Mindset matters. Everyone knows this who has competed in a sport or simply attempted to complete a long distance run or walk for the sheer self-satisfaction of it. When we begin such efforts we envision the goal we need to achieve, fix it in our minds and commit to it. Few would doubt that envisioning success and telling oneself, “There is no alternative to finishing this marathon,” is far more likely to result in success than telling oneself, “I hope I can finish. We’ll see.”
The fact that most of us agree that mindset matters may seem mundane, but it is actually a miracle. It means that the outcomes of many events are within our control—at least to an extent. We can think ourselves toward success or think ourselves toward failure.
In working with thousands of people to strengthen their outlook, I have learned some specific elements of mindset that can work wonders. If you decide to deploy them today, then I believe you will feel more empowered almost instantly.
1- Remind yourself that you are “merely” a conduit for the intentions of God or the universe.
Your heartfelt creative ideas—whether as an artist or entrepreneur or CEO or teacher—are the product of the entire creative energy of the universe, as received uniquely by you. The way you express these ideas depends on your commitment and strategy. But take a few moments today to simply appreciate the fact that the creative goals you cherish are “meant to happen.” You are feeling and serving an authentic impulse.
2- Remind yourself that the path to success is not a straight line.
It takes unexpected turns. It zigs and zags. It stops short, then starts anew. Focus on your destination, but resolve not to be done in by the inevitable detours. Persistence in the face of adversity is the antidote to anxiety and self-doubt.
3- Remind yourself that the future defines the past, not the other way around.
You can’t judge today’s value or importance or, in many instances, even its positive value or negative impact without data from tomorrow. That’s because what you are living through right now—even if very painful—may well be seen, in retrospect, as the painful part of a triumphant journey. Don’t pre-judge the intentions of God or the Universe. Let the jury “stay out” as to the verdict about whether what you are experiencing is ultimately “worth it.” Remember, the Hebrews wandered the desert for 40 years before arriving at the Promised Land. Their arrival defined those years in the desert as well worth it. And they always were, even when the Hebrews themselves doubted it.
These three elements of mindset are a kind of “kit” that can take you from anxiety toward certainty and from self-doubt toward SELF-reliance (which is synonymous with reliance on Truth, God or the Universe, as you choose).
Dr. Keith Ablow
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