Have you ever been sad and frustrated because you know you are not living up to your potential?
Do you feel stuck but don’t know what’s wrong or how to fix it?
Or maybe the problem is that, despite having the ideas and intelligence to achieve your goals, you always manage to talk yourself out of the success you deserve?
Maybe you do have the essential skills and talents you need. Perhaps the biggest barrier is your mindset. In today’s post I will talk about;
5 Mindsets That Are Sabotaging Your Success!!
and more importantly
What To Do About Them!!
What is a mindset?
According to THIS Wikipedia post a mindset is more, or less, a set of assumptions that we hold to be true.
We all carry around our own unique set of mindsets or assumptions. These mindsets were usually developed when we were very young and were often created through our interactions with people who happened to be in positions of influence over us. These group of people with influence over us includes teachers, parents, friends or religious leaders or anyone else in a position of real or perceived authority. This list includes sports figures, movie and sports stars as well as politicians. It’s important to recognize that all of the people who ever influenced your mindset was dealing with their own issues and acting from their own perspectives. In some cases these people were largely unaware of the impact they have on people, particularly children, they come in contact with. In other cases these people of influence actively try and sway others to their ways of thinking.
A person who was teased by classmates about their looks may spend their whole life under the false assumption that they are ugly. The people doing the teasing probably looked at it as “harmless” fun, but for the person being teased it was a life altering experience.
Or a person who was ridiculed by a teacher for failing a test may spend the rest of their lives thinking they are stupid. Given that the role of a teacher is to support students engaged in the learning process any teacher who ridicules a student is performing below expectations and therefore in no position to make fun of any student’s performance.
It should be recognized that, because they were dealing with their own issues, both the teachers and the school bullies had no real idea of their negative impact. As a result we should harbor no long term ill will toward them. To be healthy and happy we all need to learn to forgive, forget and move on with life.
We do, however, have the obligation to manage our own lives which includes choosing mindsets that are in alignment with our goals and aspirations.
Fortunately our mindsets are simply habits of thought and therefore completely adaptable. As always the first stage of change always begins with the acceptance of the fact that we are the ones who are ultimately responsible for our lives. As a result we are free to adopt new positive mindsets and discard the negative and destructive ones.
Following are 5 mindsets that are sabotaging your success. Chances are at least a few will resonate with you.
Topping the list are two opposing mindsets that, in many respects are the master mindsets that many other mindsets depend upon.
Mindset 1. Fixed vs Growth.
According to Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University and Author of the book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success there are two basic mindsets of interest; a fixed mindset, and a growth mindset.
In short people with fixed mindsets believe that many important human qualities such as talent and intelligence are fixed traits. In other words these and similar qualities are purely the result of genetics and, like eye color, are fixed and unchangeable. People with fixed mindsets tend to give up in the face of adversity or fail to try as hard as they might to achieve success because they are under under the mistaken impression that, if you have talent and intelligence, success should come easily.
These people have a tendency to limit their progress by stating their perceived limitations as facts. “I’m no good at math,” “I simply don’t have enough will power to stick with an exercise program,” “I am just no good at meeting people,” are common perceived limitations that people with fixed mindsets label as facts.
People with a growth mindset believe that both talent and intelligence can be developed through hard work and perseverance. They believe that the majority of their limitation can be overcome with effort. They know that learning math, the capability of meeting new people and even the ability to engage in a long term exercise program all rely on skills that, with effort, are simple to acquire.
As a result people with a growth mindset stick with their goals despite adversity and have a tendency to look at mistakes and setbacks as learning opportunities.
Unsurprisingly people with a growth mindset tend to be happier, healthier and more successful in virtually every aspect of life.
Developing a growth mindset in ourselves and others is, simple, but not easy. We need to learn to value and in fact enjoy the hard work that comes with pursuing our goals rather than merely focusing on the goal itself. In addition we need to be able to honestly view our failures as valuable learning opportunities rather than signs we are somehow incapable or flawed.
Take writing for example; who do you think would become the better author?
The person who sits down and bangs out an article or a book, then, thinking they lack talent, give up on writing once they discover that their piece wasn’t very good.
The person who dedicates themselves to writing on a daily basis, takes writing courses, joins writing groups to gain feedback on their writing, painstakingly edits their work until its the very best they can do and finally spends hours pouring over and studying the great works of authors they admire.
The answer is easy. The second author would, of course, be far more successful. That person is a great example of a growth mindset.
The take away is this:
The central tenant of building a growth mindset is believing we can improve in our chosen field. The focus has to shift from achieving perfection to one of continual improvement.
The truth is that we can all improve virtually anything about ourselves as long as we are willing to work hard and examine our failures. As you read through the next 4 mindsets keep in mind that, with effort and perseverance, there is almost nothing about yourself that you cannot improve.
