Mindset is everything…what does that even mean!?
A raw (true) story of my mindset journey
“Dad! Dad! What’s wrong with mom!? What’s wrong with mom!?!”, my brother, sister and I shrieked behind my dad. My dad sobbing, yelling “WAKE UP”, violently shaking mom trying to wake her up. The hotdogs left boiling on the stove as EMS wheeled my mom away. This was the last time we would see our mom.
Between the ages of 11 and 12, I lost my mom, my dad was hospitalized for schizophrenia and our childhood home burned down while we were sleeping. While it may sound like something out of a movie, or honestly made up, this was my reality.
As our house burned down, I remember thinking my life is officially over. We were already poor. Now we’re homeless with no toys, no clothes, no mom. Now dad is crazy.
On the flip side though, my life was just beginning. We got to start over. I learned that there are some wonderful people out there that really love me. I formed some of my best friendships. Developmentally, I was forced to grow up, become self reliant, dabble in stoicism.
Both of those realities were true. It was both the best and the worst thing that ever happened to me. Mindset is everything. The story you tell yourself matters.
Fast forward to May of 2022. I am (mis)diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was super scary for our family wondering, “what if?” and I was worried how this might change me. Would this chapter make me weaker?
But then I was reminded that the answer to that question is my decision. So I decided that my story would be one that was empowering. Since then I have never been stronger. I believe it and work every day to make it a reality.
And while these are bigger examples of mindset being the key, mindset is everything for the small things in life as well.
When you get sore from working out, do you think, “This hurts. I can’t move. I did too much. I better take a day off. I’ll get back at it tomorrow…”
Do you think, “Wow, I really pushed it yesterday! Glad to know I’ve still got it. Let’s keep it up because at this rate I am going to be looking good come beach season.”.
This mindset shift makes all the difference in fitness, nutrition, relationships, life events, professional decisions. Literally everything.
Honestly though, rather than thinking “mindset is everything”, a more helpful framework is “the story you tell yourself is everything.” Because we all know stories. And any story has an alternate side to it. Learning to see the side of the story that is most empowering, (and then believing it and working to make it true) is what separates winners from losers.
Telling a better, more helpful story is a super power. The good news is, with a little bit of conscious effort, you can wield it too.
We have the freedom to believe and make true whatever story we will.
Why Mindset is Everything
Take a moment and reflect on your goals. Do you hope to lead a multi-million dollar organization? Perhaps your goal includes completing a triathlon. Does your goal involve finding the secret to happiness? Whatever your goal may be, it is your mindset that will have the most significant impact. Your mind can be a surprisingly robust tool to help you reach your goals. Mindset is everything – but your mindset only leads you toward success if you have the correct perspective.
A negative mindset can keep you from your goals. However, a positive, growth-centered mindset can drive you to new highs. Focus on developing a positive attitude so that you can work toward your life goals. The process isn’t always easy – it can take intentional practice and effort. However, it is an investment into a positive change that you won’t be likely to regret. Mindset is everything because it can motivate you to achieve all your goals.
5 Ways to Develop Your Mindset
There are a handful of exceptionally effective methods to develop your mindset. Though effective, you must put in the work to achieve the desired results. For most people, work requires motivation. Motivation and mindset have an interesting relationship; you have to find the motivation to develop a strong positive mindset, yet motivation is a part of mindset.
A positive mindset can motivate you to work hard and accomplish your goals. Alternatively, great motivation can drive you to develop a positive mindset. While it seems complex, several resources can help you to become more motivated and develop your mindset simultaneously.
1. Reading Books
Gathering knowledge from experts is an ideal way to start developing your mindset. Psychology professionals and thought leaders have studied and shared vital information to help others grow. Remember to read and apply the information you accumulate. Knowledge without action is an ineffective growth plan.
A quick Google search will reveal more books than you could possibly read! Here are a few valuable books to get you started:
As a Man Thinketh is approximately 120 years old and still provides valuable lessons on mindset. James Allen depicted how thoughts make the man – a person with miserable thoughts is sad, and a person with good thoughts is a positive person. Allow Allen to reinforce the idea that mindset is everything.
Another great resource is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz. In this classic self-help book, Ruiz describes the most significant self-limiting thoughts that keep people from happy lives. Within the book, the author shares four agreements to make that put a stop to self-limitation.
Can’t Hurt Me by David Goggins is a nonfiction work about the author himself. With a complicated and painful past, Goggins had every excuse to let life bring him down. Instead, he used mental fortitude to reach his full potential. He recounts his experience to readers as a lesson in reaching their fullest potential with the power of the mind. Finally, check out Mindset by Carol Dweck, a psychologist who studied the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset. Dweck revealed that our thoughts about our talents could impact our achievements. Mindset is everything – and this book describes what it can do for you.
