‘She dumped me like a hot potato, I am a worthless creature.’, ‘Ok she did dump out of nowhere, maybe I am meant to be with someone better.’; ‘I failed in my last two business ventures, maybe business is not my cup of tea and I should aim low’, ‘I failed twelve times doing business and I couldn’t be happier as I learned so much over the time, I just simply have to right the wrong and fill up the gaps and I will be good to go.’ Now, if you noticed, they are just a couple of examples of contrasting mindsets in the same situation.
Your mindset dictates how you wanna comprehend your external situation. That’s why you must have noticed among your circle that two people going into the same situation but coming out with totally different outcomes. Perhaps, it’s time some light is shed on how to change your mindset to live a better life.
We have narrowed our minds into one-way tunnels which were actually meant to be at least a 112 lane highway. And since we have limited our horizon, crawling through the same path over and over again, we reach a dead-end and become completely oblivious to the fact that there are 112 other paths to choose from.
But due to our habit, our addiction, our love for treading on the same path again and again we often fall right on our face. And still, we don’t budge. Even if that path has a million holes in it and a bazillion accidents have been already reported, we don’t give a damn. We are gonna keep doing that because that’s what is engraved in our minds right from our childhood through society, friends, and families.
And that’s where a slight change in your mindset works wonders. It essentially plucks off the blinders you have put on, intentionally and unintentionally, and allows you to beautifully realize what an ass you were for following such a bumpy, uneven, and rough path when there was a super new, well-furnished, and maintained lane built right next to it, all this time.
Desires and Fears
If you look around yourself, 99% of people including your family, relatives, friends, and society are acting based on their unlimited and never-ending stream of desires or the chilling and haunting fears. And chances are if you don’t change your mindset sooner than later you are also gonna live a life similar to the people around you, amounting to a tired, boring, and dull life.
So, the first step in changing your mindset involves whether you are ok with the status quo or not. If you are ok with that, then none of this matters, but if you are not, then that’s the beginning of you starting to diverge into a new arena, a new thought process.
The old conventional mindset might fetch you with materialistic things on the outside, but if your mind is still restless and overburdened with the countless desires it keeps running after or the fears that keep you on the edge, then it’s all a sham. It’s because of this only that we can’t keep our focus intact on one particular thing.
The Right Mindset to Achieve Excellence
Nobody’s working for the sake of working anymore. They are just blindly running in a race in anticipation of what they think they are gonna get once they do x,y,z things.
Whoever is on the path of working just to ‘get things(name, fame, money)’ is miserable or gonna become miserable. Because on this path, less is less and even more is less. No matter where you find yourself, you will always long for more and would never be truly satisfied with what you have. There’s no ‘real happiness’ on this treacherous path, and the best way to change paths is to change your mindset.
Your desires are not even original. You simply saw a few movies, read a few novels, skimmed through a few magazines, observed some people around you, watched a few videos, and formed baseless desires to acquire materialistic objects. Imagine what’s gonna happen if you can cut them loose, for good?
What if you are okay with the idea of living a modest life with only resources that are ‘needed’ instead of feeling impulsive all the time to fill that infinite void you created in yourself? If you become okay with it, then that’s when you will do whatever you are gonna do out of pure love and passion for your work.
There will be no ulterior motives behind your action except being great at whatever you put your hands on. Only then will the driving force in your life will be pure real love, which is a prerequisite to achieving excellence in any and every kind of work. Do you currently love your work as much as you love your family?
If not, then what are you waiting for? Start today and figure out what you really want to do. Instead, first figure out what you don’t wanna do at all, one of which can be “to not live like everyone else around me is living.” And that’s where the fun lies, where there is a sense of uncertainty, thrill, and adventure. If your entire life path is already carved out for you before you are even born, then where’s the fun in that? Guarantees are overrated. So, don’t settle.
The Whole Fuss About Negative Thoughts
Many people live in this fantasy world that they shouldn’t have any negative thoughts, ever. And it’s their own mindset only that has led them to believe that having negative thoughts is somehow making them a less holy person. You gotta change this mindset. There is nobody on God’s green earth, I don’t care if you are a Mother Teresa or a Dalai Lama, who can say that he doesn’t have negative thoughts. It’s simply not in your control. Don’t make a big deal out of it.
