What is a mindset and why it matters. Let’s talk about that. Because I think I’m not the only one who gets a little annoyed when I see others talk about a positive mindset, all the time… Especially when the earth seems to explode, but oh no! Here’s miss Polly Positive Pants with her positive mindset which makes it all okay. Just think happy thoughts! Palm. To. The. Face. I share a similar reaction to people who go on and on about the secret. For the longest time I couldn’t figure out why it annoyed me so much. But I do now and I’m here to share what mindset is and why it matters.
The self-fulfilling prophecy
During the psychology lessons I took for my bachelor in social work, I learned about the self-fulfilling prophecy. It’s an interesting phenomenon every person experiences, even though you might not be aware of it. In short it means you have an idea about a situation which makes you react positive, negative or neutral. For example: I have to do the dishes and my idea about it is that I hate doing it, because it always takes too long. Therefor I prolong doing the dishes, therefore the dirt accumulates. Which then actually causes it to take longer to clean it all. The result: I just fulfilled my own prophecy, or the idea I had about doing the dishes taking too long.
You can have positive, negative or neutral thoughts about situations. To which you then start reacting, often without realizing it. Your own behavior makes that thought ‘come true’ and you start believing in your own thoughts even more. As you may already picked up, this phenomenon can also be used to your advantage. For example: You know you always nail your exams. So every time you do, you prove yourself right and you start acting positive about upcoming exams automatically. The same goes for negative ideas and matching situations. The self-fulfilling prophecy can tell you a lot about your mindset, and how it can work in your favor.
What is a mindset?
Everyone has a mindset. Let’s say it’s your brains default that determines how you look at people, things, experiences, situations and basically everything in life. Kids for example, have a growth mindset. Which means they look at everything as fun to explore. They want to learn new things and they are super excited to show you what they’ve learned. To kids, almost everything in life is fun, all the time and organically. Until they learn about different mindsets. Like not wanting to clean up their rooms, because mom always seems unhappy to do it. If that’s the case, you might notice the kid starts to change its mindset towards cleaning a room. They start disliking doing it too, without even knowing why.
Reading this article, you hopefully start to understand your own mindset a little better. You might start to recognize you’ve picked up a way of looking at things, that isn’t even your own. You might actually like cleaning up your room, but your mindset has been ‘set’ by what you’ve seen as a child, teenager or adult. That goes for a lot of things in life. Some people love going to work, others hate working for ‘the man’ and some don’t even sweat it. Those are three different mindsets which can make your life feel easy, chill or horrible. In a way, a mindset can have a big effect on your life.
There are many types of mindsets
Yes, there are many types of mindsets. You just have to find the one that works for you. There are two mindsets that are pretty dominant though: A fixed and a growth mindset. A fixed mindset can be seen as not willing, or unable to change the way you look at things. Like ‘older people or boomers,’ who are always complaining about the young kids being on their phones all the time. That can’t be good!? No matter what you would say to them, they wouldn’t budge and hold on to their believes like no other! It’s their way or the highway.
A person with a growth mindset would see the same kids, and appreciate the fact they use their phones to improve their lives. This person would get a phone too, learn all about it and probably get a better life because of it. A growth mindset seems to be the most beneficial to have. It allows you to be open minded, try new things and therefor improve yourself and your life. It’s also possible to change your mindset. In a way, I used to have a fixed mindset. I was afraid of many things, which held me back a lot! But I’ve been getting into a growth mindset. And let me tell you, being able to see opportunities and options is fantastic!
Why do talks about mindset annoy me?
Obviously thinking you’re going to be rich tomorrow doesn’t work, or maybe it does. Crazier things have happened, but let’s keep it close to home. I think this is exactly what people find annoying about the secret. It seems to be about simply thinking something and then miraculously getting it. Which 99% of the time doesn’t work, but there are people who claim it does and it can be upsetting. Probably because you wish it were true, or because there’s something you really want but you can’t seem to ever get it. For others to then act like it’s so simple, can be infuriating!
However, you now know what the self-fulfilling prophecy is and how a mindset can work. And I personally think that your mindset can help you get to your goals. Even if they seem unreachable. I mean, me changing my fixed mindset to a growth mindset, helped me get to my goals. Not just by thinking it though. No, using a growth mindset allowed me to see opportunities I missed before. By applying practical actions along with the growth mindset, I was able to reach my goals. In my opinion, having a mindset that works for you is very helpful. But you always have to put the work and practical steps into it as well. That’s what they don’t tell you, sigh…
Combine your mindset with practical steps
Miss Polly Positive Pants might annoy me from time to time, but she is right to a certain degree. Having a ‘positive’ or a growth mindset does indeed help you get to your goals. Combine that with the self-fulfilling prophecy and practical steps, and you have a winning combination. For example: I wanted to start a marketing and PR agency. My fixed mindset told me it would be very hard to convince customers I could actually do it. The self-fulfilling prophecy kicked in, and every sales pitch I had felt hard and I kept failing at signing clients. You can imagine, that wasn’t good for moral at all. And it definitely took my spirit down a lot. It seemed like there was no way out and for a long time, there wasn’t.
Then I decided to give this ‘positive’ mindset a go. I now like to call it a growth mindset, because positive doesn’t really cover it. Adopting a growth mindset helped open up my mind for possibilities. Practical steps were taken. Like doing research, listening to online sales lessons, practicing with my mom who also runs a business. Finding other ways to promote my business, like content marketing. Then I signed my first big client based on these steps I had taken. The self-fulfilling prophecy kicked in again, but this time it was positive! I now knew I could sell my services to my clients and I felt good about it. Needless to say, I’m great at it today and I don’t even have to think about it.
Now you know what a mindset it and why it matters. What’s your mindset at the moment?