In chapter 1, we discussed how important having a strong growth mindset is to every aspect of both your personal and professional life.
In this chapter, we deepen our understanding of this, and discuss action vs reaction, and how to adapt this into your life.
Mindset. What is it? Well, if you’ve been keeping up to date with our recent articles, you’ll have a good understanding of mindset already, however for anyone new joining us today, here are the basics:
Mindset is a series of self-perceptions or beliefs people hold about themselves and the world around them. Such beliefs determine behaviour, outlook and mental attitude.
You can use mindset to adapt your thoughts to change the outcome of a situation.
Biologically speaking, you control your thoughts, which control your actions.
So by changing your mindset at the source, i.e. the thoughts we have, you are able to divert those thoughts to produce a different action, and control the outcome. Therefore, you are taking control of your life, rather than letting your thoughts control your actions.
Now, there will of course be situations where outcomes are out of your control. For example, a death, or the actions of others.
We can however, change many things in our daily life and the events leading up to such dramatic events, and really help ourselves and the people around us to lead a fuller life. We have the ability to change anything, because although we can’t change the death of a loved one, we can change our reaction to it. By changing this, we are able to avoid more pain, and become adaptable and bullet proof individuals.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering how you can implement this change into your life? Well change can sometimes be difficult to come about, however if you think this will help you, and you truly want to change your behaviours, then you must embrace change.
But it won’t just ‘happen’, you have to do something about it. You are the one in control here, and life doesn’t just happen to you – you make choices. Choices such as changing, growing and progressing.
It takes you to constantly remind yourself to do better, in the moment, before darkness takes control of your emotions, you guide it and tell yourself what to do. The easiest way is to firstly breathe, because it calms your sympathetic nervous system. Because of the biological ‘fright’ or ‘flight’ mode that is triggered by the sympathetic system, in this case, your mind may go ‘numb’ and you may react with emotions (flight), or you don’t react at all (or perhaps a delayed reaction – fright).
By breathing, you allow yourself to think clearly and to clear your mind from those emotions of perhaps anger or upset. They should be deep and calming breaths. Then, remind yourself to think of the desired outcome – what do you really want out of this?
For example: you could be extremely dissatisfied with a piece of work a colleague has done, this colleague has also been slacking off work a little bit, but not enough to really punish them for it. You might want to tell them how poor their work is, and shout at them. But why is this? Because really what you want is for them to fulfil their workload, remain loyal to the company and thrive. You don’t really want to shout at them when you put it like that. It is called a reaction. And this can be a dangerous thing, because if you react with emotions, which we all do very often unfortunately, then we may not be able to resolve the situation you were upset about in the first place.
React with calmness, so that you can action which reason.
When you react with calmness, you diffuse the situation and allow room for reason to handle the situation the best you can, which should lead you to feel satisfied with the results. It’s easy to give up on this, but, you must always remember that you CANNOT change somebody else. You can only control yourself, and therefore you may be left wondering why these little mindset tricks didn’t ‘work’ for you? So you couldn’t change your husband and turn him into a full time cleaner? Read this article again, and then click here for another really helpful and related article which seems like you may need.
So, let’s put this into perspective. In that situation with your colleague, we could have 2 scenarios:
Scenario #1: You react with aggression, and lose your temper with said colleague. They lose all respect for you, along with some by-standing colleagues. They then feel so upset that they take the rest of the day off and later quit their job. (I’m blowing this a little out of proportion on purpose).
Therefore, leaving you with absolutely no work being done for you anymore, overwhelmed because you may have to now take on their work and under pressure from your boss and because you’re now the bad guy and you have to work harder to regain the trust and admiration back.
Now, even though you were right to feel upset towards that situation, because of your raging temper, unfortunately you are stuck looking like the bad guy.
This happens a lot in life. For example with your partner, with friends or family. You could get upset about anything and then if you cause a little too much of a scene, you end up in misery and looking like Cruella De Vil.
So really, arguments boil down to who can appear the calmest, and who can argue with reason and facts. Because the second you appear weaker or too emotional, you’ve lost. It’s psychological.
Scenario #2: You address the situation in a calm manner, after all, everybody deserves the benefit of the doubt. You sit your colleague down and address your concerns. You ask if everything is ok. He tells you that he is having issues with his partner and they are trying to work through something. It’s a difficult time for him. You reach an understanding, after all – he is human! Then he goes on the be the top performer and all is well. Sometimes, we address ‘issues’ or areas of concern with aggression, when we haven’t even heard the other side to the story. We assume things, we think we know all they will have to say, but sometimes, people just need someone that will listen and understand. People have bad days, and sometimes they don’t clean the dishes immediately, or forget something because they’ve been overloaded with work, but it doesn’t mean we should presume that they don’t care.
Sometimes we project our insecurities onto others, in the above examples, maybe you don’t think you work hard enough, and therefore redirect that insecurity onto somebody when they don’t perform to the expectations. Whatever it is that you’re currently in discord with somebody about, try to have a little empathy and understanding, trust that everything will work out for the better and try to place yourself in their shoes.
Finally, remember that something that others find to be a big deal in their lives, might not be to you, and if somebody is upset about something you find silly or insignificant, do not make them feel small about it instead, help them through it. We tend to do this a lot with children, because their problems seem so small to us, because we’ve lived through it, and generally, we know it all works itself out. We tend to devalue the situation, causing children to feel like you don’t care, as though they have nowhere to turn to and unsure of what to do next, even if you do care. So, be understanding, even if you don’t completely understand it yourself.