How to shape your mindset

“What we think we become.”
~ Buddha.

Reengineering one’s mindset is a complex process and for some people, even the initiation of it may at times seem insurmountable. A strong healthy mindset is a product of hard and scrupulous work so, in order to simplify such an ambitious project, you could break it down into 3 consequent steps.

Step 1. Identify what is not working.

Assess your current system of beliefs by filtering each belief through the three following questions:

Where did I pick up this belief?
Who did I learn it from?
Does this belief correspond to the objective reality?

If some areas of your life are dysfunctional, you have one or more beliefs that were absorbed without passing over the filter of critical thinking. Not being able to track back the source of a certain belief is an indicator that it was picked up and integrated by you unconsciously. You need to find the roots of every single mindset in your head.

Step 2. Is it effective or ineffective?

Analyze your mindsets to evaluate their practical usefulness. Identify which mindsets make you proactive and which mindsets hinder your growth. To be more illustrative let’s take a look at some examples.

Attitude toward people.

Mindset A:

“All people are egoists. Everyone just wants to get rich and make their life better by using others. Every person I deal with is just waiting for a chance to stab me in the back to derive benefit. The world is a cruel place. I do not deserve all the bad things that happen to me.”

Mindset B:

“All people are beautiful souls. Everyone I meet has something to teach me. Every person I meet has his gifts of knowledge, skills and unique life experience that can add up value to my life. The Universe does send me problems sometimes but it does so in order to teach me a lesson. When the lesson is learned a solution to the problem reveals itself.”

Attitude toward yourself.

Mindset A:

“I am ugly and nobody likes me. I am worthless and have no skills. I do not love myself. I do not like myself. I don’t respect myself. I am a loser.”

Mindset B:

“I might be not the most good-looking person in the world, but I am willing to work hard to bring the best of what’s given to me by nature. I might be not talented at anything in particular but I can cultivate a talent of hard work. I can dedicate myself to challenging myself. I will earn my own respect. I will attempt to do things even if I think some of them are impossible. I know that one day I will look back and I will be proud of myself. I do not need the love of other people. I choose to be an infinite source of love myself.”

Attitude toward life.

Mindset A:

“This planet is a prison. Life is a way of pain and struggles by design and we are here to go through our punishment. Life is hard. We need to fight our way up stepping on each other climbing the ladder of success.”

Mindset B:

“This planet is a school. The curriculum at times is rather strange and lessons are tough but as I advance in learning the application of my knowledge gets easier. Life is indeed complicated, but then it is exactly the reason to not overcomplicate things. If Life is hard enough by itself, then we should help each other to get through it.”

We just walked through three couples of radically polar mindsets. So, what are the differences between an effective and ineffective mindset? I am sure you are able to draw some correlations:

- Effective mindsets create “the doors of opportunities”. Having an ineffective mindset feels like bumping up against a wall.

- Effective mindsets are all about a can-do attitude. They condition you that failure is not an option and open a valve of internal energy for finding creative solutions to the question “How can I do it?” Ineffective mindsets create a feeling that the internal energy is cut off.

- Effective mindsets lead to actions and help build up momentum. Ineffective mindsets lead to idleness and leave you lingering in inertia.

Step 3. The two questions.

Here is a simple self-reflexive exercise for rewiring your mindset. This exercise alone will help you to sort all the mess in your life. In an ideal setting, it should be performed in a trance state under the supervision of someone experienced in deep brain rewiring. However, you will still be able to benefit from this exercise even without going into a trance by simply pondering about the things that will be revealed.

Take a piece of paper and a pen and draw a line separating the sheet into two columns. On the top of both columns you write the questions:

Left column: “What is annoying you?”
Right column: “What is important for you?”

Now, it is time for introspection. Take your time and turn yourself inside out. You need to put everything that annoys, bothers, worries, disturbs you in the left column. Clean your head and clean your heart. No one is watching, rant it all out. Make it a confession if you deem it necessary. Be detailed and specific. Get angry if you feel that anger rises in you, burst into tears if you feel that sadness is unbearable, embrace the shame if that’s what comes to the surface. Process whatever negative feelings are emerging but purge your heart of this burden. Shout it out.

To give you an idea, here are some things that annoyed me:

- Not taking care of my health and making my body sick by smoking and drinking.

- Being weak because of a lack of physical activity. Dissatisfaction with the way my body looks and feels.

- Toxic relationships with people who dragged me down and slowed me down on the way to my goals. Wasting time and energy on relationships that didn’t contribute to my growth.

- Wasting the time of my life on useless activities. Being stupid with my time.

- Investing so much attention and energy into collecting stuff that doesn’t add value to my life.

- Being a bad son and a bad friend. Not giving back enough to people who love me.

- Feeling weak-minded, weak-spirited, cowardly, and timid. Feeling small, insignificant, and gutless.

The right column is where you list all of the things that have true importance in your life. List everything you hold dear. What has real value in your life? What goals do you want to achieve? What kind of life do you want to live? These are some of the things that are universal for most people:

- Family and friends

- Love and relationships

- Health

- Creating value and building wealth by doing what you love

- Leaving a legacy

Do not settle with this generic list. Be creative and write what is important for you in detail. Make it personal.

Finish your self-reflexive exercise and observe the way you feel. You should feel relieved. You should feel light-hearted and serene after letting it all out on the paper. But most importantly, by writing all those things down you have just set yourself the course of action which is rather simple — go away from the things that annoy you toward the things that are important for you. This exercise will let you assess if an action you are engaged in at any single moment can be placed into the left or right column making you accordingly a more distressed or more contented person.

Extra exercise.

“Which of my qualities you dislike?”

Pick up the phone and call 5 of your closest friends. Ask your friends this question. This book can wait. Do it now.

You need to ask your real friends and by “real” I mean those friends who love you enough to resist from sugar-coating the bitter truth to spare your feelings. You need to ask the ones who will not shy away from harsh and objective feedback. Some of the things they will say will feel like a sobering punch, some will serve as unexpected tools for self-discovery. You will be surprised to hear what your friends have to say when you give them an opportunity to speak without holding anything back.

After receiving their feedback ask them what in their opinion are the possible ways to improve. Face the truth and don’t take it personally. Process the feedback. Insights are guaranteed.

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Thank you for reading my book “Meditations of the Millennial”.

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