Negative Thoughts are like meteors, you can’t stop them from invading your mind. The faster you accept this, the better off you will be and the more prepared you can be to alleviate the potential damages. Expecting that you don’t get to see any negative thoughts whatsoever is like expecting that when you look at the rainbow, you don’t get to see the color violet. That ain’t possible now, is it? Either you see all of it or none of it. Similarly, what you are basically asking for is that you just get to see all the positive stuff and not the negative ones. This mindset needs to go.
You will see whatever it is in front of you, as it is. Your eyes don’t differentiate between the good and the bad, they just see everything under the same light. Furthermore, your eyes through which you see, your ears through which you hear, and your mind where all your memories are stored—they don’t get affected by the nature of the content they are consuming.
If you look at a disgusting sewer line, which is emanating a really foul smell, then your eyes aren’t gonna deteriorate their sight somehow and neither is your nose gonna start smelling things differently. Your mind too will take this as a piece of information only without any partiality or prejudice. The point being, the brain doesn’t get any better or worse when it comes to contact with something insanely good or gruesomely bad. Its job is to simply facilitate the signal to you.
And when you change your mindset to this, then any kind of negative thought that might suddenly pop up in your head loses its power and becomes harmless. You don’t have to superficially accept it just because I am saying so. Unless you accept it wholeheartedly and see through it for yourself, it won’t matter.
If you can actually say to yourself, “Doesn’t matter if it’s the worst thought of the century or the best thought of the millennium; if it’s the best feeling in the world or the worst feeling in the world, I am above it and they can’t really touch me”, then that’s a killer mindset to adapt. So, don’t make a big fuss about it, relax.
Some Things Can’t be Changed
While I am all in for changing things for the better where you have the power to, there are some things in life that you can’t really do anything about, like your past. You cannot change, amend, or alter your past.
Some people say that you can forget your past, but that’s a load of crap. How can you forget your past? Can you ever really forget the time you broke up? Do you forget about the time you failed spectacularly? Or all the times you embarrassed yourself in front of everyone? Well, as long as you don’t have amnesia or any other kind of memory loss, you can’t just expect to forget about your past. It’s really naive and immature to go with the ‘forgetful trick’.
It’s exactly like saying your eyes are looking at two people, one is who you like, and the other you don’t, so forget about the other person. Yeah, you can’t goddammit! It’s right in front of your eyes. In fact the harder you try to forget about it, the more it is gonna pester you.
Let’s say you out of the blue lost someone you really loved. Then what are you gonna do? You can’t forget it as the memory will always be there. You can’t get rid of it no matter how hard you try and neither you can try to run away from it as it will be totally futile. The more you try to deny the situation, the more it will rattle you.
You have to change your mindset here. Instead of agonizing your existing demons in you to further aggravate the underlying situation, you gotta befriend your demon, accept it wholeheartedly that you can’t change it, and move on. And in no time, your demons will become your angels if you start looking at things this way. Interestingly, when you adopt this, you can however change the underlying meaning of the past and look at your past under a new shade.
Combating Negative Thoughts
Now, having said all of that, it doesn’t mean that you can’t do anything about those blood-sucking negative thoughts ever. There surely are times when you gotta transform your mindset into a solution-oriented one to combat the enemy.
Let’s say you are a host to a couple of negative thoughts associated with the present situation which you can find a solution to, then it would be stupid to simply sit hand in hand and letting it pester the shit out of you. You gotta change your mindset there, and act full throttle to change the situation. At times, simply giving in to the situation, turning a blind eye to the excruciating problem, and just assuming that everything will eventually be all right, can cause you more harm than good.
If your career is threatened, your relationship is toxic and abusive in nature, your health is in ruins; then in such instances, negative thoughts are actually a blessing in disguise. They are telling you to move your lazy ass and act as soon as possible before the whole situation becomes a whole lot shittier for you than before.
Knowing the difference between when to act and when to just accept things the way they are and move on is indeed a superpower. It’d be cruel not to mention the serenity prayer at the opportune moment, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can’t change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
You are Like a Mirror
Just before I gave you the example of how our senses just show us things as it is without any filter. Come to think of it, we act as mirrors. Our minds simply show us what’s out there, untouched and unfiltered. Now, is there any mirror in the world that shows just the happy positive stuff and neglects the cold hard truths? (Even if there is, it’d be a pretty shitty one.)
