Why should I change my mind and how do I do it?
Your mindset determines your experience – which means, if you can change your mind, you can change your life.
Francis was so frustrated because he was again passed over for a senior position in his company. He could scream about how unfair it felt. He was qualified, he had completed the company’s leadership development training, developed his people skills, all to fulfil the requirements for the position. He was certain that he would get this job.
Unfortunately, there had been 45 applicants for the position and there was someone even more qualified who got the job. But Francis didn’t know that; he wasn’t informed. He just knew that he didn’t get it and he felt he should have.
But the real problem lies in his mindset and beliefs.
Francis believed that there is a kind of balance in the world – that you reap what you sow, you will get what you deserve, and that life should be fair. He had done everything he could to support this company, to develop his own skills and to develop others, he felt it was only fair for him to get this position.
But life isn’t fair
The problem is the belief that life should be fair.
Many of our mindsets and beliefs are deeply embedded, stemming from life scripts we grew up with. These were instilled in us – innocently enough – by parents, teachers, friends, and society. Our cultural stories and fairy tales embed messages from a young age. For example, many of us were told that Santa Claus gives gifts to “nice” children and that he’s keeping track, so if you are good, you will be rewarded. These lessons get encoded in us and shape our expectations and how we view the world and what we expect from the world.
Imagine if Francis hadn’t expected the world to be fair. The lack of promotion would have elicited a different response. He might have gone for it with no expectations and a rejection wouldn’t be so upsetting. In fact, he could take is as a learning experience.
But we are not forced to live with a mindset or scripts forever; these can be changed.
So how do you change your mindset?
First you need to identify the beliefs or scripts that are driving you. Recall a situation that was frustrating or disappointing. Ask yourself why that was so upsetting. Keep pondering on that and listen to your responses. What were your expectations? Many times, it does end up with “life should be fair” or “I deserve …” or some other similar script.
Once you find one of these, spend some time noticing how this has led to disappointment in your life. Get clear about the message you have embedded. Once clear, you have a chance to change it.
Take some time with this. Trying to disentangle yourself from a life-long belief doesn’t happen overnight. In essence you need to re-write your life script; it may be tough, but it is possible. As you notice how it runs you, consider what else you could tell yourself about these kinds of situations.
- life just isn’t fair, no one else is going to take responsibility for my happiness
- I can always try, but I’m not always going to win, but there’s always a learning
- Failure is an opportunity to learn
- If I don’t try I won’t get far; not succeeding may be a step along the way
- I always have a choice of how I want to see this situation
Identify a new message that will work for you. Then repeat, repeat, repeat this new script – like a mantra. The next time you are mildly irritated, remind yourself of the new script. Over and over.
This work isn’t easy, but it is powerful and it can free you up from experiencing a lot of pain.What is psychological safety and why should we work on it?How do we accept and not just tolerate? What is the difference?