We found that we can control our attitudes by controlling our thoughts. With a proper focus, we can address our challenges and still return our minds to those thoughts that develop and sustain a positive attitude. There’s a passage in the Bible that comes to mind…
Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Philippians 4:8 (NIV)
How do we become consistent, though?
A consistent early morning routine is highly beneficial in taking control and responsibility of the way that we think. Remember, our thoughts will linger where our focus is located. The days that I start early and intentionally reading positive books, news, history, scripture, and immersing my thoughts into constructive things are the days I have a leg up on reacting favorably to negative situations that hit me throughout the day. If I am consistent with my daily routine, my positive attitudes collect and develop a new “way of thinking.” This new way of thinking is what is referred to as “mindset.”
Everyone has a mindset
Not having a mindset is not an option, and maintaining a positive mindset takes work. Mindset bridges the divide between wanting to be better and becoming better. It only comes from a desire that is cultivated daily. Why is this? Physiologically, our neural networks work in habitual ways. If we want to change our mindset, we must train our minds to process things differently. The key takeaway here is change. Change is never easy. It takes a lot of time, tremendous amounts of energy, and, of course, desire.
Charting a new course
Picture a tribe of natives walking in single file through the jungle, having to cut down limbs, clear obstructions, and pull vines. The lead person encounters every single obstruction. The second person in trail must clean up what the first person missed. They third person has less to clean up. The tenth person will simply follow what is now established as a trail, a way of traversing through the jungle. Our neural networks operate in a similar fashion. If we intentionally trailblaze a new way of thinking positively by starting our day with constructive reading and thoughts and referring to them throughout the day, our mindset will begin to change.
“You are the way you are, because that way you want to be. If you really wanted to be any different, you’d be in the process of changing right now.” -Fred Smith
Choose a growth mindset
There are only two mindsets: the fixed mindset and the growth mindset. In his book, The Ultra Mindset, Travis Macy describes the distinguishing characteristics of these two mindsets. He attributes the growth mindset, which involves a constant effort to improve, to be the key ingredient to success.
Many of us fall into a “fixed mindset” (the opposite of the growth mindset) in one or more areas of life. In a fixed mindset, we constantly judge ourselves, compare ourselves to others, and see any challenge as a test of our fixed—or unchanging—abilities, intelligence, capability, speed, strength, skill, and so on.
The growth mindset, on the other hand, recognizes that none of these functions are set in stone, and we can always get better. A given challenge or test—be it a 5K road race or an Ironman triathlon, the ACT or the MCATs, a job interview or parenthood—is no longer a determination of how “good” or “smart” or “talented” we are (and, according to the fixed mindset, always will be). It is merely a snapshot of how well we perform in a given task at a given time. In other words, just because you didn’t finish the triathlon the first time, just because you didn’t ace the test or get the job, doesn’t mean that you won’t perform well in the next challenge, or can’t get better through hard work and improving relative weaknesses.
Develop this growth mindset
This mindset applies to all peoples, all ages, and both genders. (That’s right—both, as in two) It is time we stop pretending to be victims and take responsibility for the mindset that we use to make decisions on a daily basis. Remember, the happiest people in life don’t necessarily have the best of everything; they just try to make the best of everything they have.
Up for a challenge?
Give yourself 30 days in which you expect the best out of everything: the best parking place, the best customer service, the best quality in a product, and the best attitude from people. You may be surprised at what you find when you give your very best in every situation as well.
Today, we learned about two different mindsets—the growth mindset and the fixed mindset. A growth mindset is necessary for development. A great way to start is by intentionally forging the right mindset through a consistent early morning routine. There is so much to say about mindset, that in the next blog, we’ll talk about how these two mindsets determine your outcome. You won’t want to miss it!
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