gray background with blue text: A note on mindset

A Note on “Mindset”

We often hear the word “mindset.” We need to change our mindset. If we change our mindset, then our life will change. Mindset is the key to happiness.

I am not a fan of the word because, firstly, it is way overused, but also, it takes more than changing your mindset to invite growth and expansion.

Your mindset won’t change that real issues hinder us, like systemic racism, the deep-seated patriarchy, and financial and other types of obligations, to name a few. These are not going away just because we changed our mindset.

All that said, I still believe in the power of the mind and changing how you think. Mindset shifts allow us to see opportunities that we might not have with a more negative mindset.

An Example

A positive mindset is like when you think of a car. You decide you want to buy a car and are leaning toward a specific kind. You begin to see that car everywhere. They pass you on the highway, you park next to one in the parking lot, and you see it in your neighborhood.

But seeing that car more readily doesn’t mean all the other cars don’t exist. They are also still passing you on the highway, you’re parking next to them in lots, and there are lots of different cars in your neighborhood.

But because your mind is focused on that particular kind of car, you see that one, and the others fall into the background. It doesn’t mean all those other cars don’t exist. Or that you won’t end up buying one of those cars. And it doesn’t mean one of those other cars won’t crash into you.

That’s kind of like how mindset works. You notice more of what you focus on, which allows you to see opportunities. All the other positive, negative, and neutral things are still out there. They just fall into the background.

That’s why people say you attract what you think because you can see it more readily. Do you attract it? Maybe. But certainly, you notice it more.

Maybe we don’t need a new mindset

Perhaps it is not a change in “mindset” that we should strive for. Maybe a “perception shift” is a better way to approach it. The word “mindset” indicates that we are setting our minds for a certain way of thinking. It is literally the two pieces of the word.

If we set our minds on something, even something positive, we could miss opportunities because we are focused on one particular thing. We have a goal and a plan to achieve that goal, and we don’t think to look around as we go on the journey.

We won’t see all the paths that might be more for us if we stay entirely focused on the path ahead of us. If we look at our shoes, we don’t see all the flowers growing along the path.

Yes, there is a danger of distraction by allowing ourselves to look around. Still, also, there is a danger of becoming stuck in one way of doing something that may not serve us as well as we thought. We don’t have to be trapped on the path. There could be several ways to obtain the same goal – or a slightly different goal that feels like a better fit.

Perception shifts allow space for self-compassion, learning, and growth.

Self-compassion provides the awareness of where you are right now and where you want to be. Being compassionate to yourself means being honest with yourself. We aren’t about sugarcoating the work or the outcome around here. I believe that by knowing where we begin, we are better able to set ourselves up for a more positive outcome because we do not believe it will be easier than it is. Suppose we believe it to be easy, but it comes with several obstacles we must overcome. In that case, we may give up before we barely begin.

Goals, but Different
Goals, but Different is a guide to help you find your own path for creating and working toward goals with self-compassion. This post is a reprint from this ebook.

That is what often happened to me when I began something. I wouldn’t understand the complexities of the journey and just dive in. Sometimes it worked out, but other times (probably most of the time), I gave up as soon as it became hard.

And now, I need to add another caveat because life is not simple. It is beautifully complex and nuanced and paradoxical. Sometimes, it is better to just dive in without thinking about all the crap that could get in the way. (Not all of it is crap, but definitely some of it.)

If we always wait until we understand everything and have everything planned out, we may never do it. We’ll become frozen with indecision, fear, or the complexity of what we want to do.

So, sometimes it is good to know the obstacles beforehand. Sometimes it isn’t. Clear? It will take practice to know when it is more compassionate to make a plan and when to jump into the deep end, holding your nose with your eyes squeezed shut.

I want to hear from you!