Updated: Jan 3
Many times, it can seem as though our conscious thoughts come from a place separate than that of our subconscious. I’m sure we have all been there when we engage in some form of self-talk, self-motivation, or self-deprecation. Something inside us tells us how great or how bad we are, how capable or incapable we are, or the inner voice that gives us that push forward to accomplish the impossible or binds us in place and makes the most menial task appear insurmountable. Our minds can be our greatest ally, or our absolute worst enemy.
Psychology gives us very elaborate definitions to explain the concept of mindset, but essentially what it boils down to, for me, is a person’s self-image and whether, or not a passion exists in their life worth exploring. Does a person survive in a box with walls and no doors, or does a person live in a space without borders or limitations? Is one satisfied with their world as it is, or is there room for improvement? Does a person believe they already possess the gifts to make a positive change, or can they improve on their gifts and then make a positive change? Will they act?
Now, if you’re one of those people who are happy with life and aren’t interested in moving it in any direction, up, sideways, forward, or otherwise, then this article probably isn’t for you. Also, if you’re someone whose already on the fast track to change and have made all the right choices toward a better and brighter future, then the same most likely applies. Probably not your article.
But if your someone who is ready to make the change but need some assistance, then I hope to be able to provide a few tips to help you along.
In my experience, a change in mindset, fundamentally, requires three things. 1) Awareness, 2) Honesty, and 3) Purpose.
Change is not easy. At least, not the kind of change that leads to better things. Isn’t that weird? Nothing worth doing is ever easy. It’s always going to take hard work, discipline, mental toughness, resilience, resolve, and hard work. Yes…I said “hard work” twice, because its twice as important. It’s especially important to be aware of that fact from the "get-go."
Be aware that if you set a goal for yourself, that improves your life, alone, then do not expect for everyone in your circle of close friends and family to understand completely your desire to make a change. Change can be scary for not just the person making the change, but for those who are around to witness it. As you transform, the people around you will take notice, and some of them might get uncomfortable and influence you to quit. Keep in mind, the goal you made is for your benefit, and must take priority. Anyone trying to convince you otherwise may not have your best interest in mind. Only the desire to maintain the status quo.
Previously mentioned were the words resilience and resolve. This was done because in the struggle of self-improvement, there are just as many “downs” as there are “ups.” To be honest, there are probably more “downs.” So, there will be plenty of opportunities to become discouraged and quit. And trust me, you’ll want to quit. The temptation to return to what is comfortable will always linger, but one must remember that if what “was” was so great, then the journey to what “could be” would never have been started. It’s important to recognize these moments will come about several times along the way, so be ready to face adversity head on. Prepare yourself to push back, and push through those moments as they arise. And if, or when, you fall off the trail. Dust yourself off, and get back on track, sooner rather than later.
Of the three, this is probably the more difficult aspect of mindset changing there is. Because it requires for someone to look within, recognize, acknowledge, explore, and accept all the flaws and weakness they possess. It’s easy to identify our shortcomings, it’s never as easy to be okay with them. Although, that’s what’s required to be able to move forward in our lives. We must be the most honest about two things especially; our past and our people.
Who we are today is a culmination of past experiences and encounters with people and different life events. It’s the foundation of who we are today, and quite possibly the reason a desire for change exists in the first place. Regardless, these experiences can be empowering, or debilitating, and more importantly require serious scrutiny.
These things are much easier to say than they are to apply in real life, however, what I’ve learned, what’s helped me, is that there are "Do’s and Don'ts" that should be taken away from certain situations that can help strengthen you as you move forward in your life. Those specific moments in your life that either help you, or haunt you. Take your “do’s” and keep them in your heart for safe keeping, that's where your power comes from. Then take your "don'ts" and store them in the back your mind, as a reminder of why you want better but also to be ready to share in case someone you know needs help. Eventually, what you are working towards is to find a use for your past to help push you upward versus weigh you down and slow your progress.
When it comes to people, more than likely, you won’t be able to bring everyone with you to
the “promised land.” Sometimes, no matter how hard you try, there will people in your life who will seem to work harder to hinder your progress, rather than help it. Other times, and more frustrating still, some people, don’t know they are getting in the way of your progress. In these moments, it’s imperative to be honest about what you want, what it takes to get there, and of course, the individuals who will help get you there. Once again, it won’t be everyone.
One side note regarding honesty has to do with coming up with a plan toward goal accomplishment. If you are someone who tends to talk themselves out of things easily. 1)You probably think too much, and 2) any progress is better than no progress, so GET MOVING! Remember, honesty starts from within.
So, at this point we are aware that the journey ahead is difficult and full of danger. We know that we are vulnerable and can only take those that will help carry the load. What next? Well, of course, the not so easy, first step.
The first step toward change will always be the most difficult, but every step after that gets a little easier. There’s a reason why a train is used in the metaphor of “The Little Engine that Could” because once a train’s momentum gets going, it takes a lot to get it stopped. When it comes to making positive change, momentum is the first goal. Getting the train moving and focused on the way ahead.
Much like trains on the move, it takes some time to get started, so there in is one of the first obstacles. There are many others, but this one I can speak to with some confidence. Whatever your goal is, remain patient, and don’t expect results right away. And if you do start seeing immediate results, count your blessings, and keep pushing. Good or bad, keep moving, until, before you know it, you’ve made a total lifestyle change.
In the end, Mindset evolves around two ideas. 1) Does a person believe they are a completed project, or is there room for improvement, 2) does a person believe they are limited by their inherent “gifts,” or do they believe they can enhance those “gifts” and thereby improve their current situation.
I will always be someone who believes each of us are capable of more. Every single one of us has what it takes to create a better version of ourselves if we want it. Without smoke and mirrors, minus the fancy hairstyles, make-up tutorials, colored lenses, etc. But I digress.
It does not come without some hard work and reflection, however. After that, and once our “Little Engine” gets moving; Look out world! Because it's about to be a better place to live!