It is simply not possible. If you hold a mirror in front of a big pile of waste, then it’s not gonna reflect all flowers and honey.
And the specialty of us as a mirror is that we are not just seeing things out there, we are recording it too. So, whatever you have seen so far, good or bad, positive or negative, it’s all getting stored in you and there’s nothing you can do about it. Even the recording is being played again and again in the mirror. So, stop trying to act like an armor that shouldn’t have any chinks. If anything, you are gonna have a load of them and that’s great.
You were, are, and will remain Imperfect(And it’s ok)
If it’s a bit too much, then simply take it this way: There is nobody on the planet who’s perfect, so it’s perfectly ok if you are also imperfect. The world is far from perfect and is likely to remain that way, and it’s perfectly ok as well.
You need to change the mindset of being ‘right’ all the time, of taking the ‘right’ decision all the time, and start accepting that “yes I am a human and it’s perfectly fine to screw up every once in a while.” The moment you become perfectly good with the imperfectness of the world, your inner world, ironically, becomes perfect. And that’s the whole reason for wanting to change your mindset. Now, you don’t have to live with the burden of being wrong or disappointing yourself.
“I made mistakes in the past, I am likely making mistakes as of this very moment, and I am gonna be making them as long as I am revolving around the sun. There were imperfections in me and there will always remain some kind of imperfections. But I am not alone, this is simply how the world is, so it’s all right.”
The minute you say this to yourself to change your mindset, you are in the clear. Though this doesn’t mean that you become complicit with making mistakes and even worse, keep on repeating the same mistakes again and again. That’s foolish. The whole motive is to bring down your monumental expectations and become realistic.
Make Better Mistakes Than Before
You should raise the standard of your mistakes and make better mistakes than before. Learn from your past mistakes, grow from them, improve yourself, and go make a better mistake, a new mistake, an ingenious mistake, a ‘never done before’ mistake.
That’s the key to achieving excellence. It’s like climbing two steps up and falling one step down. As long as you keep the ratio intact, you are going up in the long run. Making the same mistake, again and again, is like falling from the same step, again and again, placing your foot on the exact spot where there is a banana peel and slipping by. That’s the definition of sheer insanity.
The even worse situation to be in is when you are saying to yourself that “I shouldn’t have made that mistake, or I don’t wanna remember that past mistake I made that cost me blah blah blah.” Your mind cum mirror is gonna show you exactly what you ask for, and by thinking and berating yourself over a mistake you made, you are simply making things tough and cumbersome.
Feeling Bad About Your Mistakes is Okay
That’s again a shift to your current mindset. Just because I said that making mistakes is nothing to be ashamed of, people assume that they would become impervious and won’t feel anything. Of course not guys. We are humans, not robots.
If you make a mistake for which you have to incur any kind of loss, then it’s a no-brainer that you are not gonna feel like being on top of the world. In all probability, it’s gonna suck, and it’s supposed to suck.
Putting your hand in a fire, and getting burned, and indirectly inflicting pain upon yourself is all part of it. If you don’t scream, feel the agony, and are not totally scared from ever putting your hand in the fire again, then how are you gonna ever learn that it’s not really in your best interest to play with fire?
So, you see it’s all a part of it which is actually for the greater good of you only. But since our mindset is still busy whining about the fact that we got burned, we can’t grasp the deeper meaning of what it’s trying to teach us. And that’s precisely why we need to change our mindset pretty badly.
But, Why Do I Feel Stressed out?
Boy, I feel you. Now, try to feel me. You don’t get stressed because of the incoming stream of negative thoughts. You get stressed because of your orthodox and rusty mindset which is telling you to feel stressed because you are surrounded by negative thoughts.
This is the part where you change your mindset and listen to what I have to say wholeheartedly. There are two things in play that are gonna decide your mental status. One is the thought, and the other is thinking.
You have to understand that a ‘thought’ alone can’t do anything substantial to you, irrespective of whether it’s positive or negative, good or bad. A simple thought that ‘I am gonna be ultra successful’ won’t even move a feather, and neither the thought ‘I am sooo doomed to failure’ will guarantee your downfall.
