What is your mind-set?
Why is it important?
How can you change it? What?
Your ‘mind-set,’ as I’m going to refer to it today, is the way that you personally perceive the world. There is an old saying that “perception is reality”, and it’s all too often true. Think about it. How often have you heard somebody telling themselves, “I’m too old for that”; “That’s for people who are already fit”; or “I could never get a job like that”. Well, why not? Ultimately a mind-set stuck in this mentality has already forged a path of failure and missed opportunity. Psychologists call this a ‘self-fulfilling prophecy’ - the notion that whether you think you can or you can’t, you’re right.
As a rule of thumb people will fall into one of two camps when a challenge presents itself:
Need to Achieve (NACH)
Need to Avoid Failure (NAF)
It can be situation dependent too. Often if it’s something that you’re comfortable and familiar with you are more likely to want to attack the challenge; and if it’s new and unfamiliar the tendency will be to shy away from it.Largely it seems to be dependent on a person’s character traits. Some people (NACHs) will look at everything - even the new experiences - as a chance to learn something and develop; whilst the NAFs of the world will see it as an opportunity to look stupid. By avoiding the situation, self-esteem is preserved in the short term, but the new experience is missed and a chance to enrich their life is wasted.
Are people just born with this switched on in their heads? No. I’ve not yet met a single person who wasn’t CAPABLE of change. Humans are far too complex creatures for their personalities to be stuck like that; however some do find it easier to change than others. Think about it… Have you had days where you feel great, like you could take on the world, and then other days where you wonder how you’re even going to get out of bed?
Why is it important?
This seems obvious to some, and yet I meet so many people who are completely unaware of the importance. The way you look at a challenge determines the outcome. In the context of health and fitness, it doesn’t matter how effective your exercise and nutritional programme is unless you look at it in the right way.
When I show someone their new diet, and they respond with: “I can’t eat that for breakfast”, I know exactly how the next few weeks of training is going to go. Be the person who says: “WOW! Erm… that seems odd but I’m gonna give it a go.” Your brain will automatically start to process HOW you can achieve it.
How can you change it?
1. Self-awareness. Hopefully having read this article you’re now more switched on to your own mind-set, and therefore your own decision making skills. When was the last time you said “YES” to something that scared you?
2. Self-talk. Remind yourself that you’re a successful, positive person who likes to achieve things. It might sound stupid but try this in front of a mirror while you’re brushing your teeth. It’s harder than you think.
3. Meditation. Take some time away from your busy life to have 10 minutes of quiet, taking deep breaths. Lying or seated, whatever’s comfortable for you.
Focus on something that you’re successful at. It could be work (or an aspect of work), sport, hobbies, cooking - whatever is YOUR thing. Focus on how it makes you feel to be good at your thing and the way other people perceive you when it comes to that thing. Those qualities can be transferred to something you’re not so great at.
There are plenty of other ways, but essentially you’ve got to just go out into the world and try and be better than you were yesterday. That will guarantee success.