Our mindsets are the habits of thought in our minds. These thoughts are the lens through which we view the world. Do you see the world clearly or blurry?
I didn’t want to wear glasses when I was young because I thought they made me look dorky, even though I needed them. I was stubborn and believed my vision was good enough. I learned to manage my handicap by memorizing the height, body shape, and walking patterns of my friends or acquaintances so I could “see” who it was from afar through fancy pattern matching in my mind. I was able to get by, but it did make things more difficult than it needed to be.
When I finally got contacts, it was like I was looking at a whole new world. Things were sharp, clear, and I stopped walking into walls.
In life, we walk into walls when our mindset doesn’t align with the realities of the world. A mindset mismatch leads to a blurry vision that causes mistakes, friction, and suffering.
“Mind-sets are those collection of beliefs and thoughts that make up the mental attitude, inclination, habit or disposition that predetermines a person’s interpretations and responses to events, circumstances and situations.” — J.D. Meier, http://sourcesofinsight.com/what-is-mindset/
Mindsets To Learn
- Essentialist Mindset
- Growth Mindset
- Realist-Optimist Mindset
- Abundance Mindset
- Craftsman Mindset
Mindsets to Unlearn
- Non-Essentialist/Busy Mindset
- Fixed Mindset
- Pessimistic Mindset
- Scarcity Mindset
- Passion Mindset
A non-essentialist tries to be everything to everyone. Does many things and sees everything as a priority. Thinks more is always better. Is overly distracted, fragmented and has no structure to allow for focus and direction. Is busy with no sense of why or what they’re doing .
“Essentialism is not about how to get more things done; it’s about how to get the right things done. It doesn’t mean just doing less for the sake of less either. It is about making the wisest possible investment of your time and energy in order to operate at our highest point of contribution by doing only what is essential.” — Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
“If you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” — Greg Mckeown
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort. They’re wrong.” — Mindset.online
A fixed mindset gives little room for the will to adapt and grow. You believe you’re born into a set mold and your primary effort is to figure out your determined shape in the world and only go throw the paths that your shape fits with.
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and a resilience that is essential for great accomplishment. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.” — Mindset.online
A growth mindset individual is a life long learner and believes will and consistent effort can bring about change in their life.
The passion mindset focuses on what the world can offer you.
Cal Newport talks about the passion mindset that society preachers in regards to one’s career.
The Passion Hypothesis is:
“The key to occupational happiness is to first figure out what you’re passionate about and then find a job that matches this passion.”
Newport believes following your passion might be terrible advice. Workplace satisfaction is more complicated than just doing something your passionate about. Going over social science research, he came to three conclusions about passion and work.
- Career Passions Are Rare
- Passion Takes Time
- Passion is a Side Effect of Mastery
Compelling careers often have complex origins that reject the simple idea that all you have to do is to follow your passion.
The craftsman Mindset focuses on what you can offer the world.
“Follow your passion” or “Do what you love, and the money will follow” has been preached for decades are the guiding force for many. How practical is this advice? Sometimes the economics behind doing what you love does add up to a sustainable way to support a living.
There is seems to be a notion that you are born with a passion, you just have to find it. The “Passion Mindset,” is a state where you frequently search outside yourself for what you should do, always looking for and expecting to find the perfect job or what you were born to do. Often rejecting potential opportunities because it doesn’t line up with your orderly view of the world and fear of taking action on things that you are not good at or passionate about.
Newport states two big reasons why he’s dislikes the passion mindset, which in summary are:
When you focus too much on what work offers you and how it feeds your passion, you become hyper-sensitive and become chronically unhappy towards things you don’t like and work that is “beneath” you, and it’s sometimes necessary to work that helps to get the job done.
Second is that the passion mindset can lead you to narrowly constrict your identity into a mold of who you think you should be which may come from other societal pressure as well as limiting your diverse range of expression.
“The Career Craftsman believes this process of career crafting always begins with the mastery of something rare and valuable. The traits that define great work (autonomy, creativity, impact, recognition) are rare and valuable themselves, and you need something to offer in return. Put another way: no one owes you a fulfilling job; you have to earn it.” — Cal Newport
With the Craftsman Mindset, your passion is the result of your talents and investment in your craft. You have a habit and process of practicing, learning and improving and find enjoyment in what you do. You open up your eyes to the many opportunities and paths you can pursue to build the foundation for a fulfilling and engaging life.
