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How Does The Brain Play Into Mindset?

Have you ever heard someone say, “If I didn’t have bad luck, I wouldn’t have any luck at all?” Or, “It is what it is” in the resigned tone that says they don’t think they can do anything about a situation? Or, “Why does this always happen to me?”.

Many of us have probably said one of these jokingly or in a moment of frustration, but believing them can lead to an unproductive mindset. Mindset isn’t about always thinking positively, it’s a ‘mental attitude or inclination.’ It includes how you think of yourself, how you perceive your circumstances, and how you approach change.

Why your Mindset Matters

As a leadership coach and corporate trainer, I have explored with clients how their mindset affects their careers and personal lives and concluded that having a healthy mindset is key to resilience.

The difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset can be the difference between becoming a lifelong learner and, eventually, a master in your career. People with a fixed mindset may be inclined to give up easily or crack under negative feedback.

If you are looking to be more resilient and develop a growth mindset, your brain and the way you think about your surroundings may need to change.

Here are some ways you can learn and adapt your thinking, brain and mindset:

  • Perception is important. The next time there’s an event at work such as a change in management or new working arrangements, try to conceptualize it as a learning process rather than as a crisis. Learning and improving outside of your comfort zone can amplify your resilience and change how your brain works under pressure.
  • See the big picture. When you are confronted with a minor annoyance, ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being a broken glass and 10 being an earthquake, how serious the problem is. Most problems are not as bad as they seem.
  • Keep a journal, even if you only have time to write in it once a week, and use it to focus on what is going right. That doesn’t mean you ignore what’s going wrong, but you don’t have to focus on it exclusively.
  • Be aware of your self-talk. Sometimes our brains insert pessimistic ideas and judgments without us being aware it’s happened. If your inner conversation is negative, it can lead to low moods and affect your view of your situation. Change your mood by changing the tone of the things you say to yourself.
  • Related to this, give yourself credit when it’s due. Too often, people don’t recognize the role of their skills and abilities in their work success and life experiences; they always say a project was a success only because of the help they received from others, or because they were just lucky. You don’t have to brag, but you can raise your visibility in a genuine, authentic way.

Shift your mindset and choose your future!

Focus on your mindset to enhance your resilience, productivity, and appreciation of the good things in your career and life.

By Beth Benatti Kennedy, MS LMFT


For more on mindset, we recommend Carol Dweck's Mindset: The New Psychology of Success

For more on careers, leadership, and personal development, check out our other career content.

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