2. Listening to Podcasts
Podcasts are another excellent resource for developing your mindset. Even if you live a busy life, you can listen to a podcast while driving, doing dishes, or working out. Check out these podcasts as a starting point:
Tony Robbins Podcast. No matter your personal feelings about Tony Robbins, he is a known authority in leadership and business. As such, motivation is his jam! Listen to this recent episode on the power of meditation for your mindset – you won’t be disappointed.
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris. Do you scrunch up your nose at meditation? It’s a common reaction for those that have never tried it! The same could be said for Dan Harris, a formerly open skeptic about meditation. His world changed when he had a panic attack on national television, pushing him to uncover a route to change. In a recent episode, Dan discusses why some might struggle to hit the off switch on thoughts during meditation and how to change course from negative thinking to something more positive.
The Mindset Mentor with Rob Dial. Mindset is everything – and Rob Dial will undoubtedly convince you with more than 1000 episodes on the topic. This podcast is for you if you’re seeking a little motivation or direction in life. You can check out a recent episode on making minor changes to create real change here.
Putting thoughts to paper can be more than just a cathartic experience. In fact, experts have determined that journaling allows you to understand yourself better and remove existing mental blocks. Journaling also helps people to gain a greater understanding of others. How does this work?
Pure honesty in journaling is the idea behind a changed mindset. Journaling about gratitude, goals, or simply tracking daily highs and lows can provide insight into your real life. Having that consistent knowledge about your real world can give your mindset a focus point. A focus point is vital because, as you may have guessed: mindset is everything.
Consider a realistic example of gratitude journaling. Your day was difficult. A stranger bumped into you on the sidewalk and splashed your $6 coffee on your new white shirt.
To make matters worse, you stumbled through a presentation at work and lost a potential client. When you finally got to the gym to work off negative energy, it was packed, and you couldn’t get to your favorite machine. What a terrible day!
When journaling that evening, you may note how grateful you were that your spouse brought you a clean shirt to work. Maybe you ended up incredibly grateful for the experience with the potential client – you have something to work toward and improve. You could have also listed how grateful you were to be forced to try out a new machine. Searching for the good things at the end of a difficult day can help put things in perspective. It encourages a positive attitude. A positive mindset is everything!
4. Change Your Environment
Since your mindset is everything, it can take a lot of effort to make a real change. That change can involve your environment. We have talked about this style of change before in our tips for running motivation but we’re sharing again because it’s so good in our opinon.
Anything that is consistently negative in your life and environment can poorly impact your mindset. Think about your daily or weekly routine. Which aspects bring about negativity? Often, negative friendships or bad habits that bring negative self-talk need correcting or complete removal.
Evaluate your existing relationships and determine how they add to your life. If any relationships fail to bring you positivity or constantly bring you down, it may be a good idea to distance yourself from them. Don’t sacrifice your positive mindset for someone else’s negativity!
Do you have any bad habits that you beat yourself up over? Maybe you overeat a lot. Or, you might fall asleep at night before brushing your teeth. Your lousy habit might even be negative self-talk. In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear indicates that a great way to change a habit is to change your environment.
If you overeat while watching TV, don’t eat in the living room. When you fail to brush your teeth before bed, don’t get in your bed until you’re ready to sleep. To reduce negative self-talk, add positivity to your environment by strategically placing post-it notes describing your best qualities.
Change your environment, and you may see your mindset improving daily. Whether you join a local gym, spend less time with a negative friend, or add joy to your space, the change will work wonders for your mental status. Remember, mindset is everything!
5. Challenge Yourself
Since mindset is everything, don’t expect its development to be a simple step-by-step process. Changing your mindset is genuinely challenging and complex work. However, because of the challenge, it can be gratifying. Creating challenges for yourself is a great way to develop your mindset.
If you struggle with negative thoughts, aim to list five nice things about yourself for each negative self-talk instance. Or, you might challenge yourself to write down three things you did right today. You might even do a month-long social media challenge where you post something positive about yourself daily. Come up with a challenge and meet it!You can do the same for meeting mindset goals. What do you envision for your mindset? The ability to find the good in every situation? Maybe you want to discover something to learn from every mistake. Get creative and write down a challenge to help you meet your goals.
You may now share the opinion that mindset is everything. Your mind is a powerful tool that you should utilize for your success. Whether reaching new workout goals or making it through a trying time, your mental attitude is essential to the outcome. Work hard to develop your mindset, and you may discover that you have the tools within you to achieve your fitness and life goals. Mindset is everything!