The mind is a very powerful thing and the way it behaves makes you who you are as a person. Many people know this as mindset, this thinking pattern or your frame of mind impacts how you make sense of the world and yourself.
So in other words, a mindset is a set of beliefs and thoughts which influence the way you handle any given situation. It pretty much dictates your personality, helping you sort out what’s going on around you and how you should react to it.
How mindsets are formed
Most experts today agree that forming a mindset is a combination of the external experiences and internal thoughts. For instance, while everyone comes with a unique set of genetics, their experiences, training and personal efforts take them the rest of the way. Since time began, people have thought, acted and successed differently from one another. For the most part, common sense dictates that these differences arise from the variances in people’s backgrounds, learning experiences and training. Plus, research also points in the same direction.
So while experiences, backgrounds and training are all external variables, even internal variables like genetic makeup have a part to play. So your life experiences and genetics together help frame your attitude and beliefs. And since both have an important part to play in your mindset, it helps to know what these two factors are all about.
First off, your attitude towards something is how you think or feel about it, especially when it comes to the way you behave. Your attitude can have different components such as an emotional component or how something or someone makes you feel. Then there is the cognitive component which is how or what you think about the subject.
This is finally followed by the behavioral component which shows how you behave when confronted by the subject. Then there are your beliefs which are merely feelings about something. Beliefs are based on ideas and then at a specific point, these ideas start to feel certain, they turn into beliefs. Beliefs, in turn shape your attitude which in turn shape your mindset.
Attitudes and beliefs then give rise to habits which are a direct reflection of your mindset. Perhaps the most common and well known example of a mindset is seeing the glass as “half empty” or “half full”.
Types of Mindsets
There are different types of mindsets that can either help you unleash your best or contain your potential. There could be a long list of these but here are a few which have been backed by research. Here’s a quick glance at the following:
Abundance Mindset vs Scarcity Mindset
The way you view abundance or scarcity in different aspects of life greatly influences your success in life. For instance, imagine that two people are walking down the street. They are talking to each other, laughing, joking and all the while breathing in and breathing out.
Now do you think that one of the two might worry that there may not be enough oxygen for the both of them? Likely not, since air is abundant. Now place the same two people scuba diving where one’s tank starts to malfunction. That person signals the need for oxygen and suddenly the air around them becomes a precious commodity.
This scarcity could easily make the two worry with a concern that what if there isn’t enough oxygen for the both of them? For the most part, the general population seems to be more inclined towards a scarcity mentality. They often view life as having only so much and if they had to share, there wouldn’t be enough for them.
This sad mentality makes it very hard for such people to share anything including credit, recognition, responsibility or even authority with others. Instead they only end up competing for available resources even when there may be an abundance of them.
On the other hand, those with an abundance mentality are not limited by this thinking pattern. Instead of seeing opportunity as limited, they strive to create more opportunity for themselves and embrace change instead of fearing it. To sum up, a person with a scarcity mindset chooses negative thoughts and adopts a victim mentality. At best, their everyday focus is on all the things that may not be working. But others with an abundance mindset tend to put all their energy reserves into what is working and see endless possibilities to improve their current situation.
Productive Mindset vs Defensive Mindset
This combo basically deals with everyday performance. Many people may think that they have a productive mindset or that they are being productive, whereas they are actually just being busy; in reality, they may not be productively finishing tasks and completing projects. Think about your daily to-do list and the ten or so things you need to get done by the end of the day.
You may have spent all your day running around and ‘doing’ stuff but when it’s 5 pm and you wrap up for the day, you realize that you only managed to tick off three of the ten things you were supposed to do. You feel like you’re working all the time but don’t actually get much done. Does this mean that you’re lazy and don’t want to achieve your goals? Or perhaps it has something to do with your mindset.
Having a productive mindset means that you utilize all your resources including your time, energy and efforts in the best possible way. At the same time it also means that you don’t try to do everything, be everywhere or even do it in the fastest way possible.
Quite the contrary, it means making the most of what is available while enjoying the process. Those with a productive mindset seek out valid knowledge that is testable and use their reasoning to make informed choices. As such these people find a way and spend more time finding solutions to better performance instead of finding problems and getting stuck.
On the other hand, the defensive mindset, like its name suggests is both self-protective and self-defensive. This type of mindset only seeks out information that it feels comfortable with and shuts down when perceived as threatening. Obviously this thinking pattern can become very limiting. It’s also an apparent way to shun creativity, find better alternatives to existing problems and very easily fall in a rut.
But perhaps the biggest setback of this mindset is that you learn something based on false assumptions or prevent learning altogether.
Fixed Mindset vs Growth Mindset
This combo is perhaps the best known in terms of mindsets. Very briefly, a fixed mindset is a static view where you believe that you are either good at something or you just aren’t. On the other hand, a growth mindset is a learning mindset with a dynamic view. This mindset allows you to believe that you can change, improve, prosper and get better at anything through the right training.