It’s what happens afterward that actually decides what’s in the store for you. ‘Thinking’, which is simply a chain of ‘thought’ linked to each other, is what really matters and worth paying attention to.
Thought VS Thinking
Extending the previous analogy, thought is like taking a step in any direction and thinking is starting to walk in a particular direction. As it is profoundly clear by itself that simply taking a step in any direction isn’t gonna matter, at all. But slowly treading towards a particular path continuously, that’s what makes all the difference in the world.
So, don’t beat yourself up for some random negative thought that pops out of nowhere. It can be related to your past mistake or any one of the hundred and twelve screw-ups you have been through. Change your mindset, and learn to deal with it like adults.
You don’t have to get rid of thoughts, you can’t in fact. One just needs to tweak his thinking. And there are two kinds of thinking to be aware of. The kind of which puts a stop to your ongoing chains of negative thoughts, and the kind which doesn’t.
So, just a single thought, let’s say, “I did something wrong in my past” can’t alone cause any harm. It will come and go if you are aligned with the right kind of thinking. But, if you are not, and you keep on extending this line of thoughts, saying to yourself, “Oh man, I was such a fool for not listening to him, I never listen to people when they tell me something. I really am such a loser for not being able to do this one little thing. Why did I not do blah blah blah?” and so on, then that’s an issue.
The right kind of thinking will put an end to this charade at once, and won’t let it take off in the first place. Simply laughing off at your idiocy or trying to clutch to the underlying lesson it wants to share will kill the whole thing before you know it. “I did something wrong in my past, but that’s ok, I learned a great deal out of it and I wouldn’t be what I am today if it wasn’t for that mistake.”
That’s the difference between positive thinking and negative thinking.
Thoughts are Required for Your Survival
Thought, be it positive or negative, is required for your survival, and without either kind of them, you are not gonna stick around for long.
Let’s say you saw a kid getting kidnapped, or a couple of guys carrying a gun who don’t look like cops, so in situations like these you don’t have to turn a blind eye and hide behind the positive facade. You immediately should get struck with a negative thought, “Oh shit, they are gonna harm someone” and act upon it instantly.
And again, negative thinking will do more harm than good. “He’s carrying a gun, what if I get hurt in the process. Should I call the cops or wait it out? I have a family at home, what if the criminal finds them up and does something as a payback to get to me??” Now, that’s not smart. You are not gonna have that much time in hand to ponder upon such detailed ramifications.
I don’t think I should be telling you this, but you don’t have to do that if you find yourself in such situations. Acting upon the thought instantly will stop the whole process from getting out of hand, both in the outer world and more importantly in your inner world as well.
You Are The Director of Your Movie
The whole essence of wanting you to change your mindset is for you to realize that you are the director of the movie being played in your mind.
The job of the director aka you is to give a meaningful direction to your incoming stream of never-ending thoughts. And guys like me, are simply here to assist you in the whole process. As ultimately, it’s your movie whether you accept it or not, and you have to decide what to make of it.
Directing your thoughts or the mind doesn’t mean that you have to boss around handing ultimatums to the mind or berating your mind or beating yourself up for not being able to control your mind. It’s more like handling a 4yr old child, playing in a park, doing all kinds of mischievous activities one can think of.
Playing with a poodle, sliding down a dirty slide, throwing mud at each other, rolling all over the sandcastle he built for themselves, running and falling and getting up again and again. Now, as someone who cares about the kid, your job is to keep an eye on them and simply let them be. And the minute you feel it’s going out of hand, you jump in to neutralize the situation. That’s kinda how you direct a mind, effectively.
The child may have taken the whole world on its shoulder, the mind may very well have shaken things up, but if you are aware of that, then that’s very much the definition of controlling your mind.
But if you have no clue as to what the kid is up to, if you have no idea where your mind is taking you, then you are doing a poor job in handling the situation. Now, you are not in control. And your mind will overpower you.
Know this, instead of squandering your time and energies in places that are pulling you down and not helping you grow, change your mindset to focus your energies on making the best film out of your life possible.
Change your Mindset Now, Your Life Will Automatically Change itself 2 seconds later.