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How to Control Mindset

Our mind is the centre for all insight, and life experiences. The mind being master of all senses, it is no surprise that what we perceive or acknowledge depends entirely on our ‘mindset’! Our attitude towards people or circumstances also rests majorly on our mindset. What is mindset? Mindset may be defined as a set of notions, or beliefs that we carry. Our mindset is also the mental inclination that influences our planning and execution of day-to-day activities. Our quality of living depends to a major extent on our mindset, yet we often fall short of ideas and practices that help us gain a firm control over our mindset. Let us probe into techniques on how to control mindset.

To control mindset is to channelizes our energy towards positive thinking, hard-work and commitment that finally yields happiness, contentment, and success.

To help us know more about how to control mindset, let us first begin by getting familiar with the basis for a mindset, its qualities and the different types.

Basis for a Mindset

Mindset is a complex or a rather abstract concept but something which majorly influences not only the individual who harbours it but also the society as a whole. Mindset has certain attributes to it that one may say, are more of acquired nature than of inborn nature. This is good news as one can develop a particular mindset that one desires. However, it needs practice to the extent that it becomes a habit.

As Charles Duhigg puts it:

Once you understand that habits can change, you have the freedom and the responsibility to remake them.”

Mindset moulds with routine thoughts and activities:

Most of our life activities go on as a result of prior tuning or habituation of routine activities that gradually develop into our mindset. This means that mindset first begins to establish as a result of what routine thinking or activities you have pre programmed yourself to do. It is most important hence to get these habits right as also for another reason that unproductive habits, once formed become tough to eliminate.

In order for us to discard unyielding habits and develop new worthwhile daily practices, we need to introspect time and again if our principles and actions:

  • Support or limit our growth of character and personality.
  • Are keeping us on the right track of reaching our goals and objectives.

Mindset transforms as a result of our inferences through life experiences

Experiences in life are our greatest teachers. Experiences also make us wise sometimes before the act and sometimes after the act. However, the extent of transformation in our mindset through experiences depends on:

  • How deep we look into them and introspect.
  • Whether or not we choose to look at them as experiences or just ignore them as everyday happenings.

Mindset imparts itself through interpersonal communication

Right from birth be it with family, relatives, friends, teachers, colleagues, or with a host of other people, interaction in life is a seamless affair. Interactions are a major source that frames or re-models our mindset. The extent of its influence depends on:

  • Active and an evaluate listening, because intent listening lets one understand, assimilate, and retain what has been said post any interaction.
  • Ability to distinguish between what is healthy and what is to be discarded, otherwise excess clutter in mind will only confuse the existing mindset.

Qualities of Mindset

Emotional Outlook

Emotions are feelings and responses to internal and external events. Emotions are a deciding quality of any mindset as they direct our mood and relationship with our own self and with others. So, emotions are a strong quality of a mindset. Ideally a person with a balanced mindset has control over emotions and presents a neutral approach in most circumstances. Being neutral does not mean to supress emotions or to be heartless. It means to be completely aware of the happenings and face them with composure.

Cognitive Outlook

Cognitive skills are a major base for a mindset. Our cognitive abilities enable us to:

  • Work on memory
  • Present sustained attention
  • Practice paying simultaneous attention in multiple domains
  • Interpret information
  • Respond, analyse, and plan ideas for evolving

Behavioural Outlook

Behaviour has an impact on mindset and vice versa. Healthy behaviour is a source of a healthy mindset. Most unhealthy behaviours are a result of ignorance. Healthy behaviour can be introduced by the simple exercise of practicing empathy. Empathy lets us take someone else’s position and understand the problems, needs, and challenges faced in various sectors and comprehend better.

Types of Mindset

Mindset can be broadly of two types:

An individual mindset, that gets reflected to a certain degree during personal interactions, reading books or biographies, or during interviews. Individual mindsets can be powerful and can influence a crowd as do leaders.

A collective mindset, is the one that prevails within a group say in a society, a nation, an ethnic community, or the like. For instance, the tagging of generations in trending youth population like the gen ‘X’, ‘Y’, ‘Z’, or the ‘gen next’, is not only about the birth era. It signifies an evolution in mindset with regards to aesthetics, vision, academia, and ethics. Collective mindset is often portrayed to some extent in music, movies, or drama as well.

We also have mindset commonly categorised into:

Fixed mindset

A fixed mindset is when there is a belief that abilities are inherent, and that achievements can only be as much as the abilities allow. In a fixed mindset, success is all about proving to the world about these abilities. This mindset therefore inclines towards:

  • Avoiding new challenges
  • Being threatened by the success of others
  • Constantly yearning for approval by others
  • Ignoring feedbacks and criticisms

Growth mindset

Our mind is a vast expanse and we can achieve as much as we believe and stretch ourselves with a mindset that enables this. A growth mindset is helpful as we learn to explore our new hidden abilities that we never were aware of.  A person with a growth mindset sees success as a measure of fruitful efforts and contentment rather than of any recognition. Stanford’s psychologist, Carol Dweck, through her research throws light on growth mindset which is typical of:

  • A strong inclination towards constant learning
  • Embracing challenges
  • Perseverance in failure
  • Sportively accepting criticisms
  • Gaining inspiration from the success of others
  • Adopting new ways to adapt to change

From a growth mindset, emerge:

Benefit mindset that focusses on passion, purposefulness, and an attitude of gratitude.

