I’m finally taking the time to write a blog post dedicated to mindset. I’ve been harping on about mindset for a long while, but never been able to find the right words to write a blog post about it.
I’m going to write this post based off of a recent book that I’ve read, Mindset by Dr. Carol Dweck. I’ve read a lot of self-help books over the past few years, with a lot of them basically saying the same things. My favourites have been You Are a Badass by Jen Sincero, #GirlBoss by Sophia Amoruso and Leave Your Mark by Aliza Licht.
I personally believe that your mindset is everything. To me, it’s the most important asset that you have. Going through a day with a positive mind and mentality will turn out to be a completely different kind of day than going through it with a negative mentality. Only you have the power to choose what kind of day you have.
TWO TYPES OF MINDSET
According to Dr. Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindset. One is the fixed mindset, and the other is the growth mindset.
The fixed mindset is when someone believes that their qualities and skills are fixed traits and cannot change or improve. People with fixed mindsets believe that either they are born with an ability or not. If not, they believe they cannot acquire it. They also believe that the fortune that befalls others, is due to talent they are born with, not effort.
The growth mindset is when you believe that you can always improve and learn new skills. People with growth mindsets don’t see failure as the end, they see it as a way to learn and get better. They believe that everyone can grow and develop skills they already have – they don’t have to be born with a talent in able to have it.
So which mindset category do you think you fall into? It’s ok to think both, because in reality, everyone experiences both mindsets. I for one, show signs of both from time to time.
When I find a sudoku puzzle too hard, I’ll often skip it and claim defeat. When someone tries to explain something to me that I think I already know, I switch off and think my way is the only way.
But more often than not, I try to adapt a growth mindset and see what I can learn from any given situation. Every day, I try to read so that I can learn something new. Whether that’s from a book, a blog post or even a tweet. The more you keep learning, the longer your brain will remain in good health.
DEVELOPING AN ACHIEVING MINDSET
This is something I’ve just coined myself. When I think of my mindset, I think about how I’ve developed it in the aim to achieve different goals. Instead of thinking that I’ll never be able to do something, or not be employed by someone, or not win something, I start to think, Why not?
I remember so clearly when I went for my interview for my placement year position in London. It was with Coty, one of the largest beauty companies in the world. There I was, shortlisted, down to the final three people to get the PR position in the Luxury division which would see me working on brands like Gucci, Hugo Boss and Marc Jacobs.
When I arrived at the assessment center, everyone else had polite, English accents. I remember feeling like the least-classiest person in the room as everyone seemed to have very posh accents and were dressed very smartly. Why would they want to hire someone like me, from a town like Lurgan in Northern Ireland? I wasn’t good enough to work for these types of brands.
Then I had a quick mental chat with myself and thought, Why the hell not? I’d made it down to the final three, hopefully for a reason. I had every right to be here as much as the others, so why not give it my all when I was here for one day only? I had one chance and I would be stupid to waste it because I didn’t feel good enough.
When I got that placement position, something changed. I believed I could do anything and be anything I wanted. Where I come from doesn’t define me, my accent doesn’t define my abilities and if I just try my hardest and prove that I’m worth something, I can achieve what I want.
WHY YOUR MINDSET IS SO IMPORTANT
Especially during this uncertain time of isolation and lockdown, being able to control your mindset is more important than ever.
Waking up this morning, how did you feel? Did you roll out of bed with a pessimistic attitude, ‘Ugh, another Monday,’ and curse the day ahead? If so, that’s going to set the premise for a bad day already, and the day has only begun.
If you awakened this morning and instead thought, ‘Another new week, more things to learn, more things to do and another week to look forward to,’ then the likelihood is, you’re going to have a much better day and week than the person in the previous paragraph.
Your mindset for the day is your choice. No one else’s. Yes, your boss may be grinding your gears, or your flatmates may be getting on your nerves, but how you react is going to alter your mood and change your mindset.
Try your best to stay positive, give yourself something to look forward to and be optimistic for the days and weeks ahead.
THE CARROT AND STICK APPROACH
Remember the time when you used to look forward to things like holidays, concerts, big nights out with friends and other big events? Now that we don’t have such things to look forward to, we still need to look forward to something.
This is where gratitude comes in handy. By learning how to be grateful for small things, we become more appreciative and it enables us to look forward to smaller things.
Each morning, I wake up and look forward to my morning coffee. It’s a very simple thing, but now that I can’t get my morning coffee fix from Starbucks, I need to make my filter coffee a little more exciting in my apartment.
I look forward to having my coffee while I write my daily email (which you can subscribe to here if you like) and then I get on with my day of work.
I find that I’m most productive in the mornings, so I look forward to this time as I get a lot done. I’m in a positive frame of mind most mornings because of it.
Perhaps a morning run would make you feel better about the day ahead? Getting out of bed, going for a run and rewarding yourself with a nice breakfast afterwards may help improve your mindset. You’ll feel good for having exercised, and you’ll also be rewarded with a tasty breakfast.
We all need small rewards right now and something to look forward to. Even if it’s just picking up a book every hour to read 10 pages. Or perhaps rewarding yourself with a scroll of social media after ticking something off your to-do list.
We need to start looking forward to the small things, since the big things won’t be happening for a while. Start practicing gratitude and you’ll find your mindset begin to improve as you appreciate your health, your friends and you family.
There are so many other areas I want to cover in the topic of mindset, but I’ll leave this as somewhat of an introduction. Practice gratitude, start introducing some positivity to your every day life and give yourself some small things to look forward to.