5 Ways Your Mindset is Screwing Up Your Success
Yes! Your Mindset Really Matters
Is it just me or is every other self-help guru trying to tell you that if you just believe you’ll get something, it will magically fall in your lap? Or all the magazines are asking if you’ve tried affirmations to change your life right now? While some of these people are totally full of it, not everything that they’re telling you is garbage. Our mindset does matter. Advances in neuroscience have proven that the brain is far more malleable than we previously thought. What does this mean for us? That our growth in life is totally malleable too.
So why aren’t we just magically growing? What’s stopping us from quitting smoking? Losing those last five pounds? Getting further in our career? Finding the love our life? What’s keeping us from even making a decision at all? The truth is that our mindset can really keep us from or cause us to achieve our goals.
(I just want to take a second to be clear that there may be some hindrances to focusing on your mindset- such as mental illness, a serious medical issue, traumatic events, etc. However, I still believe you need the correct mindset to grow from these into the next phase of your life. For instance, you cannot overcome your depression if you refuse to seek help for your depression- whether that be a therapist, medication, exercise, or any combination of things.)
Mistake #1: You’re using a fixed mindset.
The term ‘fixed mindset’ was coined by psychologist Carol Dweck. Dweck worked on the study of our psychological traits surrounding growth and skill development. A fixed mindset basically boils down to believing you either are or aren’t good at something because that’s just the way it is. A fixed mindset might tell you, “I’m just no good at dancing.” It might convince you to stick to what you know, so you can avoid failure, It believes your failures define who you are. It is really common, but ultimately detrimental to your success.
In contrast, a ‘growth mindset’ believes anyone can be good at anything. Your abilities are due to your actions. Skill only comes from practice. Thus, a growth mindset provides room to explore new opportunities and learn from mistakes. The growth mindset focuses on the process, while the fixed mindset focuses on the outcome.
What’s amazing is that if you are currently in a fixed mindset- you can change it! Carol Dweck herself wrote a book on the topic, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
Mistake #2: You’re indulging in negative self talk.
Everyone has a little voice in their heads. Some days that voice may be super nice (Wow, my hair looks great today!) Some days it might be just kind of okay (Come on! Get it together!) And some days it may be completely and totally cruel (You don’t even deserve to be here.) Any thought that diminishes you and your ability to make positive changes in your life or your confidence in your ability to do so is negative self talk, and it can completely derail your success.
Studies have shown that those engaging in frequent negative self talk have lower self esteem and higher stress levels. Not the best environment for totally turning your life around- especially if you’re trying to do something like lose weight or change careers. Who can feel empowered if there’s constantly some jerk in their ear telling them they’ll never succeed because X-Y-Z?
The good news is that you can work to reduce to amount of negative self talk in your life. Check out this article from verywellmind for some great starting points.
Mistake #3: You’re bailing on affirmations.
An affirmation is a positive statement you can use to overcome things like your fixed mindset or negative self talk. Sometimes it’s easy to think that these are just silly wishful statement, especially when you see so many influencers telling you that if you would just say your affirmations, one million dollars would manifest itself right in your lap. Maybe you don’t do them at all, or maybe you are doing them, but you aren’t really engaged.
If you feel like those people out there manifesting their money are silly, then that’s okay. You should have an affirmation that works for you. And if you’re not engaged with your affirmation, it’s not going to help you. If you’re looking in your mirror every morning, saying “I’m going to make a million dollars,” and rolling your eyes sarcastically, then you’re just wasting time.
Your affirmations have to line up with your core personal values. This is why it is so important to select affirmations that really resonate with you, if not write them yourself. Just doing the same affirmations your favorite celebrity does won’t necessarily have the same results because you two are different people. So be specific, and be yourself.
Self affirmations have been scientifically proven to decrease stress, aid in dismissing harmful health messages, and be linked to academic achievement. For more on the psychology behind affirmations, check out this article from Positive Psychology.
4. You’re letting other people tell you who are.
“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not a truth. “ — Marcus Aurelius
Whether it’s your boss, your mom, or that guy in your yoga class, you’re letting someone else tell you who you are. A lot of the time, people around us- especially those closer to us- can provide helpful insight to things we may be blind to. It’s okay (and good!) to listen to feedback from others, but not everyone is right. So, make sure you know yourself.
A really good example of this comes from a work situation I was in. In the course of time I worked with a certain person, she told me I was a multitude of things. She very often flip-flopped her opinion of me, attributing one quality to me in one month, and a totally opposite one the next. The trouble isn’t so much that her opinion was changing, but that I took her opinion so literally, that I started to be confused about who I was.
People will tell each other a story about you. They’ll tell themselves a story about you. And they may even spin a good yarn to you about you. You can take in that information, adjust as needed, and let it go. But if Debbie from accounting says you’re a bad person, don’t let yourself start to believe that. If Doug at your favorite coffee shop thinks it’s crazy that you want to start your own business, don’t let him make you drown in doubt.
5. You’re skipping out on fun.
When we’re young, almost all our time is play. I watch my daughter now learn through her play, and it’s incredible to see. Anyone who has spent time with younger kids will probably tell you… their discovery of the world and the way they light up with joy is phenomenal.
So, where’s our fun now that we’re grown up? Some days it feels like we only get home from work, microwave a boxed meal, and go straight to bed… only to get up to go to work again (maybe a Facebook post about how tired we are or putting on Netflix to fall asleep to). This is not what life is!
So many people love to talk about how busy they are. Busy is not a badge of honor. I know some of us are working crazy hours, trying to provide for our families- trust me, I’ve been there. But if we get so caught up in it that any moment not working feels wasted, or we feel guilty for taking a day off- something’s wrong.
Have fun. Take time. 5 minutes. A day. Heck- an entire week if you can. Enjoy your life.
What are your thoughts? Is one of these holding you back from your ultimate success? Let me know in the comments.