In my last blog I said that to succeed at whatever it is that you want you need to first have a vision, a big vision, and then set it out on paper either in words or in pictures on a vision board and then you need to work backwards through to your goals then back to the targets then back to your micro targets. The idea being that if you do the micro targets every day then you will reach your targets. And if you regularly reach your targets you will reach your goals and if you reach all your goals you will eventually step into your vision.
Got that? Good. We finished off by saying that once we have all that set down we then need to look at attitude, mindset and emotional environment. These are the foundations that you will build your vision on. It’s important to get these right because if you don’t, you’ll be like the man who built his house on sand. When the first storm came along, it just fell over. If we do get it right, then we are like the guy who built his house on the a rock foundation. When the storm came it stood up against the maelstrom.
Some might say that they are really all the same. But in fact they are very different. Let’s look at mindset first.
A mindset is a set of assumptions or methods held by a person which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within the person to accept or adopt certain prior behaviours, choices or tools. Also known as “cognitive bias”, it is sometimes described as mental inertia or paradigm. It is a powerful driver of our behaviours and is often difficult to counteract its affects on analysis and decision making processes. On a more positive side, it is also known as a person’s world view.
The concept of a world view’s power over our lives is interesting because I have always been fascinated by how many talented and intelligent people are not successful and how many “ordinary” people are in fact very successful. I think the answer lies in the fact that intelligent people are so invested in their opinion, their perspective, that they find it extremely hard to change their perspective. They have extreme difficulty in examining their beliefs because they are just so sure of their rightness, even when they are wrong. “Ordinary” people on the other hand are teachable and so they are able to learn from their mistakes, from others and from life itself that they become successful much more frequently than the opinionated “intelligentsia”. Here I must make a disclaimer: I have been credited with an IQ in the upper 1% of the population yet it is only in the last few years that I have learned how to question my beliefs and learned how to be less sure of my rightness. I in fact have the background, and therefore the right, to comment on the difference between the so called thinkers and the “ordinary” citizens when it comes to being successful.”
So, back to mindset. Your past has been written all over the walls of your mind. Your experiences have left graffiti that says; “try that again and you’ll fail again.” People have sprayed on your walls; “I told you that you’d fail……again”. “You’re too tall… short…… fat…….. dumb ……….blonde or whatever people have sprayed on your walls”. Perhaps you have come from a working class blue collar suburb which has written on your mind that you belong there and if you try to get out you are just a social climber. These are all mindsets that colour our decision making processes.
Why do mindsets matter? Mindsets matter because they shape the way we view the world and can constrict or expand the way in which we engage in life. Our mindsets grow out of the experiences we have. Irrespective of whether the experience is positive or negative, a filter is formed that limits what our mind absorbs of subsequent situations. This is driven by protecting ourselves and feeling secure in an uncertain world. Paradoxically, by avoiding making the same mistakes and being hurt we quite unintentionally miss opportunities. We can even miss out on greater things by being fixed on replicating previous success.
We are usually totally unaware of all this. Our mindsets are in the background. To engage more fully we need to bring our mindsets to the foreground. This requires a combination of specific experiences and reflection that enable us to become aware of and then shift our mindsets to ones that serve.
The good news is that we can change! Human beings have a huge potential for change. We don’t need therapists or psychologists to show us the way. What we need is to simply let Life ask us questions. If we are angry with someone it is because we have chosen to be angry. Sure the other person has done something we disagree with but that was their choice not ours. Our choice was to BECOME angry. So why did we become angry. What is there in the graffiti that says; “if this happens to you then you respond this way.”? Look at the situation and see if there is something in this “mirror” that is reflecting something of yourself that you don’t like. Did the last great event you tried fail? Did you then go into hiding and decide that great things aren’t for you? Why? What is in your past that has you believing that you should remain small, insignificant, a failure? Who has said to you that it just ain’t worth trying and only the geniuses get to where they want.
When you start asking questions about your beliefs you’ll start getting answers that will have a profound affect on your world view. When your world view changes, grows, expands and you start to become a larger version of yourself, then you start to ask larger, better questions and so you grow, exponentially. Your life experiences now become fertile ground for further growth. But beware, many of your friends will either try to hold you back or you will suddenly find them unfulfilling to be around.
So here’s the bottom line: To change your life you must change your world view. To change your world view you must let Life ask some serious questions of you. Most importantly, you must first admit to yourself that where you are, who you are and what you are is not sufficient. Finally, remember this; it is much more important to have questions than answers. When you have the answers you become inert because you have “arrived”. But if you have questions, the right questions, you will always be moving toward the great you that you were made to be.
Until next time……..