It is often said the key to winning any battle begins in the mind, and this mantra holds true for whatever battle, personal or otherwise, you may face. The proper mindset can predetermine an outcome, regardless of preparation, training, or resources backing you. It’s what gives elite athletes, performers, artists, speakers, and leaders the advantage over the rest of the population, the winning mindset.
Here are the top 10 mindsets people develop which hinder success, stall progress, and prevent attainment of true potential.
- Not Smart Enough Mindset – We’ve all heard somebody exhibit this mindset, statements like “If only I knew how to program, I could develop that website I want”, “I’d be much more successful if I knew how to speak in front of people”, “I could expand my business into South America, but I don’t speak Spanish.” Every master was once a beginner, every icon a novice, every celebrity an unknown. Lack of knowledge is a terrible excuse to not achieve a goal or dream, for we are all capable of learning, expanding our skillset, and getting better at something, whatever it may be that you’re lacking. Many people become trapped in this mindset, when all it takes is a little effort, especially in today’s world of online learning, videos, and articles. Every time an appliance breaks in my house I immediately google the symptoms and, most of the time, learn how to fix it, saving repair costs. Knowledge has never been so within our grasp, we just need to grasp the mindset of Learning.
- It’s Already Been Done Mindset – Can you imagine if after the very first burger restaurant opened, every other person in the world thought, “Well that’s been done, no point in pursuing that now!” There would be one burger chain across the globe selling the same burger every day, every location, with no other options. Luckily, that mindset is not shared by the numerous success stories of successful burger chains worldwide. Yet, too many people fail to act upon a dream, a passion, because it already exists. Take a look at Netflix. When they started up there were already video chains across America, Blockbuster being the dominant one, but Netflix looked at renting movies differently, first by mail order, then online. We all know which one still exists and is a massive success. What about Uber? Using the “It’s Already Been Done” mindset, the creators would have never pursued their dream, I mean why bother, taxis exist! Who cares if it already exists, make it bigger, better, more efficient, different! Forget this negative mindset and embrace the mindset of Innovation.
- I Don’t Have the Time Mindset – This is the most common inhibitive mindset people latch onto worldwide. We’ve all heard it from others, we’ve all said it or thought it, so often we use it as a “go to” excuse whenever we need to justify to ourselves why we aren’t meeting a goal. Face it, you have the exact same number of hours in each day as Bill Gates, Elon Musk, and Mark Zuckerberg. Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein, and Steve Jobs, all had the same number of hours each day as you do. Add up all the minutes each day you are on your smart device, watching tv, surfing the web, sitting in a movie, a bar, or a coffee shop. All these minutes are “free time” you are utilizing. Now, don’t get me wrong, we all need “free time” to zone out, to relax, to socialize, etc., but, it is just that, “free time”, it’s just a matter of how and what you use it for. Lose the not having any time mindset and adopt the mindset of Prioritization.
- Fear Mindset – In my book on Warrior Leadership, I discuss fear and bravery extensively, emphasizing that fear is just an illusion of mind, deviating from the present moment to dream up “what if”, and “maybe” scenarios of worse case outcome. I have personally witnessed a fear of performing in front of people prevent an amazing guitarist from ever achieving his true potential, never showing the world how incredible a musician he is. It truly is heartbreaking to see talented individuals never achieve their dreams due to Illusions of the mind. Learn to live with fear, overcoming its chains of doubt, learning to conquer the illusions the mind can dwell on. Overcome this mindset and develop the mindset of Courage.
- Negative Mindset – Negativity is a poison that destroys happiness, progress, enthusiasm, and success. Have you ever witnessed a negative person in a happy mood? Finding the negative in any situation, person, or event is easy to achieve if you have a negative mindset, for what the mind dwells on it will easily find in every circumstance. The funny thing is, the same applies to a positive mindset. If you focus on the positive things, dwelling on what went right each day, you will easily discover positive aspects in every situation and environment you encounter. Dump the negative mindset and make a conscious effort to focus on the mindset of Positivity.
- Opinions Matter Mindset – If you live life trying to appease everybody you’re in for a life of disappointments and letdowns. Individuality ensures we are all different, including what we think of a person, an idea, or a situation. You have as much chance of pleasing everyone as catching every raindrop in a thunderstorm. Opinions are one person’s perspective, not everybody’s perspective. The only person you should be trying actively to please is you! If you’re meeting your goals, living up to your own expectations and succeeding in “your” opinion, everything else is chatter. Forget the opinions of others mindset and instead live life to the mindset of Personal Contentment.
