How to Build an Empowering Mindset: 10 Important Ideas

 A mindset is just habits of thought – all the habits you have to date have been trained throughout your life. You’ve internalised voices from the influences around you (from your family, friends, the media) since childhood. And you continue to train them because you’re always talking to yourself.

Your mindset determines what decisions you make and what actions you take. Since we all have things that we’d like to do and since these all require action on our part, the task is to cultivate a mindset that inspires us towards action. 

This is a case of building new and more empowering habits of thought. You must first accept that responsibility as it’s the best strategy you have for actually doing the things you’d like to do.

Here are ten different ideas which can be used to inspire more action towards your goals and create a more enjoyable experience in the process.

1. Reality

  • See your reality as being a unique (subjective) view.
    • This is based on the influences/experiences you’ve had in your life.
    • Understand changing your reality as a process of finding new influences/experiences.
    • Allows you to look at your thoughts more objectively.
      • You become less attached to them, recognising that they are a result of your experiences – many of which were outside of your control.
    • Allows you to be more compassionate towards yourself and others.
      • Other people are the way they are because of the experiences they’ve had; you’ve arrived at the place you’re in because of the experiences you’ve had.

2. Awareness

  • Recognise that change stems from awareness.
    • We cannot change patterns of thought or patterns of behaviour without first identifying them.
      • Using a journal is one way to become more reflective and identify these patterns.
      • Meditation is another tool to enhance self-awareness as it is a time to watch and observe our thoughts.

3. Growth

  • See your traits as being capable of development (the growth mindset).
    • The precursor to growth is the belief that it’s possible.
    • Reframe ‘I can’t do x’ as “I can’t do x yet.”
    • Focus on your trajectory, rather than where you’re currently at.
      • Allows you to be more patient as you stop looking for immediate results, recognising they’ll come with time.
    • See the value in setting goals.
      • Forces you to actually consider what it is you’d like to achieve.
      • Gives you a sense of purpose/a direction you’d like to move in.

4. Challenge

  • Recognise growth as a (nonlinear) process.
    • See backsliding/making mistakes as an inevitable part of the process.
    • See knowledge acquisition as a process of learning and relearning.
      • Write things down to help to solidify ideas in your memory.
    • Frame adversity in a way where you’re still likely to take action (antifragility).
      • Develop grit, perseverance by reframing challenge as something to grow/learn from.
      • Failure itself is a critical component of success.
        • If you don’t risk anything, you risk even more.

5. Perfection

  • Recognise perfection as an impossible destination.
    • You will take more action if you’re willing to do it ‘less than perfectly’.
      • See the value in a small step; do whatever you can do right now.
      • Forces you to be humble and strategic.
    • See progress/learning as an iterative process.
      • Time is not wasted, it allows you to learn unique lessons which you wouldn’t have otherwise.
      • Try, then course-correct.

6. Consistency

  • Recognise consistency as the most important factor in making progress.
    • Focus on sustainable effort (what you can do consistently).
      • Ties into perfectionism: don’t bite off more than you can chew.
      • Ties into iteration: start with something then as you learn more you can make adjustments. 
    • Trust the process.
      • As you grow you’ll be able to take on more at once, but it’s better to walk before you can run.
    • 80/20 rule.
      • Be strategic in deciding where to be consistent.
        • Look for which ‘20%’ will give you the largest return on your time.
        • Use the internet/hear from others to help inform this.
    • Environment design: do whatever you can to make doing the right things (that 20%) easier.

7. Balance

  • Recognise balance as key for long-term consistency.
    • Less is sometimes more. Try and do too much at once, expect to then need to recover or default back to old patterns of behaviour.
    • You’re human – don’t hold yourself to unhealthy expectations.
    • If you prioritize things that will help with long-term consistency, your entire approach will be more balanced (e.g. gym + stretching).
    • Focus on quality over quantity.

8. Learning

  • See continuous learning as a way to develop your interests and unique insight.
    • Continuous learning will allow you to develop passion and purpose.
      • Having passion/a clear purpose will make it easier to prioritize your time; It will require less thought.
    • Recognise there are no right answers, just different ideas.
      • Reminds you to continuously question your own assumptions.
    • Develop/broaden your perspective by listening to others.
      • Makes you more open-minded and willing to try new things.
    • See everything as interconnected; always be looking for links.
      • Creativity is the process of finding novel links between existing ideas.

9. Acceptance

  • Recognise that a lot of things lie outside of your control.
    • Focus on things you can influence vs needlessly fixating on things you can’t.
      • Allows you to practice acceptance and spend less time worrying.
    • Make a point to focus on the process (in your control) and not just the outcome (partly within your control).

10. Presence

  • Recognise that you only ever experience life ‘in the now’.
    • You can’t experience the future or the past; you can imagine the future or remember the past but you can only experience this moment right now.
      • This serves as an important balance to the act of striving.
        • Prevents you from ‘arrival fallacy’ thinking – ‘I’ll be happy when x’.
    • Recognise gratitude as being key for your wellbeing.
      • Allows you to take action from a place of inspiration.
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