There are a few ways you can start identifying your mindset. One is to pay attention to how you react in situations vs. how others react. For example, some people get pretty irritated sitting in traffic whereas others don’t seem to be affected by it. What about a business interaction when someone is being rude or unreasonable? If you pay attention, you’ll see that some people brush it off, others get angry and defensive, and others might shut down and retreat. These behaviors indicate underlying mindset. How would you describe your own reactions and behaviors in contrast to others?
Your mindset affects everything from your emotions to your thinking to your perceptions to your physical health. Added to that, we all operate in cycles: Our body might feel strong in the morning and less energetic in mid- afternoon. Some of us come alive mentally after 8 p.m. where others are ready to call it a day at 3 p.m. We may feel more upbeat in the summer and more introspective in winter.
These ups and downs are natural and each cycle affects another. For example, if you haven’t honored your natural sleep cycle, you may find your thinking is less sharp even at times when it’s normally at its peak. When you are down in the dumps emotionally, you probably feel less energy in your body. It’s a holistic system.
Mindset is the foundation underlying these cycles. A person with a flourishing mindset will have down days but she recognizes them as just part of the cycle. She knows that she is in control of her emotions and reactions and that she can shift her mood. She stays focused on what she wants rather than what doesn’t seem to be working at the moment. She treats the obstacles she bumps into as puzzles to be solved rather than punishment for having made a wrong turn. She is able to ride the waves of the cycle rather than being swept out to sea by it.
Because mindset is so foundational, people sometimes mistakenly believe, “Well, this is just who I am. It’s not going to change.” Mindset is actually a network of decisions and assumptions that become part of your neurology. But it’s not you and it can be changed – if you want to change it.