Shift Your Mindset
Today I will be continuing the 'Unlocking Your Full Potential series! Last week, I talked about the first step, which was all about finding your strengths-- as in the thing you both enjoy and are good at. This can be applied to different aspects of your life, from finding your passion to your love language, and your career.
The second step to unlocking your full potential in life is to Shift Your Mindset.
First, I think it's important to address how much power our mindset has in our lives. A pretty basic example that almost everyone is familiar with is the glass half full vs glass half empty debate. Someone who usually has a positive mindset in life will view a glass as half full and someone with a usually negative mindset will see a glass as half empty.
They're both looking at the same glass, but their mindsets have determined how they interpret it, which in turn will influence their moods. From there it's a chain reaction of allowing our moods to decide if we had a 'good' day or not, which can turn into a 'good' week, then a 'good' month, and so on.
Our mindsets influence our lives more than we probably want to admit.
Now before I go any further, I want to point out that there is a difference between our mindsets and our emotions. While our overall mindset in life can influence our emotions in a positive or negative way, that doesn't mean an optimistic mindset will eliminate us from feeling every negative emotion ever again. We will all have bad days. We will all feel depressed, angry, hopeless, and sad throughout our lives.
It's important to feel those feelings. Trying to ignore them falls under the toxic positivity way of living-- which has the word toxic in it for a reason.
The key is our mindsets will allow us to eventually move on and recover from those emotions (or not.)
So with that said, how do you shift your mindset to unlock your full potential?
I think there are two important mindset shifts we all need to make, and both of them involve some serious self-reflecting.
The first one is how we view failure.
Those who have been reading my blog for a while already know how I feel about failure. And for those who don't or just want a refresher, you can find a more in-depth analysis of how failure can be a good thing in our lives here.
Failure plays a key role in unlocking our full potential; more specifically, how we react to failure influences our overall quality of life.
I've noticed that there seem to be two main types of mindsets surrounding failure. One experiences a failure-- whether that be a messy end to a relationship, an attempt at a dream that didn't work out or something else-- and immediately shuts down. This mindset feeds off the lie that one or two failures means that nothing will ever pan out the way you want it to. It encourages stagnation by saying that there's no point in trying again because clearly you tried once and that was enough. People with this mindset internalize the fact that nothing will go their way, so they stop trying; which in turn leads to them not having the life or career or relationship they want and thus the vicious cycle of this mentality.
I have absolutely fallen into this mentality.
I think a lot of people have.
And sometimes, it's okay to be temporarily knocked out by failure because it can make us step back and reevaluate. But with this broken mindset, we end up staying on the sidelines and never jump back into trying. Speaking from experience, this mindset brings nothing but a fear of trying new things, a fear of messing up and taking risks, and bitterness at seeing other people making progress where you haven't.
If you're stuck in this loop, I understand. Taking risks always brings some vulnerability to it, and it's painful when something doesn't work out. But you shouldn't stay trapped in the hurt.
The second mindset, the one to shift to, is seeing failure for what it is: a learning experience. Nobody, and I do mean nobody, gets things right on the first try. Like seriously, even people with a natural born talent for something still have to work hard to achieve that 'effortless' perfection we envy and compare our own failing attempts to. We all screw up and make mistakes. A small failure is still a failure just as much as a big one, and that's okay, because with every mistake we can see what things worked and what things didn't and go from there.
The people with this mindset that I have met are definitely the types that I would consider to have unlocked their full potential. They also have probably experienced more failures than the average person. And that's actually really cool, because it means they kept putting themselves out there and trying so many different things to reach where they are now.
To unlock your potential with a mindset shift, you have to be willing to mess up, privately or publicly. You have to allow yourself the vulnerability of being imperfect while continuing to try harder when things don't work out. It's the only way to achieve the life you want.
Which brings me to the second mindset shift: What is the life you want?
Before you answer, I don't mean the generic 'to be successful', 'to be loved', 'to have peace', or whatever it is. I mean what do you really want? What are the specifics?
What is success to you? Is it loads of money, multiple houses, fancy cars, and a CEO position?
What is being loved? Is it having hundreds of adoring fans, the partner of your (slightly unrealistic) dreams, and a big family?
Are those the things that you actually want, or is it what you think will finally fill that hole that makes you keep striving and wanting the newest, latest, greatest?
I can't answer these questions for you. But I do encourage you to look at how you define the things you are chasing.
Look at it through the light of what you already do have. And no, this is not an excuse to complain about the things you don't have. It's to see what areas in your life already fulfill the wants you think you need to be truly satisfied.
Can you find that success you're chasing in the 9-5 you already have that provides enough food on the table?
Can you find the same level of love and validation you think you'd get from fame or having hundreds of 'friends' in the one or two real, loyal people that are already in your life?
Can you be at peace in the life you have already with the time and resources you do have, instead of constantly pining for the day when things will settle down?
There is nothing wrong with having goals and dreams and wanting to improve in certain areas of life. But I think we sometimes get so bogged down in chasing after the shiny object saying 'This will truly fulfill you and make you happy' that we forget everything we have now was at one point the thing we wanted. I think shifting our mindsets to the present, seeing that at some level we are already living part of the life that we wanted, will only grow us more as people.
It will simultaneously make us more content and settled while encouraging us to pursue those future dreams even more because our entire state of joy and well-being no longer rests on things we don't have but want.
Life is honestly pretty short. And I don't know about you, but I don't want to reach the end of it to look back and see I spent all of it afraid to try something new or wasting the days away dreaming and envying something I didn't have.
A mindset shift can change how you see and live your life, and unlock the amazing potential already waiting inside you.
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth."-Colossians 3:2