By November 19, 2009 Read More →

3 Mindsets That Support You

3 Mindsets That Support You

I’ve been exploring mindsets for a while as a way to improve effectiveness, and I thought it would be helpful to share some latest thinking from the book I’m working on.  A mindset is a mental attitude.  It shapes your actions and your thoughts, as well as how you perceive and respond to events.  A common example is whether you see the glass “half empty” or “half full.”    Your mindset can quickly change what you think, feel, and do.  The irony of a mindset is that sometimes you don’t know that you’re stuck in one until you step out or adopt a different mindset.

3 Key Mindsets
Here are 3 key mindsets that can help unleash your best:

  • Abundance Mindset
  • Positive Mindset
  • Growth Mindset

Adopt an Abundance Mindset Over a Scarcity Mindset
Covey and others teach us to think in terms of abundance, and avoid a scarcity mentality.   This means starting with the assumption that there’s more space and more resources than what you might see by default.  You find a way to create more opportunities.   You can expand solutions to be inclusive of your ideas as well as others.  Rather than fight turf wars, you create a larger space.  Rather than fight for resources, you find more.  When you operate from a scarcity mentality, the problem is you get defensive or offensive and find yourself competing unnecessarily.  While you can spend your energy competing, you can also spend it creating more alternatives and expanding opportunities and finding abundance.

Adopt a Positive Mindset Over a Negative Mindset
This doesn’t mean don’t find the flaws or use your critical thinking about ideas.  It does mean, find a way and spend more time finding solutions than finding problems.  Find a way forward and don’t fall into a pattern of getting stuck, where you let your own pessimism keep you down.   See Argue Your Way to Optimism.

Adopt a Growth Mindset Over a Fixed Mindset
Swap out a fixed mindset with a growth mindset.   If you have a fixed mindset, you attribute results to innate ability and you discount learning.  You think people are naturally good at what they do, and either they have it or they don’t.  A growth mindset is a learning mindset.  It’s the belief that you can improve at whatever you do through the right training.   And yes, you can teach an old dog, new tricks.  Here’s some ways to adopt a growth mindset over a fixed mindset:

How To Change Your Mindset
There’s a few ways to change your mindset:

  1. Ask yourself a different set of questions.   Asking yourself how you can make the most of the situation or how can you thrive instead of survive is a very different set of questions than asking yourself “why me?” or  “what’s the use in trying?”
  2. Adopt a different set of assumptions.  For example, rather than assume there’s not enough, assume there’s more than enough and you just need to find it.  Keep in mind that you should always test your assumptions, but adopting a different set of assumptions can help you reach different conclusions you might not otherwise explore.
  3. Adopt a different set of metaphors.  For example, rather than life as a tragedy, you could see life as a dramedy, complete with drama and comedy.
  4. Wear a different hat.  Similar to a metaphor, you can change your mindset by changing your metaphorical “hat.”

Photo by Emery Way.

16 Comments on "3 Mindsets That Support You"

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  1. Very helpful advice! I think you got me in the right mindset just reading it!

  2. Hilary says:

    Hi JD – how true. The other thing is to frankly think what we have .. compared to billions of others and how lucky we are – and therefore be grateful as we can do what we like – we have choices, freedom, a roof over our heads, warmth, light, education, understanding of other parts of the world ..

    Be positive – our world will soon be divided into those who can, and those who can’t be bothered .. it’s a sad world – it really is our oyster, and we have one life to live & it is now.

    Thanks – Hilary Melton-Butcher
    Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

  3. Positive mindset!! WOOHOO! :)

  4. I’ve been priding myself how much I’ve grown (getting all enlightened and such,) but this morning I found myself not as going-with-the-flow as I could have been at my husband tracking mud across the carpet (again.) A different hat wearer might not have said” I don’t know why we even have carpet at all in this house.”

    But, perhaps I can make the most of the situation by getting extra exercise by scrubbing that mud off?

  5. Cath Lawson says:

    Hi JD – this has come at a good time for me. I received a long pessimistic letter today and I’ve been thinking about how to reply to it. Your post has reminded me to focus on the positive, regardless of the negativity in the letter I received. Thanks.

  6. Louisa says:

    Great post JD. I think we sometimes forget that a mindset is something we get to choose.

  7. Our imaginations should be limitless when it comes to mindset. I believe we keep the same mindset because it gets comfortable. We like one angle and we stick with it.

    If we can retrain ourselves to be open to various options during a difficult problem, or just every day occurances, then life becomes more dynamic and enjoyable.

  8. JD says:

    @ Steven

    Thank you. The right mindset is key for making things happen.

    @ Hilary

    One of the ways I life myself up, is I remind myself what I’ve got. When that doesn’t work, I think how worse things can be. Usually though, my super powers happen when I’m helping lift others or a cause.

    @ Positively Present

    It never goes out of style!

    @ Jannie

    You’ve grown tons. I think your blogging has helped unleash your best.

    It’s not whether you fall down, it’s that you get back up and you always do.

    You could scrub it off, but when’s the last time you baked a really great mud pie?

    @ Cath

    Great move. You can always break the chain and spiral up or spiral down.

    @ Louisa

    Thank you. I find the right mindset is always key to my most resourceful self.

    @ Karl

    I’ve found asking questions to be the perfect way to keep changing angles and opening doors and opportunities. Whenever I feel limited, I start asking some new questions.

  9. Love this post, JD. You summarise the key points so well as usual. So many people don’t understand what a positive mindset it – they think it’s glossing over the problem, and you said so simply and clearly that it simply means spending more time and energy figuring out how to make things work rather than thinking about why they won’t. Great post!

  10. Walter says:

    Changing our mindsets into something that will benefits us are foreign to most people. They think that they are who they perceive and are content with that knowledge. The most important mindset one must adopt is the mindset of growth which you have defined here.

    Life should be continuous growth and learning. :-)

  11. JD says:

    @ Daphne

    Thank you. You’re right – false positivity or superficial doesn’t work. It’s about finding a way forward and focusing on the upside over the downside.

    @ Walter

    I agree – growth is the ultimate mindset. It’s how we take the best of the best and keep paving a path forward.

  12. it is amazing how we limit ourselves in our mind.
    Free your mind and grow!

  13. Rob Boucher Jr says:

    Ran into this just the other day. We hired a new guy at work. I helped hire him. He seems more comfortable with the job than I am. Could he replace me? After all, I’m a vendor.

    Path for the scarcity mindset has me not helping him too much, trying to control my attitude in the best case and trying to sabatoge his work in the worst case.

    Abundance mindset has me asking “how can we help each other and be a better team?”.

    Growth mindset say, “What can I learn from him that will help me in the areas I’m comfortable with?”

    It’s nice to be able to see the paths and choose one. Even nicer when your brain chooses it for you without too much effort.

  14. JD says:

    @ Alik

    It’s also amazing how quickly we can change our game, by changing perspective.

    @ Rob

    That’s a really good example how your mindset shapes your experience.

    It’s also a good reminder that we can train our brains to be more effective in any situation.