Your mindset is a powerful thing. It has the ability to control you, persuade you and even hold you back from doing or achieving things in your life.
It can even make you feel unhappy, when circumstances seem to prove that you should be happy. Which can be confusing. -- (I'm speaking from personal experience, of course.)
In my series on happiness, or finding your life balance as an entrepreneur, I mentioned mindset. We talked about how changing your mindset can have a huge positive impact on how things go in your life, and in your online business.
But it's really not that simple at all...
I struggled with this whole mindset thing for many years. You know, the whole "think it and it will happen" thing. Or if you want to be happy, just choose to be happy. Or just thinking about losing weight will make you thinner. Blah Blah Blah.
I disagree with a lot of it. I don't care what "science" says.
You and I both know it's harder than that.
If it was as easy peasy as "thinking it" (or changing your thinking) everyone would be happy, successful, skinny, content, healthy etc. And they're not. We're not.
I used to have a saying about thoughts & feelings that went like this: "It is what it is and it ain't what it ain't. You can't change how you feel." That was usually in reference to relationships, but worked in a lot of areas in my life.
You can't make yourself have feelings for someone, no matter how great they are. And you can't make yourself *not* love someone, no matter how horrible they are.
You feel how you feel.
You can't make yourself like broccoli if you don't. You can make yourself eat it, but you can't make yourself like it. If you eat broccoli for 100 days straight... you won't become more fond of it, you'll just be more sick of it. Trust me.
(Plus you'll have major gas for like 3 months)
The thing is, feelings can be seriously fickle! And as flaky as they can be, it's interesting just how much control they have over us.
Sometimes things (thoughts, feelings, circumstances) just change on their own over time. Most of the time they don't. So don't sit around waiting and hoping. The truth is, how you think or feel about something right now is pretty darn hard to change.
For some people, it seems (or feels) downright impossible.
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a mindset is a set of assumptions, methods or notations held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools. source
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Changing Your Mindset
Okay, so I just blew the fun part for you.
But it's true that it's simply not that easy. Fortunately it can be done. You can change your mindset - and the way you think or feel about any given thing.
I've figured out a trick to shift things in the right direction.
The first step to changing your mindset - that powerful pull in your head that forces you to choose even things you know are wrong or negative or bad for you - is to know what your mindset is exactly.
You have a certain mindset about all sorts of things. Your health, your business, your future, success, failure, food, parenting, whatever.
You can try all sorts of tricks to change that mindset. You can hire a coach. You can listen to hypnotic audios. You can think something new till you're blue in the brain. But you believe what you believe, you think what you think, and you feel what you feel. And you're stuck there...
First of all, let me backtrack and say that thinking positive things is good. Looking at helpful options (like coaching, products, alternative methods) is good.
They're all good, because they are a sign that you're interested in making change.
But hey, everyone wants change. Right?
So what makes the difference between the people that can pull it off, and the people that are stuck where they are no matter how bad they want to change?
Just wanting is not enough. Wanting + listening to a speaker or coach or DVD is not enough. Wanting + thinking about it is not enough.
You have to DO something.
Its an exchange.
And therein lies the key. The key to changing your mindset, and making lasting positive change in your life. YOU have to take some specific, deliberate action to put things in motion - toward a result that you know, can picture & desire deeply.
You have to commit. And commitment can't be in your mind alone - you have to commit with a definitive action.
Once you take that action, something almost magical happens. Just taking that action starts the shift, and starts to change your mindset. You will feel different. You will see things differently. You will think totally different about something when you're on the other side of the action you took.
Taking Personal Responsibility
It would be nice if it were just a matter of time, or even just a matter of money. If you could pay someone to change your mindset. Or if you could buy a magic pill (or a DVD, or a Seminar pass) that would do it for you.
There are all kinds of people and products that make these claims, by the way. Preying on the fact that you're stuck, you know you're stuck, and you can't figure out how to get un-stuck on your own.
Some of those things can be great tools to assist you in changing your mindset, and making long-term positive change in your life and in your business. But none of them are going to do it for you, or do it without you. No matter how much you pay.
So the big question is: how do you put the wheel in motion?
Well, I can tell you one thing - it's not by buying the latest product. And I'm guessing you've already figured that out. If you're this far in the game, you probably already have everything you need to start moving in the right direction. The only thing missing now is you... moving.
Let's use weight loss as an example. You can buy DVD's. You can sign up for weight loss programs. You can sign up for a gym membership. You can buy exercise equipment from infomercials. But none of those things will take the pounds off.
(Shocking I know, because the sales copy makes you feel like all YOU have to do is lay down a credit card number -lol)
You have to commit to an action. You have to force (uncomfortable) change. You often have to sacrifice something, even. Not your firstborn child, mind you - but maybe your hour of morning television, or your favorite peanut butter cookies.
Most of us will try to shift the responsibility onto someone else. We purchase their product. We buy into their plan. We take their advice. But without a commitment of action behind it, we'll fail. And we blame "someone else" every time.
I can tell you with certainty that the latin dance workout videos did not work for me. Of course, I've never actually done an entire segment all the way through. I did buy the DVD set, I did play it on two different occasions, but I never made a personal commitment to them on my end. Their fault or mine?
(we both know the answer - lol)
Bottom line: don't look to others for the answer. Or to be told what to do next, or which action you should take to get things moving in the right direction. The only reason we ever do that is so we're not responsible for the outcome. So we have someone to blame when WE fail to follow through on our end.
Going Against The Grain
You feel how you feel, think what you think, believe what you believe. Right or wrong. Moving toward your goals may go against some of that. And that's okay. It doesn't make it easy (at all!) but it's okay.
Challenge your current mindset. Take thoughts like this:
- I could never do x
- I want to make a million dollars
- I don't think I'm cut out for this
- I'm not as strong as him/her
- I want to earn $20,000/month
...(or insert your own common thoughts) - and ask yourself WHY.
For the next few days, keep a notepad close and make note of common thoughts or mindset issues that you recognize. And question them. Also take some time to sit down and write out something you want to change in your life (or in your business).
What action can you take against a negative mindset, or toward a specific goal? And if that action is painful (something you dread), ask yourself this:
Is it worth it to achieve the end result?
You can listen to all the foo-foo mindset talk you want (blah blah blah yada yada yada in my book), and you can sit and chant too if you like, but in the end you have to GIVE to get. You have to make the first play for the game to ever start.
And if you commit, and stick to your action, you WILL win.
Like I said, your mindset - and thoughts, feelings, perceptions - will change on the other side of that action you take. Once you jump in with both feet (full commitment, with action to back it up), you'll put something in motion that makes continuing in the right direction much easier than it ever seemed when you were just sitting around thinking about it.