A few years back I read a great book called The Growth Mindset by Carol Dweck. When I started reading this book I was working in the corporate world and had changed bosses. My first boss had an open mindset which made my workday easier. However, my next boss had a closed mindset, and it was a huge adjustment for me. The Growth Mindset helped me understand the difference between the two different types of mindsets which then helped me better tolerate the closed mindset boss.
What Are the Differences Between Growth Mindsets and Closed Mindsets?
Well, the growth mindset individual is somebody who believes that there is unlimited knowledge in the world, because one person cannot know everything! In the work environment, for example, the growth mindset person believes that they’re going to hire experts in all the different areas of their work, and then rely on those experts to provide them the information that is needed in decision making, because they can’t begin to know at all.
Whereas the closed mindset person believes that they must know it all. And that if they don’t know it all, it makes them look bad or weak or not good enough in the job that they’re doing. That person very often will take other people’s work as their own because they’re afraid to say, “I don’t know”. They don’t want to be hiring experts in their field because they must know it all. They feel it will make them look bad if somebody knows more than they do. As you can well imagine, it’s a very different work environment.
We don’t have closed mindsets just in our work environment. We have them in our learning environments, we have them in our sports environment, social environments, we can have different mindsets in so many different aspects of our lives.
It’s just fascinating how the human mind works, right? What else is impacting our mindsets? Well, it’s the way that we talk to ourselves. We have anywhere from 20,000 to 70,000 conversations with ourselves every single day. I like to teach people to talk back to those voices in our head. When we begin to be in control of our brain, rather than letting our brain be in control of us, we can move forward and take action to get out of our own way.
How Do You Talk to Yourself on Any Given Day?
Do you beat yourself up?
Do you criticize yourself?
Do you call yourself names?
Would you talk like this to others?
No? Then why are you talking to yourself like this?
If we don’t question our thoughts, our brain believes them to be true, and those thoughts are filed away in our subconscious mind. Think of your subconscious mind as a filing cabinet. It has no judgment, there is no filter, every experience we have, every thought we have, simply gets filed as is. We all know that when you say things enough times, it becomes true, as we believe it to be true.
We need to stop and do check ins with ourselves every time we speak to ourselves. Is what I am saying a positive thought? Or is it a negative thought? Talking negatively to ourselves is a bad habit, and like any bad habit, it will take time to break. Don’t lose hope if you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts over and over again, as now that you are aware of it, you can replace those thoughts with better serving thoughts and pretty soon you will naturally be speaking positively to yourself.
How Do You Catch Yourself from Responding Negatively to Yourself?
First ask yourself, “Is it true?” Because maybe the thought that you had was, “I’m unlovable” Is that true? No, there isn’t a human being out there that isn’t lovable. Correct. Then you can ask yourself, “How do I feel when I believe that thought?” You might feel sad, depressed, isolated, lonely, if you believe the thought “I’m unlovable”. Then the next question to ask yourself is, “how would I feel if I didn’t believe that thought?” Well, now I might feel happy, excited about the opportunity, as now there is the possibility that I’m cared for engaged connected. Right?
If you are unconscious of your inner dialogue, it can set off a train of negative thoughts. So we need to be more conscious about our inner dialogue. We need to start talking to ourselves as we would to someone we love. When we’re in our head, we are doing so much damage to ourselves when we continuously talk in negative terms, unless we are conscious of the thoughts that we are allowing into our head.
What Other Ways Can I Change My Mindset?
- Get a journal and each night write down three things that you are grateful for every day. I call this My Gratitude Journal. Everyone can find three things that they are grateful for each day.
- Tai Chi
- Qi Gong
- Take a walk out in nature
- Take a bath in Epsom Salts
- Read a book for fun
- Be of service to others
- Compliment other people
- Look at those around you. Do they support a negative mindset, or a positive mindset? If they are negative, maybe you need to change your tribe to the more positive people in your life.
We need to shift our perspective into what we can control. This is where we can release anxiety as now, we have control and can do something about that situation. Using a phrase like, “easier said than done”, is not helpful, as it leaves us feeling out of control and stuck or helpless. Look at what you can control and where you can take action, even if it’s just baby steps to start.
Changing your mindset will not happen overnight. But I can guarantee you will start to notice small changes in your thoughts daily, and in six months’ time you will be thinking more positive thoughts then negative thoughts!
Remember to always keep on learning! Learn new ways to be positive! Find new activities that make you feel good about yourself! YOU are in control of how you feel!
“Learn like you will live forever, live like you will die tomorrow.” – Gandhi