You may have heard the saying “mindset is everything” before.
But what does that really mean?
We asked a selected group of experts to explain the importance of mindset and share some of their wisdom when it comes to cultivating a better way of looking at things.
Here’s what they said.
Your Mindset Is 80% Of Your Success
Kat Cynewski, Registered Yoga Teacher and Founder of Be Well Events
Our mindset is so important because it affects the success of every aspect of our lives: personal, business, health.
Buddha said: “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.”
When you imagine success and focus your attention on the good that’s happening around you, you will see more good.
Likewise, when you imagine failure and worst-case scenarios happening, you see more of that.
It’s just like when you’re buying a new car and you start to see that car everywhere you go. I tell my clients that their mindset is 80 per cent of their success and the actual mechanics is only 20 per cent.
Your mindset can make or break you.
Here are three proven ways to train your mind to work with you and all that you desire instead of against you.
1) Recognize and redirect – keep an open note on your phone and write down any negative thoughts that pop into your mind. Once you acknowledge it, you will be better equipped to manage it. Next to the negative thought, write the positive. For example, if you write: “I’m such a procrastinator, I’ll never be successful”, next to it write: “I am focused and creating habits for success”.
2) Count your blessings – Gratitude journals are so popular because they WORK! Take 2 minutes out of your day to list 2-3 things you are grateful for.
3) Visualize success – What you focus on, expands. The more you imagine the best case scenario the more you will train your mind to move towards that.
Your Mindset Affects Your Motivation, Passion And Work Ethic
Damon Nailer, Consultant, Coach And Motivational Speaker
Our mindset is important because our thoughts lead to our feelings and our feelings lead us into action.
Therefore, we must concentrate and focus on things we desire to pursue or obtain.
As we do this, we will develop feelings of inspiration, hope, and confidence, which will cause us to put forth the necessary actions needed to attain our goals and satisfy our desires.
Not having the proper mindset adversely affects our motivation, passion, and work ethic.
Here are several ways to improve your mindset.
1) Meditate on wholesome concepts – speaking inwardly is a form of meditation. As we ponder and repeat words/phrases within ourselves, our mindset, disposition, and emotions are shaped. To maintain a victorious mind frame, we must meditate on good, inspirational ideas.
2) Speak affirmations – words are powerful, especially when spoken into the atmosphere. They contain the power to bring positivity or negativity to our mind, soul, and body. Therefore, we must speak uplifting and encouraging words to ourselves.
3) Listen to educational and inspirational messages – believe it or not, we eat mentally, emotionally, and spiritually whenever we listen to speakers, reporters, musicians, teachers, etc. With that being said, our intangible diets dictate our thoughts, emotions, and actions. This means we must be cognizant of what we are feeding ourselves as we open our eye and ear gates to receive messages from others because what we consume through various forms of media influences us significantly.
You Cannot Out-Perform Your Own Self-Image
Stuart Doughty, Personal Development Mentor Consultant with The Proctor Gallagher Institute
Why isn’t it working out for you? Do you ever ask yourself that question?
The source of struggle, frustration and failure is typically a misaligned mindset.
A good strategy without a matching mindset is always more likely to fail than succeed. Of the three pillars of entrepreneurial success – specialist knowledge, committed support, right mindset – it’s usually the mental attitude that gets overlooked.
And yet psychology has proven that a person cannot out-perform their own self-image.
Subconscious limiting beliefs will always hold a person back and interfere with performance. Which is why it’s critical to create a mindset that is aligned with the goal or vision. Otherwise progress becomes a struggle and a person ends up trying to force themselves to do better, which ultimately leads to burn-out or resignation.
In elite sports, mindset is the difference between winning and losing; and in business, change management aimed at improving performance and transforming financial results relies heavily on adjusting attitude.
A fixed mindset is not capable of delivering better results. Only a growth mindset can achieve that.
Whenever you attempt to step up to a greater level of achievement, you will face mental challenges, and resistance to taking action, because your mind is not set at the level of your goals.
You will still be thinking with the same awareness that got you to where you are right now, and which doesn’t match your imagination of where you want to go next. There are three effective techniques that can help you to establish the right mindset, which are designed to align you with your goals or vision.
Mindset isn’t simply about being more positive, confident or having more self-belief. It’s about using mental faculties to tune your thinking onto the wavelength of your objectives.
Imagination – Practice imagining the future you wish to create; seeing the outcome you want to achieve.
