3 Mindset Characteristics for a Good Live – And how to practice them.

If you live a good life or not depends on your Mindset.

Let’s make a little thought-experiment.

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Anna: It’s 8 o’clock, Anna has been awake for 20 minutes and is preparing breakfast for her 2 kids. Her husband worked all night and comes home at 9 am. While Anna prepares breakfast, she thinks about her husband and is happy to get to see him for 10 minutes before she has to leave for work. Her kids come into the kitchen, all sleepy. Anna gives them a kiss and is happy that she has the privilege of having such great kids.

Anna goes to work. Upon arrival, her colleague sits in front of his computer, slurping coffee. Anna greets him excitingly, asks him how he is doing. She enjoys those quite moments in the morning when she has time to talk to her colleagues.

At night, Anna meets a friend to go icunning. It’s cold. She loves feeling the cold air in her face and the feeling of getting warm from the inside. She is happy that she can exhaust herself before going to sleep.

Julie: It’s 8 o’clock, Julie has been awake for 20 minutes and is preparing breakfast for her 2 kids. Her husband worked all night and comes home at 9 am. While Julie prepares breakfast, she is annoyed that she is the one who has to prepare breakfast before she has to leave for work. Her kids come into the kitchen, all sleepy. Julie gives them a kiss and is angry at them, because they are all sleepy while she had to get up early to prepare their breakfast.

Julie goes to work. Upon arrival, her colleague sits in front of his computer, slurping coffee. Julie mutters a hallo and goes to her desk. She doesn’t want to see or talk to her colleagues anymore. Always the same faces, same stories.

At night, Julie meets a friend to go running. It’s cold. She is freezing. She wonders why she is doing this to herself.

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Same day. Same circumstances.

It’s not hard to notice that Anna most probably enjoys her life more than Julie.

The difference between Anna and Julie is their mindset.

Scientists confirm, that out mindset determines how we think and act.

Our mindset is the foundation for a good life. It’s not fixed. You can form and design it the way you want. Therefore, I want to introduce you to three mindset characteristics and how you can train them, so your life assembles more that of Anna’s then Julie’s.

Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset

Carol Dweck, a Stanford psychologist, distinguishes between two mindsets. 1)Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset – How you can fulful your potential. New York: Ballentine Books.

A person with a Fixed Mindset perceives her skills and personality as unchangeable. If that person sucks at something, he or she will think it’s forever, just not good at it and will stop trying.

A person with a Growth Mindset perceives her skills and personality as something that can be changed and trained. When these people suck at something they’ll think about what they can do to improve.

It doesn’t take rocket science to see that a Growth Mindset leads to a better life.

How can you train a Growth Mindset

  1. Pay attention to your Fixed Mindset. When is it talking to you, saying things like “you have no talent whatsoever, you just can’t do it…”
  2. Be aware that you have a choice. You can decide how you evaluate challenges, mistakes and critic in your life.
  3. When your Fixed Mindset starts talking to you, answer with a Growth Mindset. For example, your Fixed Mindset tells you that you have no talent, let your Growth Mindset answer that you might have no talent yet, but you can learn it.
  4. Act upon your Growth Mindset. Become an expert at identifying your Fixed as well as your Growth Mindset and act upon what your Growth Mindset tells you to do.

Intrinsically Motivated Mindset

Studies from psychologists Tim Kasser and Richard M. Ryan show, that people with materialistic values are less happy in their lives than people with unmaterialistic values. 2)Kasser, T. (2014). The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser Review by : Theresa A . Domagalski The Academy of Management Review , Vol . 29 , No . 1 ( Jan ., 2004 ), pp . 135-137 Published by : Academy of Management Stable URL : http://www.jstor.org/stable/20159018 . Your, 29(1), 135–137. These people put extrinsic values forward to intrinsic values. Extrinsic values are triggered from the outside and usually pursue a specific goal. Intrinsic values are triggered by inner believes and an interest about the thing itself.

Our society rewards materialistic values like money, fame and wealth.

If you notice that you are motivated by extrinsic values, ask yourself the following:

  • When following materialistic values in your past, what did you get out of it?
  • Why are materialistic values so important to you?
  • What lies behind those materialistic values? Maybe you are searching the affection of others instead of fame, maybe you are searching safety instead of wealth.

How can you train an Intrinsically Motivated Mindset

The German Neuroscientist Tania Singer found out that meditation can lead to altruism, pro-social behaviour and compassion. 3)Singer T. (2015). Caring Economics: Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists, Economists, and the Dalai Lama. St Martin’s Press Meditating regularly let’s us recognise what’s important to us in live and helps us focus on our intrinsic values. So get on your meditation cushion. Now.

Open, Resonance-Oriented Mindset

The philosopher Hartmut Rosa found out that we live a good life when we get into resonance. 4)Rosa, H. (2016). http://www.suhrkamp.de/buecher/resonance-hartmut_rosa_58626.html?d_view=english Being in resonance means, that we react to what surrounds us in the world. People, tasks, things. To do that, we need an open mindset that allows resonance to get through to us. For example, we need time to react to other people and we need to give them time, to react to us. Hartmut Rosa states, that once we allow ourselves to get into resonance, we’ll find the good life.

How can you train an Open, Resonance-Oriented Mindset

In order to be open for resonance in your life, pause and take your time. Instead of rushing form one appointment to the next, from one meeting to the next, focus on the moment and accept whatever happens. People, tasks, things. A very effective method to do that is to scatter notes around your home saying “Stop”. Whenever you see a note, you focus on exactly what you are doing at that moment and move in slow-motion for about 30 seconds.

There are an endless amount of things influencing our lives. Many of them, we have no control over. What we do have control over is our Mindset. Our Mindset can let us truly say “I am living a good life”.

 

References   [ + ]

1. Dweck, C. (2006). Mindset – How you can fulful your potential. New York: Ballentine Books.
2. Kasser, T. (2014). The High Price of Materialism by Tim Kasser Review by : Theresa A . Domagalski The Academy of Management Review , Vol . 29 , No . 1 ( Jan ., 2004 ), pp . 135-137 Published by : Academy of Management Stable URL : http://www.jstor.org/stable/20159018 . Your, 29(1), 135–137.
3. Singer T. (2015). Caring Economics: Conversations on Altruism and Compassion, Between Scientists, Economists, and the Dalai Lama. St Martin’s Press
4. Rosa, H. (2016). http://www.suhrkamp.de/buecher/resonance-hartmut_rosa_58626.html?d_view=english

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