Mindset 2; You expect to feel like doing the things you need to do.
Waiting to you feel like doing something is a virtual guarantee of stagnation and failure.
Very few of us actually feel like doing the things we need to do and the reason is our own internal resistance.
On a deeply subconscious level we are all resistant to doing things that are unfamiliar, have a risk of failure, or requires any effort. This resistance originates within our primitive brain which is focused only on survival and doing what feels best in the present moment. Our primitive brain doesn’t care about self-improvement, personal growth, our career or even our future health and well being. It only cares about feelings of safety and pleasure in the present moment.
Unfortunately the progress that most of us want in life requires effort and some degree of risk. Our achievements always lie on the other side of discomfort, uncertainty and hard work. The bigger the goal the harder we have to work and the bigger risks we have to take. Therefore getting what we want will always mean we have over come our own internal resistance.
Although it shows up as hesitation, procrastination and giving in to momentary pleasure at the sacrifice of future gain, resistance isn’t due to a weakness in character. Nor is resistance the result of a lack of discipline. It is merely our primitive brain working hard to to protect us by ensuring we don’t do anything stupid that will get us killed or tossed out of the tribe.
It is a huge mistake to think you will “feel” more like doing what you need to do at some later date. You won’t. In fact the opposite is true. The more you give in to your urge to procrastinate the harder it will be to overcome that urge to procrastinate.
Our resistance shows up in our feelings and the stories we tell ourselves.
We procrastinate because we don’t “feel” like it. And if we label the emotions associated with procrastination we will find that we delay taking action because we feel afraid, tired, uncertain or uncomfortable. But these feelings are not real; they are just the lies that our internal resistance makes up to keep us immobile and , by it’s estimation, safe.
Resistance also shows up the stories we tell ourselves.
We tell ourselves we are too small, too old, too young, too tired, too stupid or just incapable. We tell ourselves that the timing is wrong, that we are too busy and that we will start tomorrow.
Our resistance also shows up as blame. We blame our lack of action on someone or something else. We blame economic circumstances, our parents, our bosses, the weather and even the government for our unfulfilled dreams and aspirations.
Although we desperately want to believe our own lies on a deeply subconscious level we always know the truth. We know when we are procrastinating and we feel restless, sad and weak as a result.
Case in point:
I was speaking at a conference last year and a lady came up and was congratulating me on my speech. She told me that, although she wished she could speak publicly, she simply couldn’t. When I told her that she seemed knowledgeable, well-spoken and very capable of public speaking she physically recoiled and started to tear up. She then explained that her fear had grown so big that even thinking about speaking before a group made her nauseous.
Her internal resistance to public speaking had disguised itself as fear and was so strong that she had lost the ability even contemplate it. She believed her own lies so deeply she was too afraid to try. Yet the sadness she felt was apparent on her face and in her words.
The antidote to resistance is always action. When you feel resistance simply take action. Take one tiny little step forward into your resistance.
Do what you fear and your fear will literally disappear.
Personally I rarely feel like writing, creating speaking proposals, exercising or eating as healthy as I should. My life is a constant battle with resistance and I almost always manage to win the battle. I know that resistance comes with self-improvement. My first chore every day is to discipline my mind and overcome my own resistance. Once I take action my resistance quickly fades and is replaced with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
I beat resistance every time I tackle an item on my action list and my goals reflect that. My writing goal is one shitty page per day, my physical activity goal is 12 minutes of cardio, my yoga practice goal is 5 minutes. I focus on setting targets that I can meet on a consistent basis and I feel great because it is a rare day when I don’t exceed my goal.
By taking consistent action you will gradually strengthen your ability to overcome resistance and you will be able to take on bigger and more ambitious goals.
But your resistance will always be waiting and will quickly grow back if you stop training.
Mindset 3; You see yourself trying rather than succeeding.
The human brain is an amazing goal seeking mechanism and most of us block our success from the moment we choose a goal. The majority of us have a tendency to see ourselves as trying to achieve our goals. We are TRYING to lose weight, we are TRYING to quit smoking.
Because we have the mindset of someone trying to achieve a goal we almost always fail. We have a vision of ourselves trying rather than succeeding.
Allowing for individual variances and sometimes vastly different environmental circumstances the lives we live and the goals we achieve are mostly in alignment with our self-perceptions. We almost always accomplish exactly what we expect to.
The drive to adhere to our own self-identity is so strong that even when luck lends a hand we usually find a way to return to our comfort zone. Statistics show that lottery winners typically return to their original financial situation within 3 to 5 years. Very wealthy people who suffer extreme financial setbacks usually find a way to make their money back within the same time frame. While skill and talents do play a role self-perception counts.