Make it a regular practice to picture clearly in your mind the objectives having already been achieved. Imagination is where everything we do gets created first.
Focus – You must develop a habit of focusing your attention on the outcome you want, and not obsessing with the present challenges or struggle.
You have to begin to believe that you will achieve your goal, and belief comes from staying focused on where you are going, not worrying about where you are at.
To maintain focus on the future when the present is all-consuming and challenging, you must write down your goal and read it every day. That keeps you connected to the goal and inspires you to take action necessary to move forwards.
Feeling – You need to feel as if you can achieve your goal. The mind tends to tell us why we cannot do a thing, and make us feel apprehensive or incapable. To overcome negative thoughts and feelings, you must learn to maintain a sense of inevitable success by placing yourself in the future having already achieved your goal.
Imagine what that feels like, how you think differently, what new beliefs you have.
Place yourself in your desired future and really feel what it’s like, then bring that feeling back into the present and act from it.
Pain Is Inevitable But Suffering Is Optional
Sabrina Romanoff, Clinical Psychologist
Mindset is important because we decide the meaning and importance we place on events that happen to us.
It isn’t what happens, but what we make of it. Pain is inevitable in life, but suffering is optional.
The difference lies in our interpretation and perception. To be more deliberate about your mindset, first you need to distinguish factors that lie within and beyond your control.
Then, with focus on the former, learn to reduce your reactivity and bias to dwell on the negative.
This is an exercise of self-control and discipline as it is requires you to constantly filter out the negative bias and instead challenge yourself to consider the alternatives.
Life is safer when it’s predictable. It’s easier to assume the worst. It protects us from the vulnerability of being disappointed and hurt. But narrowing your focus only leaves you short changed in the long run.
Writing is a fantastic way to externalize thoughts and broaden your perspective. The mere act of writing your thoughts down and seeing them creates space and distance to consider them in a more objective way.
This borrows from the acceptance and commitment based concept of cognitive diffusion. The idea is that you are not your thoughts or emotions, instead you are the context in which they occur.
Writing, speaking with a friend, going to therapy all help with this.
Next time you have a negative thought, first notice it. Next, view yourself as a chessboard (common metaphor in ACT), with thoughts and emotions as the pieces.
You are the context in which the pieces are battling. You get to choose the effect they may have.
Exercise and challenge yourself each day. Inducing moderate strain on your body and striving towards increasingly advanced goals provides a tangible experience in which you can prove to yourself you are capable of more than you thought.
The strain recovery cycle will recalibrate your mindset and lead to both mental and physical benefits.
Your Mindset Is The Lens Through Which You View Everything!
Akhila Satish, Decision Making Coach and CEO of Meseekna
Your mindset is important because it’s the lens through which you view, well, everything!
You can start working on your mindset by reflecting about the way you think, which is called metacognition.
One metacognitive practice I like to do is make an ‘opposite of gratitude’ list to help you determine the factors that bring you down during the day.
That list may include things like feeling disheartened whenever you check Twitter or Instagram or getting distracted by work emails after the day is done.
Once you’ve created that list, you’ll be able to better understand where you need to set healthy boundaries with yourself (such as logging off completely after 6pm) about how much those behaviors are present in your daily life.
I would then encourage you to create good ‘cognitive clutter,’ which means physically surrounding yourself with things that inspire you and help you grow as a person.
For example, leave out some books you’ve been meaning to read, create a calendar invite for a call with a friend, or set your workout clothes out at the start of the day.
This approach will help you constantly remind yourself when it’s time to work on yourself and step away from stressors, and will help you gradually and effectively improve your mindset!
Mindset is Everything Because It Frames The Story Of Your Life
Priya Jindal, Founder of Nextpat
Your mindset is the outline to the narrative of your life. We are all the heroes of our own story.
We see our lives as narratives and fit our circumstances and expectations into that narrative.
As we grow, our narrative is dictated by the outline. When we have a mindset that helps us see circumstance as opportunity, we are more likely to tap into our resiliency to create opportunities even when we face setbacks.
Our mindset can help us view the world through different lenses. Today, we hear about reframing situations. But reframing is really a way of saying let’s change our approach to this situation so that we can find the tools and resources to overcome it.
When we start to develop a positive mindset, we access these tools and resources more easily. It allows us to face challenges with greater optimism.
