What Is A Good Mindset And Why Is It Important?
Mindset is important in achieving any definition of success, whether it be financial, social, or something else. Having a strong mindset allows you to maximize your chance of achievement and minimize your chance of failure.
One must ask why people employ a negative mindset when approaching the world. Why would someone emphasize all the negative and downplay the positive?
Perhaps they enjoy being a victim. Victim hood allows you to never find out if you really have what it takes. You never have to look at yourself in the mirror and accept the fact that you are imperfect or that you failed. Perhaps they think they are being honest with themselves. Maybe everyone who sees the world as a bright and happy place is actually weaving a grand lie in their brain.
This doesn’t appear to be correct. Studies show that depression causes you to outweigh the negative. In a similar vein, people with bad mindsets have allowed faulty processes to take hold of their brains. These faulty processes, known as cognitive distortions, lead them to illogical conclusions.
But people can eliminate these faulty processes and replace them with ones that pragmatically serve their purposes. Stop being a victim and instead choose to frame the world in a way that benefits you. We wrote a whole post on framing that applies to everything from sales to mental health to manipulation. Read that post.
Choosing to weight certain parts of reality higher than others, which is how a frame is instantiated, isn’t lying to yourself. It is simply choosing to focus your brain on some elements of the world while downplaying others. This is the essence of a good mindset. Below we have included examples of mindsets that can help you reinterpret the solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short life that you might have currently.
- Nervousness is really just an unhelpful interpretation of excitement.
- The obstacle is the way. What stands in the way becomes the way.
- This failure is just a temporary setback.
- Other people succeeding shows that I might some day succeed too.
- Failing just shows me where I need to work harder.
- Challenges are opportunities to prove myself.
- This difficult project will help me improve my stamina and efficiency.
- I can learn anything I set my mind to.
- This person is treating me poorly because I haven’t set or enforced boundaries well enough.
- This person acting in this way is simply giving me more information about how they think.
- I can’t control external things but I can control how I react to them.
- People who are trying to make me afraid are doing this because they want something. Focus on figuring out what they want.
- Yelling people are angry because they feel out played or cornered.
- Life isn’t fair.
- Confidence comes from competence. If I am uncertain or nervous it is because I haven’t prepared or practiced enough.
- Don’t be a victim. What could you have done to prevent the situation from occuring in the first place? If you couldn’t how can you take advantage of a benefit of the situation? If you can’t how can you focus on some other element of your life?
- This is a difficult situation I am enduring. Imagine how many of my competitors are quitting right now. Just sticking with it will move me miles past them.
- I am the prize. I have many options. Why should I choose them?
- What does this behavior teach me about this person?
- You can learn something from everyone. Ask yourself, what can I learn from this person?
- Life doesn’t have any inherent meaning or purpose. I get to choose what I do and what rules I make for myself.
- You are entitled to nothing. You aren’t entitled to friends, money, life, or anything else. Instead of focusing on how you deserve things, focus on how you can learn the scientific process for getting that thing.
- Do material things control you or do you control your material things? For example, does your house payment make you stay at your job you hate?
- Failing is learning.
- Conflict is an investment in preventing worse problems in the future
- I train people on how to treat me based on my boundaries and enforcement of my boundaries.
- People only compete or attack those who they see as valuable.
- Failure means I need to spend more time working on my craft.
- I choose goals where I enjoy the process.
- You are a sculpture. You craft yourself and you choose what room you put yourself in.
Avoid Negative Mindsets, Develop Positive Mindsets
The best way to avoid negative mindsets is to simply read up about the types of irrational thinking that people’s brains regularly engage in. We included a list of common cognitive distortions below. Simply recognize when you have adopted one of these negative mindsets. Recognize that it is irrational and move to step two.
Step two is to recognize what value that negative mindset was trying to fulfill. See this page for more information about what values people have. For example, maybe you were speaking to your boss and she said the company is struggling. From this you started to catastrophize, thinking you were going to get fired and lose your home and have to live on the street. Recognize that this catastrophizing mindset is fulfilling your desire for security. If you can recognize what is happening long before it happens, you can prepare. But you can’t live like this, taking every small comment as a total threat to your life. That is why you move on to step three.
The final step is to apply cognitive restructuring or cognitive reframing. These techniques are used to eliminate cognitive distortions.
Cognitive Restructuring – Restructuring helps your brain attack the distortion directly. Socratic questioning is one of these techniques. Simply ask yourself questions like “could I be misinterpreting the evidence,” “am I basing my thoughts on facts or feelings,” and “is this a realistic conclusion or is another better supported?” Decatastrophizing is the next technique. Simply ask “what is the worst that can happen?”
Cognitive Reframing – Reframing helps you channel the negative event into something smaller or more positive. In other words you reinterpret the events by forming and focusing on a positive part. For example, instead of looking at being late to the bus as a bad thing, you could look at it as a chance to read your book for longer.
If you are interesting in a more thorough but complicated version of this process, check out cognitive restructuring, a tool of CBT therapy that utilizes processes like this.
List Of Negative Mindsets To Avoid
Here is a list of cognitive distortions that disempower you. We’ve gathered all the most common and most important ones but you can also see this page for more.
- Black And White Thinking (You see things in terms of extremes. All good, all bad, all smart, all dumb.
- Overgeneralization (Taking one instance of something and using it as evidence for a whole pattern. I failed this test so I must be a failure.)
- Mental Filter (Ignoring certain pieces of evidence and only remembering the negative ones. First they ignore all the times person X complimented them. Then they say “person x insulted me they must not like me at all.”)
- Disqualifying The Positive (Recognizing positive experiences but minimizing or rejecting them.)
- Mind Reading/Fortune Telling (Jumping to conclusions with insufficient evidence. Interpreting a stranger’s bad expression as them disproving our outfit. Believing you will never find love because you haven’t yet.)
- Minimization/Catastrophizing (Exaggerating or minimizing what something means.)
- Personalization (Taking responsibility for things you have no control or influence over. My friend had a poor interview it must be my fault I fed him a boring breakfast.)
- Emotional Reasoning (Thinking that feeling a certain way about something makes it true.)
- Control Fallacy (Thinking you are a victim and that you can’t control anything.)
- Fallacy Of Change (Expecting people to change.)
- Fairness Fallacy (Thinking the world is fair.)