Open up any self-help book, and one of the key themes you’ll find being discussed is mindset or mind mastery, but why is it such a popular topic, and how is it even relevant for everyday life? The crisis of 2020 opened up an array of challenges and tests for a lot of people globally, and in such scenarios, it was people’s response to these challenges that allowed them to get through whatever was thrown at them. The way you experience and respond to demands, stress, roadblocks, setbacks etc are actually directed by your mind. In this post, I will be discussing the importance of mindset, how it affects your life circumstances, and share actionable tips on how to get it in control more.
I think we all intuitively understand what mindset is, but I believe the best and simplest definition for the term mindset is that it is a “mental attitude or inclination” (1) It is your knowledge about yourself and the world you live in, and also your personal filter for any information you get in as well as put out (1)
Put simply, your mindset is your biggest influencer and can determine the direction of your day-to-day affairs; for it is known that thoughts control feelings and attitudes, which control words and actions, which control habits and character, which then come full circle and control your circumstances. Mastering your mind and the thoughts that enter it can be your most valuable skill for a variety of reasons, and common examples include the following:
It is the reason why you will be less swayed by distractions as you will be living your life with the clear and specific intentions you will have set for yourself.
It is the reason why you can stand strong in your parenting styles/decisions and not feel self-conscious about judgements or difference.
It is the reason why you can set yourself a budget, and not give in to impulse purchases (most of the time).
It is the reason why you won’t fall susceptible to manipulation or exploitation from an employer or colleague.
It is the reason why you won’t take constructive criticism badly, as you will be able to see value in feedback to improve your services/product.
It is the reason why you’ll be quick to notice when your child is misbehaving and nip it in the bud before the world does this for you.
It is the reason why you will be able to handle stressful situations in a rational manner that ultimately benefits you/your family.
It is the reason why you may feel fearful about making a decision, but muster up the courage to take action anyway.
It is the reason why you can speak things into existence, by unlocking your innermost desires and working to bring them to life.
It is the reason why you will be aware of how you come across to others, and take appropriate steps to influence situations accordingly.
Understanding your blind spots
That’s right, it is not all your fault if your brain chooses to act out from time to time. When you have a million decisions to make in a limited amount of time or faced with information overload, your brain will reach for the most accessible resource – a shortcut (2). Some shortcuts are good (good habits) but some shortcuts are bad (e.g certain biases), hence why these loops need to be controlled. Also, ego, willpower, fear, self-discipline, objective thinking, are all examples of natural obstacles that are universal to many, yet when managed well, bring forth success.
Ideas to control your mind
Whilst a fixed mindset argues that a person’s qualities are unchangeable (3), a growth mind-set leaves anything open to change, below are some examples of easy tools you can use to adopt a growth mindset.
Affirmations – Create a self-dialogue instructing your subconscious mind on the type person you want to be, or a particular goal you would like to achieve but use words that put you in that position presently e.g. “I am a company director”
A vision board – Create an inspiring collage where you get to imagine with all your senses the lifestyle that you would like, and remember to be very specific.
To-do-lists – These can be daily, weekly or even monthly tasks, and make sure you hold yourself accountable to completing every single one of them (because affirmations without action leads to delusion). Not only are to-do-lists great for objectives, but also for building confidence as you tick each task off.
Asking for feedback – We often judge ourselves based on our intentions, which won’t always match our actions or actual outcomes, so asking or looking out for feedback is a great way to understand exactly how we can be perceived by others and increase our self-awareness.
Realising your power – There is a famous saying by Alice Walker that goes “the most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don't have any.” A lack of boundaries, guilt-trips, caving into fear, these are all examples of how you can easily give away your power by letting external factors withdraw from your mental resources (for free!!!) Be honest with others about your non-negotiables and be reasonable with yourself if you don’t have the capacity for something.
Find another way in – Often there will come a time where you will hit a roadblock, and be faced with a test. Learning to view obstacles as opportunities that can expand your skill sets, tenacity, and experience, can lead to a stronger and more confident self. But this can only be achieved through willingness; because as they say, where there is a will there is a way.
As you can see your mind-set is very powerful in either empowering you or limiting you, and as mums, many things will come into play that will challenge our desires for success (lack of time or money, baby-daddy issues, mum-guilt, work politics, frustration etc). Your mind-set will also have an impact on how you connect with your family, and yourself and all it requires is self-awareness and conscious decisions.
I mentioned earlier that the human brain is pretty much wired to be lazy but would like to stress that although it is not your fault your mind is programmed the way it is, it is your responsibility to control it. A popular quote by Napoleon Hill states that “if you fail to control self, you will be conquered by self.”