Just How Important Is Your Mindset?
In a previous blog, What Will a Positive Mindset Do For Me?, I mentioned that mindset is an attitude or state of mind. It can change, depending on what you are experiencing or what area in life you may be in, at any moment – Job, relationship, parent, … It is how you are thinking, feeling, and believing at any moment.
There are different kinds of different levels of mindsets, such as growth vs fixed mindset, or positive vs. negative mindset. There are also many specific mindsets that we will discuss. The important thing to note is that your mindset determines your results. Your mindset can work for you and bring you success and opportunities in almost anything you are doing, or it can work against you.
“If you have a different mindset, you will have a different outcome.” – Jack Ma
Before you stop reading and say, “This is all BS”, let me explain how the mind and brain work. We have a part of our brain called the Reticular Activating System (RAS). One of its functions is to help you focus on important things. You see, there are millions of bits of information available to our senses every second and we can only take in under 200 bits per second.  This happens because there is too much to take in, at any moment. Therefore, the RAS is there to prioritize what’s important. It’s like a filter. If you wanted to only have red light pass through a camera lens, a red filter would do that. If you have a positive mindset, you will see and have access to many more positive experiences and opportunities than you would with a negative mindset. (Your positive mindset will not totally keep you from seeing or experiencing negative things, it will, though, help you through them.)
“The eye sees only what the mind is prepared to comprehend.” – Robertson Davies
With it comes to mindset, there is also a growth and fixed mindset.  You might think that the growth mindset is positive, and, for the most part, it is. The fixed mindset is not necessarily negative, however. People with a fixed mindset can be brilliant in some things. They, however, avoid things that they can’t do well. They basically are fixed in their levels of abilities. They have a hard time growing in many areas of fear of failure, for fear of not feeling good about themselves. People with a growth mindset, see failure as an opportunity to learn and get better. It won’t crush them if they can’t do something as well as others. They will either learn or accept that in certain parts of their life, they are not as good as others are. We could have a mix of growth and fixed mindsets in different parts of our lives, but for the most part, people with growth mindsets have healthy self-esteem that spans across the different aspects of their lives.
“This Growth Mindset is based on the belief that your basic qualities are things that you can cultivate through your efforts …” – Carol Dweck
To go a little further, there are more specific mindsets, such as a winner’s mindset, business mindset, money, mindset, gratitude mindset, and short-term or long-term mindset. There are some unresourceful or negative mindsets like a lazy mindset, a mindset of greed, or an angry mindset. 
If you remember that a mindset is an attitude and set of beliefs, you can now see how that applies to all of what I mentioned. The attitude is how they approach events and experiences in their mind. Someone with a growth mindset believes that they can be good at things, and they know that they might not be good at everything at first. They believe that there’s always something there to learn. Their attitude is positive and open to new experiences. Someone with a fixed mindset believes that they are good at certain things and won’t be good at others, so they don’t try. Their attitude is guarded towards new experiences. Someone with a winner’s mindset has a set of beliefs around winning and they believe it’s important to put their whole self in to do so. Someone with a gratitude mindset may have beliefs around the importance of being grateful for every little thing that happens in their life. And someone with a greed mindset has beliefs that everything is out there for them, no matter who it might impact to get it. Their attitude is one of a ‘Watch out for #1’ mentality.
It may be simple and easy to find out what mindset someone may have, but how do you create or change mindsets? That is the real question, isn’t it? Mindset is about a set of beliefs. How do you change or create new beliefs? Most of our beliefs stem from our experiences and what we were taught as children. We also have some beliefs that we come to know from formal and informal learning as adults. Building a new belief as an adult is a little more difficult. We typically need absolute proof about something.
When I attended my first Tony Robbins weekend seminar, where you walk on fire, I did not believe people could actually walk on real hot coals and not burn their feet. This was not believable. There had to be some trick. Perhaps it wasn’t a burning heat. Or, perhaps people were burning themselves. There was a lot of trepidation in my mind and body leading up to this. This event was on the first night of the weekend, and that was probably because many would become too filled with anxiety if we had to wait any longer. The time finally came. We were in New Jersey in March. It was cold and the parking lot was covered with snow.
I saw these 12-foot strips of burning wood coals. There was no doubt about the heat. You felt it long before you got close. All the snow around was melted. I took off my shoes and socks and stepped on the ice-cold sidewalk. I walked to the mound of grass that led to the fiery path. It was wet and cold, but I could feel the heat of the wood coals. When the signal came, I started walking across. I walked all the way over to the other end. The moment I set foot on the other end, feeling no pain in my feet, my belief was formed, not only was this possible but what else could be possible for me? This intense situation helped form several beliefs.
So yes, changing and/or creating new beliefs is possible. There are easier ways to do it, than walking on hot coals. Mindset experts know how to help people break limiting beliefs, such as the ones someone with a fixed mindset may have, and create new empowering beliefs, such as ones that people with a growth mindset may have. You don’t need to walk on hot coals or broken glass, or even break an arrow on your throat (all extreme exercises in creating empowering beliefs). This can be done in minutes with simple mindset shift techniques.
“To accomplish great things we must not only act, but also dream; not only plan, but also believe.” – Anatole France
Where can the proper mindset come in handy? For your business, career, or job; your finances, your relationships, your love life, your parenting, your physical health, your personal development, and in every area of your life. Give some thought to how you approach any of these areas that I mentioned above. Do your approaches serve you? Are you growing in each area?
 Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi
 Mindset The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck, Phd