Oftentimes, when something gains traction, like “mindset,” it becomes a buzzword. Not only that but the meaning of it can get watered down with very vague advice on how it can serve you.
So what’s the true mindset definition? And despite it being at the tip of everyone’s tongue, why is it such a big deal?
Is mindset everything, as the saying goes? No, but it’s the foundation of all things. And getting a good grasp of its true essence can help you navigate through life with purpose and gumption.
What Is Mindset?
Your mindset is a set of beliefs, consciously or not, that plays a significant role in the outcomes of your life. It influences how you think, feel, and meet your needs. In a nutshell, it’s what you believe that impacts how you approach any given situation.
And shifting one’s mindset is what people mean when talking about the Law of Attraction. When you take steps to look at things from a different perspective, your behaviors, actions, and habits shift to match your ethos. You, then, naturally attract new people and new opportunities.
Take Buddy the Elf from the movie Elf, for example. His mindset allows him to see the world as a magical place filled with maple syrup spaghetti and a talking snowman. But it also allows him to attract people who resonate with his spirit. (On the other hand, Walter, his father, views life from an emo state of mind where everything is not as rosy.)
Your mindset can dictate how you view yourself and the world around you, like how Buddy sees his circumstances. But, like Walter, it can also create limiting beliefs.
Why do you adopt a mindset?
Your mindset can predict your success in life, according to psychologist Carol Dweck whose research mainly revolves around “growth mindset” versus “fixed mindset.” It’s an internal voice that keeps you down or lifts you up.
If you have a fixed mindset, you may see failures or setbacks as evidence that you’re not good enough. And what happens as an effect of that? Chances are, you’ll end up feeling stuck in life.
However, when you learn how to have a positive mindset, you choose growth over negativity. Instead of agreeing that you aren’t good enough, you push back.
Take note that your mindset isn’t about what’s true in your life or not. For example, the Covid-19 pandemic was something true and had nothing to do with your perspective. Instead, it’s about what you believe is possible about that situation as well as how you respond to it.
The question is, how does your mindset get to where it is now? What makes it teeter on the side of growth or fixed?
Part of understanding the importance of why you adopt a mindset is how your mindset is formed in the first place.
How is your mindset formed?
There are two main things that shape your mindset:
- Your experiences. It can be positive, like taking a gap year to travel or falling in love. But it can also include the “brules,” the outdated bullsh*t rules that society has taught you to be the path to success, like going to college, getting married, or working a 9-5.
- Your interpretation of those experiences. This is largely based on your personality and mood. For example, if you’re generally one of those happy people and are often in a good mood, you’re going to take away a different meaning of your experiences than if you’re grumpy and moody.
If your beliefs are limiting, then you’ll find blockers hindering you from achieving your life goals. However, when you’ve adopted a growth mindset, you’ll be able to learn new skills to easily overcome obstacles that come your way.
The biggest block in your abundance is not what you do; it’s what you believe.— Christie Marie Sheldon, trainer of Mindvalley’s Unlimited Abundance Quest
Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset
Growth and fixed mindsets are like dark and white chocolate — one is good for you, while the other is detrimental.
So what is a growth mindset, and what is a fixed one? And how does each affect your belief system?
Here’s a compare-and-contrast based on Carol Dweck’s TED Talk:
|Fixed Mindset||Growth Mindset|
|Your potential is limited.||You have limitless potential.|
|You’re born with all the abilities you’ll need in life.||Your abilities can be developed.|
|Failures happen because something is lacking within you.||If you put in enough effort, you can learn anything or require any ability|
|You use conventional thinking.||You think “outside the box.”|
|When something goes wrong, you buckle or run from it.||When something goes wrong, you learn from it to try to correct it.|
|There’s hardly any electrical activity in the brain.||The brain’s electrical activity is “on fire.”|
Let’s take a look at people as an example.
With a fixed mindset, you may think people can’t be trusted or they’re stupid. Reflect on how that perspective will influence your response to them, the challenges you face with them, or the types of relationships you find yourself in.
Now, with a growth mindset, you believe the opposite —people are trustworthy and they’re good. Think about how that is going to influence your experience with them.
The thing is, the aim isn’t to get out of a negative mindset and into a positive one. Rather, it’s about cultivating a healthy mindset that integrates positive thinking and resiliency.
As Dr. Michael Beckwith, trainer of Mindvalley’s Life Visioning Mastery Quest, says, “You have to break your vow to mediocrity.” And the great thing about mindset is you can do just that.
How to Change Your Mindset: 5 Simple Habit Shifts, According to Mindvalley Trainers
Mindset, specifically that of growth, is a very in-demand topic covered by experts on The Mindvalley Podcast. And they’ve got invaluable insights on how to cultivate an unshakeable mind.
So whether you’re stuck in a rut or looking to uplevel, here are five simple habit shifts you can make to help change your mindset, each with a podcast episode to inspire you.
1. Make journaling a daily practice | Patrick Grove
Writing to your mind is like nourishment to the body. It’s known to help with…
- Thinking deeper and analyzing the value of setbacks and loss
- Dissecting thoughts, emotional states, current situations, and past actions
- Promoting self-awareness
- Recognizing and eliminating negative patterns
- Relieving tension and healing emotional trauma
Research, like this 2018 study published in Cambridge University Press, has shown that writing at least 20 minutes a day can boost your mental health. Furthermore, this habit consistently teaches you to be in the moment and acknowledge your feelings.
Listen in: If there’s one person who understands the power of journaling, it’s tech entrepreneur Patrick Grove. Having taken six start-ups to IPO (initial public offering), his professional success is a testament to how writing down his thoughts can help.