A positive or opportunistic mindset can also help us revel in the positive times. It allows us to savor the good times as earned or part of the great story of our lives.
Savoring the good times and sharing them is proven to create a higher happiness baseline. So a positive mindset can actually increase happiness without changing any circumstances.
As a transition coach, I work with individuals facing challenging circumstances, especially in situations where they’ve been evacuated or been forced to move. In these situations, resiliency, a sense of adventure, and optimism go far.
When we approach the situation as an adventure all of a sudden each challenge is a story about overcoming that you will regale friends with later.
In that circumstance, we shift to think of ourselves as a plot hero that can innovate and overcome. This shapes the nature of our transition into a more positive one than a person beset by circumstance and pulled by each circumstance.
Finally, mindset allows us to author our stories. That ownership over how we will walk through life leads to confidence, authenticity, and optimism. It can even lead to grace as we choose what we bring into our mindset and how it shapes our story.
It brings others into our circle as they are attracted to our self-authorship and inspires others to live up to our model.
Mindset is the outline we use to narrate our life story as one of triumph instead of subject of circumstance.
Your Mindset Is The Foundation Of Your Success
Brooke Thomas, Success Coach and Women’s Empowerment Expert
Your mindset is the foundation for which your success in business and life is built.
Without a strong mental game, it is easy to fall into the toxic cycle of negative self-talk and overwhelm.
In order to move through the fear hard-wired in our brains, we must be able to look at the bigger picture. Improving your mindset begins with how you start the morning.
It is important to fuel your mind with inspiration or positive messages before setting priorities for the day. You control the influences you consume.
Another way to improve your mindset is to be intentional about the words that come out of your mouth.
The words you speak into the world about yourself and others shape your outlook.
Improving your mindset also requires letting go of the need for perfection in order to make more effective decisions and maintain your momentum.
Mindset determines how quickly you recover from minor setbacks or failure. It also determines how quickly you reach your goals.
Your Mindset Determines Everything You Do Or Don’t Do
Nancy Feinstein, Personal Trainer and Mindset Coach
Mindset is everything! It actually determines what you end up doing, where you end up going, what you end up eating… really everything that you do or don’t do.
I have two keys for success, the first is in your morning routine.
Have a list of five or more things that you will do before you look at your phone. List those out… for example, I do a light stretch, drink a glass of water, make my bed, use the bathroom, brew the coffee, walk the dog and then look at my to-do list for the day. The same seven things everyday.
This is so important because you will feel accomplished at the start of the day, and you do not give you power away to someone/something else.
An example of this could be when you put on the news, and first thing you hear is something awful, or you open your email and there are things that are triggering you to feel a certain way.
It is always better for you to be in control of your mood, rather than your mood be determined by someone else’s actions.
Regarding the to-do list, I recommend doing this the night before. That way, you go to bed relaxed, and already thinking that those are the things that you will accomplish the following day.
In the morning, you just need to review it and make any tweaks.
The second is journaling. Taking the time to mindfully write down your thoughts and feelings will help you see what is really possible. I would suggest prompted journaling to start.
Spending 10 minutes answering one question a day, can really lead to a clearer mind, better judgement and more realistic goals.
This will help get your mindset straight, because there will be less confusion about what you are doing, when you are doing it, what your goals are, etc.
You know the saying… whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right. That ‘can do’ attitude is everything.
Changing Your Mindset Requires Intentional Efforts
Karen Conlon, Founder and Clinical Director at Cohesive Therapy NYC
Mindset is a substantial part of being able to make desired changes.
On a psychological level, being able to change the way that you read a situation can be the difference between feeling that you are trapped with no way out, or being able to be see options.
From a neurological standpoint, if you consistently practice shifting your mindset, your brain will quite literally create new neural pathways and the more you put this into practice, the more your brain will naturally begin to use the new mindset pathway to make decisions.
Changing your mindset takes some work, and if you don’t have access to a a trained professional, like a CBT therapist, then you can start off with something as simple as writing down the change that you want to make on a post-it and putting it somewhere that you can see it every day.
Another alternative is to write it and take a picture of it on your phone and make it your lock screen, which will likely have you seeing it various times per day.
This is a passive but easy way of beginning to set into place those changes in the brain, as well as in your overall attitude about working towards what you want to achieve.
There are many ways to work on changing your mindset, but the first step is to acknowledge that it won’t just happen on its own, you need to make intentional efforts to make it happen.