Don’t think something is wrong with you because you haven’t “found your passion,” explore your interests and if you see someone’s career who you admire, figure out how they go there and plan your first steps one of many potential careers. Our life is a constant work in progress.
“Most people are deeply scripted in what I call the Scarcity Mentality. They see life as having only so much, as though there were only one pie out there. And if someone were to get a big piece of the pie, it would mean less for everybody else. The Scarcity Mentality is the zero-sum paradigm of life. People with a Scarcity Mentality have a very difficult time sharing recognition and credit, power or profit – even with those who help in the production. The also have a a very hard time being genuinely happy for the success of other people.” – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
The Scarcity Mindset holds us back from thinking about the future. It holds us back from giving because we believe we don’t have enough to give. We hoard our time, money, energy and are more likely to isolate ourselves from connecting with others.
Some signs of living in a scarcity mindset:
Envy and over comparison You want what others have. You want to control and possesses others in subtle ways. You compare yourself to others and belittle yourself as not being enough.
Selfishness and lack of Generosity When you’re stuck in a scarcity mindset you’re more likely to take and hoard your time, money and suck the energy from those around you. You believe you can’t share because you will be left without. You feel you don’t have the time and energy to take others concerns and comfort into consideration.
Stuck in Time You believe life’s circumstances are fixed and incapable of changing. You hold grudges and negative thoughts in your mind unwilling to let go.
Your language and thoughts reflect scarcity. You hold limiting beliefs about yourself and potential in the world. You often use “can’t”, “impossible,” “won’t,” etc.
“The Abundance Mentality, on the other hand, flows out of a deep inner sense of personal worth and security. It is the paradigm that there is plenty out there and enough to spare for everybody. It results in sharing of prestige, of recognition, of profits, of decision making. It opens possibilities, options, alternatives, and creativity.” – The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
In an abundance mindset, you feel empowered, engaged and feel in more control of your life. You believe that if we share more of what we have with each other, everyone is better off. You see that there is a lot of resources, talent, time, money, friendship and lover that are better to be shared than hoarded to ourselves.
In an Abundant Mindset you:
- Think farther and bigger vs. Thinking Small
- Are proactive with life instead of being stuck in a reactive mode
- Think in terms of plenty instead of lacking and don’t have
- Practice Appreciation and Gratitude
- Concentrate on growth and potential
- Recognize there are unlimited possibilities
- You cultivate and share your passions and purpose
- You’re a learner vs. a know it all
- You’re a giver
- Your embrace change
Pessimists tend to expect bad outcomes, have little hope or faith in future positive outcomes. Pessimists also tend to view optimists as out of touch with reality. There are certain traits of pessimistic that help them better prevent and mitigate risks as something going wrong as what they often expect to happen. They often doubt and are more critical analyzers of things.
“The optimist proclaims that we live in the best of all possible worlds; and the pessimist fears this is true.” ― James Branch Cabell, The Silver Stallion
A constant state of pessimism can lead to some negative health effects:
- Depression, mental and emotional problems
- Neglect of one’s health as there is little to work or look towards in the future.
- A tendency to make poor life choices
Both mindsets of optimism and pessimistic are psychological strategies for coping with an unpredictable and complex world.
Realists try to see and explain events just are they are. A realistic-optimist takes the best of both optimists and pessimists to find a more practical life balance.
“I’m a pessimist because of intelligence, but an optimist because of will.” ― Antonio Gramsci, Gramsci’s Prison Letters
A realist-optimist delays judgment on positive or negatives situations in life, they try to maintain a realistic viewpoint to separate what is within their control and outside of their control.
“You have power over your mind—not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” — Marcus Aurelius
As a Realist-Optimist, you address the realities of the situation and still try to find opportunity. You are an alchemist who can change, adapt and transform to persevere through many situations.
Changing Your Mindset
Work towards changing your beliefs and the environments you reside in and your pattern of thoughts will change, which will change your behavior and lead to better results aided by a clearer view of the world.
Some activities to help change your mindset:
- Traveling and connecting with natives to exposed to different cultures and perspectives
- Read broadly and more challenging books to expose yourself to different ideas
- Journaling to cultivate more self-awareness and introspection
- Working in different Industries
- Cultivating friendships with people with a different view of the world than you
- Being confident in the fact that you can change your mindset
There are many other ways for you to cultivate new mindsets. Be open to experimentation and enjoy the journey.