- Perfection Mindset – Perfection is the biggest lie taught to people, a goal you will never meet, and one of the greatest impediments to success. There is no such thing as perfection. Don’t believe me? Analyze any one thing in your life, any skill, any talent you possess and honestly tell me there will be a point in time where there is zero room for improvement? Not even a micro amount of improvement? Of course there is, every master knows it, every icon understands it, and only the great live life not chasing perfection. What the master, the great and the iconic strive to achieve is improvement, every day, every week, month and year. That is how we evolve, grow and gain strength, how the mediocre progress to greatness. Stop chasing the infinite race towards perfection and adopt the mindset of Improvement.
- Failure Mindset – Ask 10 people who aren’t achieving their dreams and chances are at least 8 of them will mention they are afraid of failing. Why are we so adverse to failure? Is it a carry over of being ridiculed as kids when we’d lose a race, say something stupid, or face plant when trying a new trick on our new shiny bikes? Possibly, but we’re no longer kids, and we need to truly analyze what failure is, an attempt at achieving something we want that has some hiccups to be ironed out. That’s it in a nutshell, for if we embrace failure as a learning moment, of determining what we need to tweak next time, as a means of getting better, stronger, and successful, then failure can be quite enlightening and beneficial in our lives. As we always say in martial arts, “I don’t lose, I either win or I learn.” Although this mindset of failure, when looked at negatively can be inhibitive, in this case, adjust your thinking and embrace the mindset of Failure as it should be adopted, a moment of Learning and getting better, of achieving goals.
- Complacent Mindset – Remember my story about Blockbuster in point number 2, Its Already Been Done Mindset? A perfect example of complacency, of never evolving and adapting. They were content to keep renting DVD’s from their store outlets, while Netflix adopted the mail order DVD delivery, then evolved with streaming to provide online movies and shows, and are now moving full steam ahead with their own movies and shows, unique to Netflix. They continue to adapt, to evolve, to not remain complacent. Apple does the same thing, they don’t put out one version of the IPhone and sit back for 5 years based on the same model. To do so would be corporate suicide. If the great companies, the successes of the world, never remain complacent, why are you satisfied with the status quo? Break out of your shell, don’t accept the way it has always been done, ask yourself why, what can be done differently, better, more effectively. That is how greatness is achieved. Lose complacency and latch onto the mindset of Evolution.
- Unaware Mindset – Take 5 minutes at a busy shopping mall, or a busy street corner downtown, and it doesn’t take long to see hundreds of people engrossed in their phones and/or listening to music through headphones, oblivious to the world around them. Myself and a few other martial arts friends had a discussion on this back some time ago, and we all agreed, this has to be the easiest time for a criminal to rob, assault or attack someone, for people are so absorbed by distraction, they’d never see it coming. Not only are people unaware of their surroundings and environment, so many fail to become self-aware, aware of their emotions, fears, passions, or even aware of the present moment, instead occupied by the past or future, never present fully in the here and now. To know oneself is to know one’s strengths, weaknesses, passions, dreams and goals, to understand your purpose and what inspires you. The mindset of unawareness, of distraction and disassociation with oneself is counter-productive to achieving your dreams. Learn about yourself, become aware, live in the present moment devoid of distraction and chatter, embrace the mindset of Self-Awareness.
In my book on Warrior Leadership, I titled the first section in my Chapter on Awareness of the Triadic Concept of Mind, as “It All begins in the Mind”, and I refer to a quote I once heard, “What the mind can perceive, you can achieve.” However, that quote is only true if you practice and live with the proper mindsets, those of positivity, awareness, belief in oneself, and an unweathering indomitable spirit, unbroken by opinions, naysayers, or factors external to your own confidence in what you desire to achieve. With a great mindset there are no limits, only better versions of ourselves to attain on our way to success. (Copyright 2018, Kerry Brown)
Kerry is a Leadership Specialist, a Professional Engineer, Leader, Author, and dedicated Martial Artist. He has amalgamated his corporate leadership knowledge with his martial arts training, to produce his own style of Warrior Leadership, where Development of Mind, Body, and Spirit are amalgamated and transcended. His book, “Warrior Leadership – A Transformation of Mind, Body & Spirit for Everyday Life and the Workplace” is available worldwide on Amazon. He is available for speaking engagements, seminars, workshops and personal coaching.
Be sure to follow him on Twitter @KerryKBrown for tweets on Warrior Leadership.