Motivation

The Mindset Advantage: How Your Mental Frame Affects Your Behavior and Performance

This curated column is authored by Thomas Oppong, Founding Editor at Alltopstartups

Mindset. Is. Everything.

“Whether you think you can or think you can’t — you’re right,” said Henry Ford.

Mindset, coupled with consistent action is the key to achieving and sustaining success.

The mind steers almost everything.

Mahatma Gandhi once observed, “Your beliefs become your thoughts, your thoughts become your words, your words become your actions, your actions become your habits, your habits become your values, your values become your destiny.”

Within research, a “mindset” is defined as “a mental frame or lens that selectively organizes and encodes information, thereby orienting an individual toward a unique way of understanding an experience and guiding one toward corresponding actions and responses”.

Your mindsets (thoughts, beliefs, and expectations) are the lenses through which you perceive the world. And these lenses affect how you live and the choices you make every day.

Carl Jung said “The most important question anyone can ask is: What myth am I living?”

Your mindset is formed by a combined interaction of thoughts and corresponding emotions and images. The mindsets people adopt have everything to do with their judgment of anything.

When you are constantly hearing and repeating stories about “the way things are”, the narrative gets daily reinforcement.

In short, mindsets are 1) what you value and 2) the corresponding choices you make.

Gary Klein, Ph.D., a Senior Scientist at MacroCognition LLC explains:

Mindsets aren’t just any beliefs. They are beliefs that orient our reactions and tendencies. They serve a number of cognitive functions. They let us frame situations: they direct our attention to the most important cues, so that we’re not overwhelmed with information. They suggest sensible goals so that we know what we should be trying to achieve. They prime us with reasonable courses of action so that we don’t have to puzzle out what to do. When our mindsets become habitual, they define who we are, and who we can become.

William James says, “Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create the fact.”

Your state of mind influences your body, and you cannot easily separate the interdependence of mind and body.

Carol S. Dweck, author of “Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success” writes “For twenty years, my research has shown that the view you adopt for yourself profoundly affects the way you lead your life.”

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Think about it: when you get up in the morning and you’re in a bad mood, or worried about something going on in your life, or feeling overwhelmed by work, that translates to your behavior and overall performance.

When you approach the day with positivity and purpose, everything changes. Your lenses or perceptions determine your response in any given situation.

Ralph Waldo Emerson says “What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”

When your emotions and thoughts are habitual, a neural network is formed that regulates your mindset. It literally keeps you in place. The habit becomes effortless over time.

This explains how you can master a habit such as reading, writing, eating healthy, meditation or exercising. Your neural network has the habit in place after much practice and repetition.

The more the same action is performed, the stronger your mindset becomes about that action.

Therefore, when you feel as if you are resistant to change, it is not that you are a weak individual, the strength of your neural network just makes you feel as if you cannot change. However, you can change.

If you are willing to change, then you are going to be able to change your mindset.

What you believe affects what you achieve

“Once your mindset changes, everything on the outside will change along with it.” — Steve Maraboli

Your attitude and your perspectives are part conscious and part unconscious and can be learned, unlearned, programmed and reprogrammed in a variety of different ways.

A simple change of mind can help you become your best self.

Mindsets affect your life expectancy. People with negative mindsets are less likely to proactively engage in healthy behaviors such as eating healthy, exercising, or living in the moment.

The mindsets you have developed over time have serious implications on how you live your life. If you are constantly thinking about everything wrong with your life, you are more likely to be stressed than people who choose to focus on the bright side of life.

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One mindset can flood your system with stress hormones and make you anxious all the time. Another can make you feel confident, happy and cheerful.

Epictetus once said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”

As we go through life, we pick up beliefs that help us navigate the world. These beliefs have very real consequences for our psychology, physiology, behavior, and performance.

It’s up to you to choose your responses in life carefully.

Viktor Frankl says “Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”

You have much more power than ever believed to influence your physical and mental realities.

Your mindset is not fixed. The idea that change is difficult is simply a mindset.

Your mindset is recognized by your body — right down to the genetic level, and the more you improve your mental habits, the more beneficial response you’ll get from your body.

You can’t control what has happened in the past, which shaped the brain you have today, programmed your cells, and caused certain genes to switch on.

But, you do have the power today, right now and going forward to choose your perspective and behavior, which will change your brain, cells, and genes.

Be bold, be willing and you can change your mindset and your life. By using your personal power of responsibility and choice, you can change your mindset and improve how you respond to every situation in life and work.

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