Mindset Matters – Make Today A Great Day

by | May 6, 2020 | Emotional Health, Self Awareness

 

Hey girl, how was your day today? How was your day yesterday? The day before? And the day before that? Are you seeing a pattern?

You maybe have that friend, you know the friend that seems to have a great life? She’s happy, excited about life, courageous about going after what she wants. She surrounds herself with amazing, positive, conscious people. Great things always seem to happen to her. 

Or maybe you’re “lucky” and this is you?

You probably also have that friend that has so much going for her but she’s not happy, nothing is ever good enough and she’s always looking to that next thing or that next milestone to make her happy.

Or maybe you’re “unlucky” and this is you?

If this is your mindset today, does it also have to be your future?

What exactly is a “mindset”? Mindset is the collection of attitudes, assumptions, beliefs, thoughts and feelings that you consistently hold. It influences the way you view yourself and the world around you. It is so incredibly powerful that it actually helps determine how every day, every interaction, every opportunity and every challenge will unfold.

How you experience life (if you believe that life happens to you), or create your life (if you believe that life happens through you) is very much based on whether you have a fixed mindset or growth mindset. 

Fixed Mindset

What’s the difference?  

A fixed mindset assumes that things like our character, intelligence, and creative ability are static givens that we just can’t change in any meaningful way.  

A growth mindset thrives on challenge and sees failure not as the result of a lack of intelligence but as a catalyst for growth and for stretching our existing abilities. 

Our mindset dictates a great deal of our behaviour. It influences our relationship with success and failure in both our personal and professional lives: and ultimately our capacity for happiness. 

Your mindset can predict your success in life.

A fixed mindset typically manifests as a constant hunger for approval. I have to be okay as I am because I am all I’m ever going to be. If you have a fixed mindset, you may see failures or setbacks as evidence that you’re not good enough. You need to hear the approval of others  because you don’t really believe the statement “I am enough”. You internalize criticism and don’t try anymore. Most people with this mindset are stuck.

A growth mindset believes that human qualities like intelligence and creativity, and even the ability to maintain positive relationships, can be cultivated through intentions, effort and deliberate practice. If you have this mindset, you’re not discouraged by failure, in fact you don’t actually see yourself as failing in those situations, but as learning. A familiar assurance to yourself would be “well, that didn’t go as I planned, but I sure did learn a lot and it will go better next time”.

Not surprisingly, this even applies to love. Carol Dweck, the author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, has studied mindset extensively. She found that people’s mindset extended to their personal relationships: 

As Dweck tells us, “the way this unfolds is that people with a fixed mindset expect everything good to happen automatically. It’s not that the partners will work to help each other solve their problems or gain skills. It’s that this will magically occur through their love, sort of the way it happened to Sleeping Beauty, whose coma was cured by her prince’s kiss, or to Cinderella, whose miserable life was suddenly transformed by her prince”.

Yes, the things fairy tales teach us!  

Do you know yet whether you have a fixed or a growth mindset? 

Follow this exercise from verywellmind.com 

Read the following statements and decide which ones you agree with most.

  1. People have a certain amount of intelligence, and there isn’t any way to change it.
  2. No matter who you are, there isn’t much you can do to improve your basic abilities and personality.
  3. People are capable of changing who they are.
  4. You can learn new things and improve your intelligence.
  5. People either have particular talents, or they don’t. You can’t just acquire talent for things like music, writing, art, or athletics.
  6. Studying, working hard, and practicing new skills are all ways to develop new talents and abilities.

If you tend to agree with statements 1, 2, and 5, then you probably have a more fixed mindset. If you agree with statements 3, and 4, 6, however, then you probably tend to have a growth mindset.

Take a minute to think about that. If you have a growth mindset, great.  If you have a fixed mindset, are you ready to grow?

Growth mindset

Because, there is good news!!!  You can change your mindset. How? Start with your self-talk.  Remember how we talked in these blog posts about how our self-talk creates our reality and how our brain believes whatever we tell it. Even if you start off not believing yourself, you can intentionally change your self talk so that it supports you rather than defeats you.

As well as addressing your self-talk, here is a daily practice that you can work on right now to help shift your mindset. Get a pencil and a journal and ask yourself:

 

  1. How do I want to feel today?
  2. What do I believe about myself today that will result in me feeling this way?
  1. What do I want to accomplish today?
  2. What do I need to believe about myself today that will help me achieve this?
  3. What do I want my day to look like today?
  4. Based on my decisions above, what is my day going to look like today?

 

You can supercharge this and move even closer to a growth mindset by adding an affirmation. These two are very powerful and don’t make you feel like “you’re not quite there yet” when you say them to yourself. These are:

 “Every day in every way, I’m getting better and better” or, “I am enough”

 

Do this at the start of your day. At the end of your day, review your responses and your day and identify what went right so you can do more of the same. Look at what didn’t go well so you can problem-solve it and choose another reaction instead. 

Notice that you courageously chose a growth mindset. You will have some challenges, some failures and some less than stellar days. But it will be worth it when you start to see that life is no longer happening to you, you are creating your life. You can show yourself appreciation and celebrate every step in that direction. 

If you’re not sure that you believe that you can change your mindset, I’m here to tell you that you can. I grew up with not a lot of confidence, at all. I shied away from attempting anything I saw as challenging because of a fear of failure. When I was sixteen, I had the opportunity to take my pilot’s license and with my dad’s encouragement and his money, I started taking lessons. I loved the flying, and I was good at it. But I didn’t love studying or the written exams, not that I put much time into studying. There was always a lot of talk about the final exam and how difficult it was and how lots of people don’t pass it the first time. So what did I do? I quit, just before I was going to write the exam. Because I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to pass the exam. I didn’t tell anyone that was why, I said I didn’t like it (not true!). Not smart, that’s how I thought of myself and for a few years I failed myself at every turn by giving up before I even got started. Thankfully, I eventually got tired of being stuck and started taking some small steps. This involved post-secondary education and courses I was interested in. Guys, I killed it. It’s amazing what some studying can do instead of thinking I should know things by osmosis. This led to expanding my confidence in lots of other areas. I found out that I actually am smart, well, smart enough anyway.

 

If you’d like to start to start your new life, you need some inspired action: 

  1. Choose something you’ve always wanted to do or be.  
  2. What do you have to believe about yourself in order to be able to do it? 
  3. What are the small steps you can take right now to move you in that direction?
  4. When are you going to start?

 

Share number 2 above with us in the comments, what do you need to believe about yourself that will get you to where you want to be. 

 

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