“People who write down their goals, and it had been proven, had a far greater, greater chance of achieving their goals as opposed to people who would just think about it,” he explains in this episode of The Mindvalley Podcast. And there’s a secret to how he used journaling to achieve his goal – listen in to find out what it is.
2. Practice positive affirmations | Marisa Peer
Reading “mindset quotes” on Google can only take you so far. What’s even more effective in helping shift the way you think, feel, and meet your needs is through affirmations.
Now, they’re more than just repeating a phrase and hoping that whatever you want — be it more money, romance, healthy relationships, weight loss, a better job, and what have you — will somehow appear out of thin air. (Although, we wouldn’t mind a million dollars alakazam-ing out of nowhere, right?)
Instead, it’s diverting your focus to see the opportunities that are connected with the affirmation.
Here’s an example: Imagine buying a brand new car, like a Volkswagen Beetle. The longer you use the car, the more than likely you start seeing Beetles everywhere.
You see, your brain processes so much information at any given second, so it takes everything you think literally. Then, prepares your emotions and behaviors to appropriately react to the thought. (In the case of the VW Beetle, the reaction would probably be, “Oh, Punch Buggy! No punch backs!”)
Additionally, one study found that affirmations activate the brain’s reward centers. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), they trigger the same centers that respond to other pleasurable experiences, like eating your favorite food.
Listen in: As a world-renowned hypnotherapist who has helped many people with anxiety and feelings of uncertainty, Marisa Peer knows all about using affirmations to strengthen the mind and create true emotional resilience. She, herself, has used it to help her through her cancer journey.
“Your thoughts control your feelings, your feelings control your actions, and your actions control your events,” she says in this podcast episode. And one affirmation she teaches is just three simple words, yet with an impact so powerful: “I am enough.”
3. Reduce stress with the Havening Technique | Paul McKenna
“What people don’t realize is that most of the stress that they have in their lives is absolutely unnecessary,” says Paul McKenna, hypnotist, behavioral scientist, and trainer of Mindvalley’s Everyday Bliss Quest. And being stressed is not a great frame of mind to be in.
That’s where the Havening Technique can help.
Created by Dr. Ronald Ruden, this alternative therapy helps people manage daily stress, be more resilient, and overcome emotional issues associated with traumatic experiences. It uses touch patterns that can help reduce the feeling of unhappiness and stress as well as establish calm relaxation.
Listen in: In this day and age, there’s a need for mental strength and positivity. It’s about creating space for hope, confidence, and the ability to see opportunities.
This episode with Paul focuses on exactly that. He’ll explain how to train your mind to bolster optimism, resilience, confidence, and motivation. That’ll help you become mentally strong so you can respond to challenges in ways that may not have occurred to you before.
4. Follow the 1% rule | Vishen
“Every single day, we have a choice,” says Vishen, founder of Mindvalley. “We can get a tiny bit better or a tiny bit worse.”
That’s the basis of the 1% rule, inspired by James Clear, author of Atomic Habits. And it’s the rule that Vishen and many in the personal growth sector live by.
The idea is this: what if you could improve yourself by 1% every day? That is roughly 20 minutes dedicated to learning something related to personal growth.
And something incredible happens to you when you take the time to acquire new knowledge. It’s called neuroplasticity, the creation of new connections between your brain’s neurons.
According to an article in Frontiers for Young Minds, the more you practice, the stronger your neural connections become. This enables messages (nerve impulses) to transmit faster and more efficiently. And this is how you get better at anything.
Listen in: Procrastination, demotivation, and distractions can put you in a mental slump and hinder a growth mindset. In this short and sweet episode, Vishen shares how you can avoid wasting your time, and a 20-minute morning routine can change your life for the better.
5. Redefine how you show up in your relationships, especially with money | Ken Honda
Stress is obviously not great for your mind. And one of the major sources of it, according to the American Psychological Association, is money. Even a 2021 survey by Capital One reported that 73% of Americans rank finances as the number one strain in their lives.
So it’s time to redefine how you view it. Enter Money EQ — transforming your fear-based relationship with money into one of love.
Money shouldn’t be a burden as many people have been taught to believe. In fact, “money helps you realize your dreams,” says Ken Honda, author of Happy Money and trainer of Mindvalley’s Money EQ Quest.
It’s just a matter of perspective and healing your money wounds. And while money can’t buy happiness, shifting how you show up in your relationship with money can give you a sense of security, stability, and peace.
Listen in: Ken isn’t called the “Zen Millionaire” for nothing. He’s gone and researched how financially successful people get to where they are and stay there.
The secret? Identifying their fundamental beliefs regarding money and shifting it into an attitude of gratitude, appreciation, and joy.
That’s what this podcast episode covers. Not only does Ken teach you how to achieve peace of mind when it comes to your money, but also how to transform the quality of the money flowing in and out of your life.
Awaken Your Unstoppable
You can be the author of your own life. And changing your mindset is a step in the right direction.
You can start at Mindvalley. When you sign in (for free, we might add), you can take a sneak peek at selected personal growth classes, like Marisa Peer’s Rapid Transformational Hypnotherapy for Abundance Quest or Ken Honda’s Money EQ Quest.
That’s not all. You’ll also have access to a vast library of meditations, including Vishen’s famous 6-Phase Meditation. What’s more, you can meet up with like-minded individuals who, too, are looking to cultivate an unshakeable mindset.
Embrace the journey. As Vishen says, “With an open heart and a big smile on your face, embrace every experience life sends your way, whether good or bad. By doing so, no experience will ever be wasted.”