You’re familiar with the mindset of the glass being half full or half empty. It’s the exact same glass, but two people can see it very differently.
It’s like the quote says: Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that.
This quote perfectly captures mindset at work. Because our interpretations of the world become our world.
Here’s how it works
Your mind is constantly monitoring and interpreting. You keep a running account of what’s happening to you, around you, what it means, and what you should do.
Mindset is what frames the running account that’s taking place in your head—guiding and filtering the entire interpretation process.
Now here’s where it gets really interesting: You have multiple mindsets at any given time—and much of this is going on without your conscious awareness.
Mindset is like an iceberg
I like to use the analogy of an iceberg to understand mindset at work.
The reason an iceberg is so dangerous is you only see a bit of ice above the surface. But the bulk—the great mass of ice—is unseen. It’s lurking out of view.
It’s the same way with your mindset. You may see glimpses here and there of mindset, but for the most part this process is going on beneath the surface.
And often it’s the part hidden from view—the mindset you don’t really see and aren’t really aware of—that’s having such a powerful and limiting or negative impact.
Let the good stuff in
Mindset acts as a filter through which you view and interpret the events of your life. Think about how a filter works: Letting some things through while keeping others out. That’s what your mindset is doing.
You’re letting good stuff in. OR you’re keeping good stuff out. You’re letting bad stuff in or keeping it out.
You’re filtering. You’re seeing through a lens.
You’re interpreting what goes on in your life and that interpretation effects you. It effects how you interact with your world and those in it. It effects how you think and behave. It effects the outcome—the results you get in your life.
So here’s the all-important question: Are your mindsets serving you or holding you back? It’s one or the other because mindsets generally aren’t neutral.
The bad and ugly
Think about the bad and ugly associated with these mindsets.
- I’m too old.
- It’s all or nothing.
- I need to be perfect.
- There’s never enough time.
- My life is boring.
- I don’t make good decisions.
- Dreams are not practical.
Any of those sound familiar?
Well, suffering isn’t useful for any of us. And the fact is some of our suffering is self-imposed.
It comes not so much from the circumstances in our lives, but from our interpretation of those circumstances, our response to those circumstances.
A daily fresh start
Each and every day, you can consciously decide—choose—how you want to show up in your life and in the world—regardless of external circumstances. Regardless of what’s going on around you.
Embrace this notion of a daily fresh start.
To do this, think about the mindset you wake up with in the morning. Think about the mindset you go to instinctively—by default—and really consider whether this mindset serves you. Or whether you would be better served with more intentionality.
Your proverbial fresh start can begin with something as simple as practicing an intentional mindset on a daily basis. Perhaps a mindset like one of these:
- Love is an act of courage.
- How can I make this easy?
- Gratitude is the attitude.
- What do I want to contribute?
- Magnify what’s best, focus on what’s next.
Practice, practice, practice
I know from my own personal experience and my work with hundreds of clients that choosing your mindset with intention is a practice.
I frequently have clients say to me, Oh Jennifer, it was 2 p.m. before I realized I forgot to choose my mindset with intention.
Or I was already an hour into beating myself up for making a mistake before I remembered: Good enough is perfection.
So this takes practice.
Choosing your mindset with intention is like a muscle you can build up. With practice, you can make it stronger.
Here’s a mindset I’m currently practicing with: The present is perfect.
I have to admit, I’m still practicing with this one because part of me wants to say, Yeah, but… The present would be perfect IF… It’s a whole other thing to say the present is perfect regardless of what’s going on.
So I keep practicing…
Whatever your mindsets, know they create the life around you. From a single mindset flows your thoughts and actions. And then those thoughts and actions become your life.
Don’t believe everything you think. Just because a thought crosses your mind doesn’t make it true.
Manage your thoughts. Because unmanaged thoughts lead to an unmanaged life.