goal, it will be much easier to see what the distractions are and be able to stay on course.
Listen to your heart, and be willing to break some rules. Mentally healthy people are not rebels without a cause, but they are willing to color outside the lines. It’s normal to overthink things sometimes, but overthinking can activate our “lizard brain” and we get stuck second-guessing, and it will always demoralize us.
Even if it goes against your nature, decide to be an optimist. It’s scientifically proven that optimists are happier and more successful than pessimists. Their relationships are better. When you decide that will be you, that decision will impact everything else in your life.
Start AND finish. Dropping the ball on either side of that will be destructive to your life. Establish a mindset that you will start the right things, moving toward your life vision. But when you choose them, chose carefully, focusing on the things that really matter. Then follow through and finish what you start. No matter how good the project, no matter how great the idea, you won’t see results or massive forward movement in your life and business if you never finish what you start. One or two great finishes will be more significant than 25 started and not finished.
Accept yourself. If you keep putting yourself down, there is no way for you to move forward. Successful people know the smartest mindset you can have is self-acceptance—refusing to be in an adversarial relationship with yourself.
Don't leave things to chance. You always have a choice: You can control your mind or you can let it control you. Incredible things happen when you decide to take control of what you can control and let go of the rest.
Refuse to let problems sidetrack you. If your mindset is negative, problems will grow, sending you on detours of thought into some really dark places. On the other hand, with a positive mindset you will think of problems as a reason to create and come up with innovative solutions. When you focus on possibilities, you have more opportunities.
Keep learning. Life changes, so the people with the best mindsets for growth and health don’t feel a need to know it all, but are continually open to new ideas and possibilities. Personally, three thoughts have done much to continually shape a strong mindset in me.
I know I have more control over the trajectory of my life than others realize. No, I cannot control everything that gets thrown at me, but I CAN control how I act and respond. If I keep traveling, I will eventually get there. I can’t control what the world throws in my path, but I can control how I react to those obstacles.
I know I will repeatedly go through tough times. Tough times are par for the course for those who do big things. They know that’s how the world works, so they don’t fight or complain about it. Without difficult times and failures, there is no learning, no growth. They know that nothing worth achieving comes without a struggle.
I can only act within my sphere of control. The only thing I can really control is myself. I refuse to be a victim or spend my life trying to control others.
I will be careful and “stingy” with my time. When I find myself with a slipping mindset, I can almost guarantee I have slipped into spending my time on things that are simply not worth it.
I urge you to remember you only have one life to live, so enjoy the journey.
Your mindset manners, and only you control it.