“Success is really about your mindset.”
What does success mean to you?
It seems that in modern times, this word has become synonymous with succeeding but then getting into a trap which creates a craving for yet more success, like a hamster on its proverbial wheel. I would like to offer a replacement for the word success in Gary’s quote and instead use ‘fulfilment’. Of course, you could also look for a word that suits your thinking. I like fulfilment as it is more about recognising, enjoying and celebrating each success without needing a further success in order to experience enjoyment.
How can we define a mindset?
I like to use a metaphor to describe ‘mindset’. Imagine wearing a pair of sunglasses. They provide a filter to transform over everything you see. In this case, they remove the glare of the sun. In a similar way, a mindset is a perceptual filter through which we see the world around us. It assists in filtering what aspects of the outside world we want to allow in. It helps us consciously decide on the attitude we have towards life’s ups and downs. Figure 1.0 shows this idea
The two primary mindsets
In my experience people usually fall into the glass is half full or glass is half empty view of the world. You might be able to think of people you know that clearly fit into these two. One way to describe this is seeing the world through a Problem Mindset or a Solution Mindset. You might also know of someone who is neither one side nor the other and lies more towards the middle. This leads us nicely into the following…
The three transitional mindsets
I have developed a three step idea to help us see that we can move from the problem to solution mindset by taking three simple steps. Before I go into that let me explain how making that change can benefit you.
Here’s what working towards a solution mindset has done for me. In my experience the solution mindset doesn’t stop problems; I still have them, like everybody else! No one gets away from life’s ups and downs. However the mind is creative and when that is tapped into, it makes it less likely that I feel like a victim of circumstances. Instead, with my mind set on solutions, I am free to turn disadvantages around. Also, with practice, problems don’t last as long. I believe that people who don’t seem fazed by life have the ability to feel the feelings that associate with problems but then have the skills to ask the questions that assist them in learning rapidly from the ‘problem’ and so transcend it.
The illustration shows how the three transitional mindsets could fit into our original two:
Now let’s have a look at the three transitional mindsets in some detail…
Transitional Mindset 1: The Obstacle Mindset
From Dictionary.com: Something that interferes with or prevents action or progress.
Here we can see that although the obstacle mindset is one step forwards from the problem mindset, there is still a sense of ‘pushing uphill’. This is typically when someone will procrastinate as they feel that it will take quite an effort to get through to the next mindset.
Transitional Mindset 2: The Challenge Mindset
From Dictionary.com: A call or summons to engage in any contest.
This is where a person may feel conflict. Ironically, this can be where many people give up on something often without realising how close they are to a breakthrough. Just as they are about to tip things over in their favour, they feel the energy required is that bit too much.
Transitional Mindset 3: The Opportunity Mindset
From Dictionary.com: A good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success.
This is where a person may experience enthusiasm. They feel that they have distanced themselves from the problem mindset so much that they may feel they can take what initially seemed like a disadvantage and make into an advantage.
I have used the words obstacle, challenge and opportunity, but you are very welcome to replace the words with ones that best suit you. The main aim is to work with the idea that transitional steps assist us in getting from point A to point B. It is also worth noting that each mindset accesses increasing levels of your own motivational energy.
So how would you use these steps to help develop a solution mindset? Well you might find that, just by entertaining the three step idea, the process has already started.
We all spend some time in each of those five mindsets; it’s just a case of deciding to spend more time in the solution mindset.An example might be useful here. Figure 3 is a table where I noted the mindset I was experiencing as I wrote these words. I was completing a draft of this article in my local coffee shop with my iPad while some great chill out music played in the background.
During the draft, I was brainstorming ideas so I felt very much in the flow. When I completed a detailed review a day or two later, I felt the Challenge % increase and the Opportunity % drop. You can see this in Fig 4.0 below.
As I finalise the article there will most likely be an overall shift into the Solution % as I will feel a boost of good feelings.
This way of looking at mindsets has helped me develop much more fluidity such that even if something major comes up, I am able to turn things around much more quickly than I could in years gone by. It as if breaking down the mindset idea into five categories helps me harness my resources and tap into my creativity.
Creating an opportunity
Well, why not have a go yourself? Is there something in your life where you feel stuck to a degree? Why not have a go and complete Fig 5.1 with your topic where you are feeling a level of ‘stuckness’. Simply add your % breakdown that you are currently experiencing.
Then give yourself some time so you have a break in the middle like I did with writing this article. Then complete Fig 5.2. You might notice a shift, maybe just a tiny one, which is just enough to loosen up your thinking.
As well as completing the above, you can also maximise your mindset by learning to intermittently ask yourself ‘which mindset am I currently experiencing?’ Then, with some time and a little effort and practice, you too can develop the ability to make mindset shifts.
I sincerely hope that this helps you see the potential you have to incrementally move towards experiencing more of a solution mindset, more of the time.
If you take this into your own life and make just a small improvement in a number of areas, they will compound together to make a significant difference.
- A mindset can be considered as a mental filter which shapes a person’s perceptions of the outside world.
- The two primary mindsets are Problem and Solution.
- The Solution Mindset best taps into our motivational energy reserves.
- I have shown three intermediate mindsets — but perhaps you can find more.
- When we look at what percentage of time we give to each mindset, we can tap into our creativity and shift more and more towards a solution mindset.