Why Mindset is Everything

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Introduction

 In this article we will explore the relationship between mindset and success and consider why mindset is such an integral part of success that we shouldn’t ignore. 

Success will mean something different to each of us and will touch different aspects of our lives, including personal and professional success.  However, there is a common thread that underpins success and that is mindset. Mindset is everything because it shapes our reality and how we experience the world, situations and opportunities. 

To be truly successful, we need to shape the best possible experience of reality, and for this, we need the right mindset, one which is positive, growth focused and goal oriented.

 

The Basics of Mindset

Definition of Mindset and its Components

Let’s first explore a definition of mindset and its different components. Mindset is the set of thoughts, attitudes and beliefs that we hold. Often discussed in the literature in terms of fixed or growth mindset, concepts first popularised by the Stanford Professor, Carol Dweck.

Fixed Mindset vs. Growth Mindset

Human beings are complex, therefore, it’s helpful to see mindset as a continuum, where we can move between having a fixed or growth mindset

Characteristics of a Fixed Mindset

When we adopt a fixed mindset, we’re more likely to see attributes and intelligence as fixed. This can lead to a more fixed way of thinking, where we see success as being attributed to luck, we avoid mistakes and are likely to see feedback as criticism. Consequently, this leads to missing opportunities for learning and growth. 

Characteristics of a Growth Mindset

In contrast, with a growth mindset, we’re more inclined to see mistakes as something to learn from, see feedback as constructive and see challenges as opportunities to grow. As a consequence, we are more likely to apply effort and embrace opportunities for learning and growth.

 

The Impact of Mindset on Success

Mindset and Personal Achievement

In terms of personal achievement and success, mindset is a critical component to consider because it underpins and shapes not only how we see the world, but how we act and behave, including the choices and decisions we make. An important factor to consider here is the role of self-limiting beliefs in determining success.

Self-limiting beliefs are beliefs which hold us back and which interfere with us achieving success. Self-limiting beliefs typically are negative beliefs which focus on deficit, or lack, rather than positive beliefs which are more solution oriented and focused on removing barriers to a mindset for success.

For example, if I have a belief that I cannot do something, I’m not good enough, or I am likely to fail, then these types of beliefs will likely stop me from even getting going, thus limiting opportunities and my potential.

An effective way of dealing with self-limiting beliefs is a recognised technique called ‘reframing’. This is where we challenge negative beliefs and replace them with more positive, constructive beliefs.  Reframing self-limiting beliefs is critical for success, as this allows us to take advantage of opportunities in front of us.

Mindset and Professional Success

Mindset is equally important for professional success. When we face challenges at work, having the right mindset to deal with these is essential for both professional development in knowledge and learning but also sets us up for career success too. Seeing challenges as opportunities for learning and things to overcome is important.

Equally, having a mindset which is goal oriented is helpful as this enables us to break challenges down into manageable tasks so we move closer towards our goals, rather than be defeated by self-limiting beliefs. This approach over time builds resilience and helps us adapt as we learn and grow.

 

Cultivating a Positive Mindset

Self-Awareness and Mindfulness

In terms of cultivating a positive mindset, we need to develop greater self-awareness. This is the first step towards recognising when our beliefs are helping or hindering our progress. Mindfulness can also be a useful technique that can assist in developing awareness, by encouraging us to reflect and be more ‘present’ in our way of thinking and being.

Positive Affirmations

Positive affirmations are another way of cultivating a positive mindset. A positive affirmation is a positive statement or phrase that is used in repetition to challenge negative thoughts. The idea being that repetition and consistency of this positive statement will reaffirm the positive belief.

This helps to rewire thought patterns, replacing negative beliefs with more positive constructive beliefs. This is thought to be an effective way of influencing our subconscious mind to shape and reframe a more constructive and positive set of beliefs.

An example of a positive affirmation: I am capable of achieving my goals and being successful.

Embracing Failure and Learning from Setbacks

What is equally important for cultivating a positive mindset is the ability to embrace failure and learn from setbacks. On the journey to success lies many pitfalls and failures, these are unavoidable, therefore, learning to embrace them is important.

A growth mindset means that you are more open to failures and willing to learn from them. This approach means that setbacks and failures become opportunities.

 

Overcoming Negativity and Limiting Beliefs

In pursuit of success, it is important to learn how to overcome negativity and limiting beliefs as these will interfere with progress. The first step is to identify negative thought patterns. These may present in different ways for different people, but essentially a negative thought pattern is often characterised by cognitive distortion.

Cognitive distortion is also known as a thinking error, or cognitive bias. These types of thought patterns are irrational and inaccurate and can lead to negative emotions and a distorted view of reality. These patterns are often automatic and hidden in our subconscious, which can make them difficult to address. 