Design thinking mindset that focusses on creative means of problem solving through root cause analysis.

Agile mindset that forms the core of cognitive ability, and social agility in both personal and professional spheres. An agile mindset propels reflection and adaptation, analytical and divergent thinking, and last but not the least, innovation and collaboration.

How to Control Mindset

Control your mind or it will control you.

Did you know that many times when we decide to give up on any task, we are just a few steps away from accomplishing that task? This only means we often fall short of only a little bit of patience that could have made it happen. Distractions, negative thinking, bad experiences, or being surrounded by pessimists can make their may to our subconscious mind and steal that grit and shake our control on mindset and put it off balance.

Our wandering thoughts in mind can be compared to a wild galloping horse. It is time we learn how to place the blinkers on the bridle of our racing mind so we focus only on our motive and develop the ideal mindset that supports our overall growth.

Following are eight tips to re-discover enthusiasm and gain back firm control over our mindset:

Learn Lessons from Mistakes

To be able to learn from mistakes, it is important to first have the courage to acknowledge the mistakes to ourselves or to others. Only when we learn to be responsible for our actions, can we analyse and plan to avoid them next time and use the experience of new-found wisdom in our progress.

Set Small, but Frequent Goals

Positive actions attract more of their kind. So, setting small achievable tasks and realising them help us move step by step towards achieving more. Over time these small positive tasks make you explore your own hidden potentials and finally take you to your dream summit without doubt!

Be Flexible in Approach

We need to be flexible in approach to encourage an open mindset within us and allow careful listening of varied opinions. Only with an open mind can we educate ourselves and adapt yourself to the dynamic situations. A flexible approach pushes us out of our comfort zone or a fixed mindset and gain confidence in our abilities.

Get Inspired

Have you ever felt motivated after watching or reading about success stories and achievements of others? Do not let this motivated state of mind go a waste. Begin right away by planning and executing your own efforts. Surround yourself with those with similar mindset and march together towards the goal!

Engage in Positive Self talk

We do recollect how as a kid we recited a poem over and over again to memorise it! Positive self talk does much the same. It is a ‘repeated ongoing commentary’ by an optimistic voice within us, that keeps reciting at the mind’s background that we can do it!

Positive self talk is like a pain killer for emotional pain – Edmond Mbiaka

Speak to yourself with utmost respect, and see how self-esteem shines within you. Like a patient who is open and honest about all his problems to the doctor, be true and open to yourself to be able to fix the problems and heal yourself. Positive self talk enables resilience, which is the ability to endure through hardships and bounce back stronger!

Forgive Others and Yourself

Following certain incidents such as betrayal, what make entry into our mind are bitterness, anger, grudge, or in extreme cases, revenge. These feelings not only steal moments of joy from life, they linger on to make entry into our mindset to obstruct positivity and distract us from our aims. It is not easy to forgive and let go especially without an apology. But think of the fact that forgiveness serves better to our own mindset than does revenge. Tell yourself that forgiveness is not to let them get away with their wrongdoings, rather about giving them another chance to realise and correct their mistakes. This frees your mind and helps you move on.

The same holds good about forgiving yourself when you have erred. Forgiving is an emotional self-management technique. Be patient and work on not repeating mistakes rather than continuously blaming yourself and blocking progress.

Lighten up and Stop Stressing

Priorities in life keep changing. What may seem stressful to us today may be an insignificant episode in just a few years from now. The mantra is to therefore stop stressing too much about any matter which will in turn help us approach any issue with a clear-thinking mindset.

Never be in the Habit of Taking Things for Granted

We often tend to ignore what good we possess because we take them for granted until we lose them. This habit of taking things for granted is a big setback in gaining positive outlook. It is a good practice to make a positive list of all the good things we have and count on blessings. Include all positive things in the list however small you may think they are. Keep going through the list on a regular basis and in the process keep adding on new aspects you consider as your plus points. This will aid in gathering contentment and drive you to keep adding to the list with newer accomplishments!

Conclusion: How to Control Mindset

Mindset is the most essential trait of human nature that emphasizes on the ability to change, grow, and adapt to the changing world. A controlled mindset is the tool that makes us view challenges as opportunities, place efforts before talent, and stress on growth over speed and a healthy mindset is what can transform the world altogether.

Mindset is a power that knows no bounds!

It is not primarily our physical selves that limit us, rather our mindset about our physical limits”- Ellen Langer.

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Article Credit

This article is contributed by Ms Preeti Tambraparni, post graduate in microbiology with a certification in clinical research. Her expertise are writing personal blog in life science related topics and health blog.

More articles from Ms. Preeti Tambraparni:

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