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:
- 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?”
- 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.
- 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.
- Wear a different hat. Similar to a metaphor, you can change your mindset by changing your metaphorical “hat.”
Photo by Emery Way.