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What We Talk About When We Talk About Mindset

By: Nathan Chai, February 2, 2016

Here’s why everyone constantly talks about “mindset”

Even if you’ve been involved the success community for a short while, you’re probably sick of everyone harping on about “mindset”. When I’m looking around the web for useful links to post toFive Years to Financial Freedom’s Twitter and Facebook feeds, the majority of the posts I read are about mindset. When I’m talking to speakers, investors, and contractors, they all talk incessantly about mindset. Even my own mind has been brainwashed to believe that if people have some sort of goal that they’re failing to achieve, the key to the problem is mindset.

The thing about mindset is that each and every one of us has a different one. Hell! It’s the reason why so many success coaches exist, because every mindset is unique and it takes a certain kind of person to talk to it. With that said, there are a lot of similarities with successful people’s mindsets, but why is it so damn important?!

Thought process, risk management, conflict resolution, and decision-making are all worthwhile synonyms for mindset. However, (due to my talents as a writer) we can condense this down into a single, all-encompassing definition; your mindset is how you experience the world.

How annoyingly nebulous is that? “How you experience the world” doesn’t necessarily help us, until we realise that when you change your mindset you psychically and psychologically change how you interact with every situation you encounter. This is why we can have so many different kind-of-right-but-not-quite definitions of the term.

It is because of how nebulous mindset is that coaches, books, and articles focus on small aspects of changing it. In order to make permanent changes to your mindset i.e. how you experienceeverything, you need to take small steps. If you try and completely overhaul your life, your subjective truths about how the world works can’t cope and you end up feeling like a fraud.

When the majority of people talk about mindset, they’re talking about one or two ways in which we interact with our environment.

Mindset, perception, and everything else

I want you to imagine the following scenario: A man walks into a shop and chats to the cashier. As he talks to the cashier, his wife walks into the shop and puts a loaf of bread, some fruit, and some juice in her bag. The wife walks out laden with food, and the man shortly follows. What just happened?

Some imagine a destitute family that need to steal to survive, some think that they’re all friends and the cashier will add the goods to the couple’s tab, some imagine a pair of conmen swindling a poor innocent shopkeeper. When presented with an incomplete narrative, our mindset will immediately fill in the blanks.

The biggest influence mindset has on our lives is our perception. I used the story to illustrate how we jump to conclusions about things. The same is true for our lives, we are constantly presented with an incomplete narrative and fill in the blanks ourselves. This is why the majority of successful people advocate having an abundance mentality, doing things that you’re passionate about, and looking for solutions. They’re training their brains to fill in life’s narrative blank spots withconstructive assumptions, rather than assumptions that are destructive.

Before you attempt to better your life (in any way) you need to be able to see that it’s possible. People don’t work they jobs that they don’t like because they want to, they do it because they cannot perceive a way to change their life.

The goals will change, the mindset doesn’t

There is a huge overlap in what self-development books teach. If you want to do anything better, pick up a book on improving your dating, making more money, or becoming fitter, it really doesn’t matter.

Every single one of those books will tell you, in the first couple of chapters, that in order to succeed with their program you need to change the way you think. If you want to accomplish any goal that you’ve set for yourself, you simply need the following three lessons:

·     Each ‘failure’ is a lesson

·     Consistency and commitment are paramount

·     Constantly educate yourself

Apply those three lessons to anything and you’ll reach your goal. The hardest part of integrating those lessons into your life is making them congruent with your mindset.

The philosopher Descartes said, “cogito, ergo sum”  or “I think, therefore I am” in order to prove that humans actually exist. Let’s take that phrase one step further and use it to prove how humans actually exist; “I think I’m…, therefore I am…”.

If you don’t think you can do something, then I doubt you ever will. People that think they’re confident are, typically, confident. People that think they’re educated are, typically, reading books and attending courses. People that think they’re a committed person, typically, see things through to the end.

At this juncture I don’t want you to think this is some new-age bullshit; mindset alone will not make you successful. However, until you change the way you perceive the world achieving the success you want will elude you.

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