A few examples of cognitive distortion include:

  • Catastrophising – seeing something bigger and worse than it really is. 
  • All or nothing thinking – seeing things as black or white, extreme thinking.
  • Overgeneralisation – drawing broad conclusions from isolated incidents.
  • Focusing only on negative feedback – discounting positive.

It is important to identify negative thinking and limiting beliefs so that you can challenge them and break free from their restrictions. It can be helpful to identify the root cause where possible, and to find evidence to substantiate this type of thinking. Often, this can be difficult to do as there can be a lack of evidence to support them.

The Role of Mindset in Relationships

Positive Mindset in Social Interactions

It is useful to consider also the role of mindset within our relationships and how having a positive mindset can positively influence our social interactions. Ultimately, if you show up in relationships with constructive, positive beliefs about yourself and others, this can have a significant impact on the way relationships unfold and strengthen.

Resolving Conflicts with a Growth Mindset

Having a growth mindset can also have a positive impact when dealing with conflict within relationships.  With conflict it is important to seek resolution and this can be helped if we are willing to be constructive and open to exploring different options. Ultimately, with a positive mindset you are more likely to be invested in finding a resolution. 

 

Overcoming Challenges and Adversities

Mindset in Times of Adversity

Mindset can also have an important role to play in dealing with adversity in life. Inevitably, there will be times of crisis and when these happen, having a positive mindset will help. This will support you to view things constructively and support you to find solutions. Building resilience is required and this is more easily achieved with the right mindset. This is true also when facing change and uncertainty which can be disarming for many people.  However, with an open and positive mindset, it is easier to be more agile and flexible in the face of change and adversity.

Thriving in the Face of Adversity

Importantly, with a positive mindset, we can all thrive in the face of adversity and change. We can learn to deal with difficulties and setbacks by transforming these types of challenges into opportunities. With the right mindset this can be achieved, which is why mindset is everything.

Conclusion

As we have explored in this article, having the right mindset is critical for success in life. Mindset underpins our decision making, the choices we make and ultimately how we behave. If we want different results, paying attention to mindset is therefore critical. With a fixed, negative mindset we are more likely to avoid mistakes and will struggle to adapt to change and adversity.

In contrast, with a growth mindset, we are more likely to learn from mistakes, embrace failures and be successful in tackling negative thought patterns or limiting beliefs. The great thing is that we can change our mindset.  This in itself is empowering and liberating, we just need to learn how to do this.

If you want to learn more about mindset, then you should check out our mindset training course. This fully automated course is  suitable for anyone; whether you’re looking for a career transition, wanting to make a few lifestyle changes, or simply wanting to learn how to cope with pressure better. The tools that this mindset training course helps you to develop are ideal for anyone to apply into their day to day lives.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the definition of mindset?

The set of thoughts, attitudes and beliefs we hold.

How does mindset influence success and achievement?

Mindset influences success and achievement because it shapes how we see and experience reality.

What are some practical tips for developing a growth mindset?

  • Start by building self-awareness, this is key. 
  • Be open to mistakes and be committed to learning from them.
  • Embrace feedback and see this as constructive and an opportunity to learn.

How can I overcome negative thought patterns and limiting beliefs?

  • Interrupt any thought pattern, stop, pause, breath, reflect
  • Find tangible evidence to support the negative belief (often doesn’t exist)
  • Reframing: Replace a negative belief with a positive statement e.g. I am always late = I like to be detailed and thorough
  • Replace negative language with positive language, e.g. a problem = a challenge

Can a positive mindset improve relationships with others?

Yes, you are more likely to be open and constructive in relationships with a positive mindset and see things positively.

What is the role of mindset in maintaining physical health?

Mindset can have an important role in achieving goals, including health goals, which can play a crucial role in maintaining both physical and mental health.

Is it possible to cultivate happiness through mindset?

Yes, mindset can be a state of mind and with a positive intent and positive state of mind this can lead to increased happiness and contentment. Reframing how you view life is key and mindset can support you to achieve this.

How can mindset help in coping with challenging life situations?

Life will always have challenging situations, it is often not the situation but the way we view the situation that counts. Mindset plays an important role in shaping a more constructive view when life gets challenging.

 

About the Author

Dr Jodi O’Dell

Jodi is the founder and driving force behind Engage. She is an occupational psychologist and executive coach with a PhD in Coaching Psychology, who for over 20 years has dedicated her career to helping people thrive and be the best version of themselves.

As a leading expert in coaching, she has worked globally with blue chip clients. She combines this wealth of experience and passion for human development with the scientific rigour of evidence-based research which underpins the Engage toolset.

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