We all face different situations and challenges in life and form different thought patterns. We learn a lot as we go to school and university and start work. But sometimes, you may “know” so much that it blinds you to reality. Our perspectives are all we know. That is our mindset.
Mindset is how you see and view others and the environment around you. And what you do — the actions you take — is a function of your mindset. It is the foundation of all that we do and shapes how we do it.
The concept of mindset was developed by Dr C Terry Warner, the founder of The Arbinger Institute and a former psychology professor, author, influencer and speaker.
His concept is based on two kinds of mindsets. An outward mindset is one in which you see others as people, and that their goals and challenges are as equally important as yours. A person with an inward mindset, on the other hand, sees people as merely objects — be they vehicles, obstacles or irrelevancies — and that their own personal goals, preoccupations and challenges come first.
The truth is, mindset affects all aspects of business and personal life. It is what creates our perspectives and how we view the world.
As business leaders, we cannot think only about developing our organisation but also how we can make changes that have a positive impact on our community and society. On a personal level, you cannot even begin to change anything or anyone around you if you do not begin with your own self and your own mindset.
So, how do you begin shifting your mindset?
First, you need to create a sense of awareness of yourself. You must understand and be aware of what your current mindset is, how you react to certain situations or people. Awareness is the most important step and is the first one you take before beginning to change.
Second, try to use a beginner’s mindset in connection with everything and everyone you see. This means ridding yourself of all you “know” and looking at things as if you were looking at them for the first time.
Third, focus on what might work, rather than dreading whether it won’t. Having a positive mindset that pushes and drives you and your people is essential to sustaining the outward mindset. When you’re stuck in the mindset that nothing is going to work, you’ll never know whether it truly doesn’t work or not.
Fourth, note down key insights, thoughts and ideas. It’s always a good idea to note down anything you might find useful for later. Whether it is truly going to be useful is not important; the point is to just get your mind used to being a beginner and also staying positive.
Fifth, think of faces and places to transform and innovate. This is because it is important to keep a goal in mind when beginning to shift your mindset. Do you want to push innovation? Do you want to transform your team or even your organisation?
When you have a goal in mind, it makes it easier for you to stay consistent and work towards practising your mindset, and then successfully shifting it.
Last, share and be open. Always be open and transparent. It’s not easy to practise a shift in mindset so it’s always better when you have the support of people around you.
To understand further the importance of practising the shift of mindset, think of the analogy of riding a bicycle. Most of you might have learned to ride a bicycle at a young age. As you get older, it comes natural to you to ride a bicycle because you’ve practised it enough that your mind and body have become accustomed to it.
Similarly, you started developing your mindset, how you view the world, when you were very young. As you get older, you practise this mindset and continue to add on information to shape your mindset. Our mindset requires consistency and constant practice.
Shifting to a new mindset is not easy. The thing is, we cannot unlearn our mindset any more than we can unlearn riding a bike. But we can certainly be aware of our current mindset and make the necessary steps to shift to a new one.
Arinya Talerngsri is Chief Capability Officer and Managing Director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup) Southeast Asia’s leading executive, leadership and innovation capability development centre. She can be reached by email at email@example.com or www.linkedin.com/in/arinya-talerngsri-53b81aa
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