This problem has nothing to do with manifestation, spirituality or quantum mechanics and has everything to do with mindset and process. In order to achieve a goal we need to be able to clearly see ourselves achieving it. If lour long term goal is too big we won’t be able to clearly envision success. If that’s the case we need to create another, smaller goal that we can vividly see ourselves achieving. Of course that small goal should be in alignment with our original big goal.
Setting small short term goals also takes advantage of our internal reward system. Each time we achieve a goal, even a small one, we feel a sense of progress. As a result our body releases special brain chemicals that make us feel good. Feeling good about achieving goals and taking action helps breed consistency.
As a hobby I climb mountains. We never set out with the mindset of trying to reach the summit. We plan to be successful and approach it in that fashion. During the majority of our climbs we cannot see the top of the mountain so we set intermediate goals. Instead of focusing on the summit we aim for something we can see such as a meadow or a tree line. By having a very clear visual target we maintain our motivation and persevere when other people quit. We succeed because we see ourselves succeeding.
If you see yourself as “TRYING” to lose weight you will be just that. A person trying to lose weight. Your inner guidance system will be satisfied with the fact that you lived up to your self-described identity as a person trying to lose weight. There is no sense of inevitability or certainty to the matter.
Trying is at best a halfhearted commitment to success with little power or emotive force. People who don’t achieve a goal are fond of saying “At least I tried”.
As Yoda said in Star Wars, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”
To achieve any goal, you have to get over “TRYING” and start “DOING”.
Mindset 4; You aren’t clear on what you want.
When I ask people about their goals I usually get roughly the same response. They want to get in shape, lose weight, get rich, write a book or start a business.
There is no tangibility, no clarity. With no specific goal, no action steps, no timeline there cannot be real commitment. Failure isn’t just a possibility it is nearly inevitable.
If you want to actually accomplish a difficult task you need a specific plan and along with the plan you need specific timelines. Give yourself targets to work toward and you will see that you accomplish far more in less time.
Here is a little tough love. If you don’t care enough to get clear on what you want you probably won’t care enough to see it through. With clarity comes both power and commitment.
Be clear on your big goal and then break it into tiny goals that are so small that you can clearly see yourself being successful in achieving them.
Mindset 5; You want the results without the effort.
We live in a world of “hacks’ and “quick fixes”. The internet is full of people selling get rich quick and lose weight fast schemes, all of which are, more or less, bullshit. There are also thousands of people who buy into the manifestation nonsense. All of these schemes fail based on one simple fact.
We rarely get something for nothing.
Getting what you want takes effort and sacrifice. And the bigger the goal the more effort and sacrifice is required. Planning to achieve a goal without effort means there is no goal, just a dream, and more often than not dreams do not come true.
Big goals require big effort that goes well beyond written goals, positive affirmations and vision boards. Goal setting is exciting, creating vision boards is fun, positive affirmations are relaxing. But none of these activities will take you one centimeter closer to your goal. You have to do the work.
Remember that the pay off for big dreams can take weeks, months or even years to come.
In a recent interview; Steven Pressfield author of “The War of Art” and 16 other books revealed that he wrote for 27 years before he ever made a dime. 27 years is a very long time and demonstrates next level commitment to his goals. 27 years without payback is what I call grinding.
In his book “Turning Pro” Steven gives some of the best and most memorable advice that I have ever heard. Although primarily directed at writers, artists and other creative minds Stevens’s advice is simple, practical and successful.
He advises that we; “Stop acting like amateurs. Be professional. Show up every day and do your best.”
As another direct quote:
“Put your ass where your heart wants to be. By that, I simply mean if you want to paint, out your body in front of an easel. If you want to write, sit in front of a key board.”
To get what we want from life we have to show up and do the work.
My observations about about just showing up and doing the work are this;
1.) By taking daily action even big goals are very attainable and often come to fruition surprisingly fast.
2.) After a while you begin to actually enjoy the daily grind that comes from working hard to attain a worthwhile goal. Getting prepared to sit down and write is always a battle with resistance, but boy does it feel great when you accomplish it.
3.) Working hard is a far more reliable approach to goal realization than praying for manifestation.
4.) Life is a quid pro quo arrangement – you usually get out what you put in.
We need to earn what we get. If we are lucky we achieve our goals quickly and easily. If we are unlucky it may take a little longer. If we show up and do the work we all accomplish most if not all of our dreams.
Thomas Jefferson has been quoted as saying,
“I am a firm believer in luck and the harder I work the more luck I have.”
Getting what we want from life is usually simple but definitely not easy.
Success starts with your mind set.
To improve your success mindset try the following;
- believe you can improve,
- get very clear what you want,
- break the big dream down into small daily tasks
- over come resistance and do the work each and every day
- expect to put in the effort.
Thanks for reading this post and I sincerely hope you gain some value from it.
If you have any questions comments or ideas for a BLOG post let me know.