The Winning Mindset 101
Your mind is your biggest asset. It recognizes problems and opportunities, it takes account of resources and options, and it finds the best way to handle any situation. That is, if you let it.
Your mind isn’t the only factor at play. It can be helpful to think of your mind and your emotions as completely separate forces that need to be working together to get the best results.
In this way, your mind is like a car. It can take you to all kinds of places, but it has to be started and it has to be driven. You couldn’t get too far without your mind, but it isn’t going to drive itself.
Your mind always exists within a “mindset” which you can look at as the emotional context in which your mind is operating. You can also look at as your “mind-setting” because it determines what your mind will try to accomplish and how.
➢ When you have a winning mindset, you’d be surprised at what your mind can achieve.
➢ If you have a “losing” mindset, things are only likely to get worse.
Let’s look at the powers of the mind and how these powers are amplified or limited by your mindset, as well as how to maintain a mindset that will allow your brain to work at its best.
The Power of Your Mind
Your mind is often taken for granted because it is always on. Because it does all of your thinking, it takes itself for granted. Much of the successes that occur in your life that should be chalked up to your mind are instead attributed to things like luck.
Your mind is constantly assessing your surroundings, looking for problems, and finding solutions. This is a full-time job. Depending on the issue that you are handling in the moment, coming up with a solution to a problem and moving on can seem like it takes no time at all, or it can take ages.
Some people who don’t take their minds for granted, see problems in such a way that they never see problems as solved at all, they just see everything that they do as one part of a journey.
Separating Mind From Mindset
Your mindset is different from your mind, and in some ways is independent of it, operating on its own but shaping how your mind is put to use.
Just as your mind determines how your resources are used, your mind is a resource whose use is largely determined by your mindset.
Mindsets vary drastically from one person to another, some people have positive and optimistic mindsets, while others are not negative and pessimistic.
Some mindsets are honed on success and motivation, while others may be far less ambitious.
Training your mind by learning and developing skills is a way of increasing your resources. Shaping your mindset, as this article will get into, is not a way of increasing your resources so much as it is finding a way to use the resources that you have more effectively.
Because in many ways mindsets are the way that you understand the world, it is beyond the scope of this article to say that some mindsets are good, and others are bad.
The important thing is that some mindsets encourage more efficient and productive behavior. In this writing we call these “winning mindsets” though this categorization is really a “set of mindsets” that have been identified by experts on the field.
Changing Your Mindset
As mentioned above, your mindset is closely linked to your emotions. For this reason, it most often comes about organically. That is to say, most people do not consciously determine your mindset. Rather, your mindset is largely determined by your perceptions and experiences.
Your mindset can, however, be actively chosen as you choose to interpret the things that you see in different ways. These statements may seem mutually exclusive but many of our more emotional traits can be trained.
A good example that you may be more familiar with is training to be more optimistic by looking for things in the world to be grateful for. This is a deliberate mental exercise that shapes your emotional makeup. Developing mindsets can be a very similar practice. In fact, some experts recommend developing a wining mindset in exactly this way.
If you don’t have a winning mindset while you read this, developing one can take time and effort but it is something that you can do. The key is to check in on yourself to see how you are feeling. Because mindsets are emotional in nature, they are easily changed, sometimes without you even realizing that this is happening.
This can occur for a variety of reasons as we shall see that mindsets are complicated networks of thoughts and emotions.
This can be the first exercise that you take into developing your mindset.
The first thing that you need to do to develop a winning mindset is to think of the mindset not as a net that you get tangled up in, but as a net that you skilfully weave that it may serve your own purposes.
Changing or developing a healthier mindset is also easier done than said because it can be done incrementally. Mindsets are large complicated systems, but you can focus on changing them one day and one thing at a time.
Your Mindset and You
In many ways, your mindset stems from how you see yourself in a given situation. This gets back to the idea of your “mind setting.” If you see yourself in a situation as a leader, or as someone who is going to work hard to make things happen, your mind is going to apply itself to those ends.
If you see yourself as someone who doesn’t want to be there, who doesn’t have much to contribute, and who isn’t going to gain much from the experience or is likely to be unsuccessful, your mind is going to apply itself very differently.
Your mindset doesn’t only impact what your mind puts into a situation, it also impacts what your mind takes out of a situation. Having the right mindset doesn’t ensure that you will have success on the first try, but it does set you up to learn more from the experience and to try again with better results in the future.
With the right mindset you can learn from failures while with a wrong mindset you can only learn that you failed.
Your Mindset and Others
Your mindset doesn’t only come from what you feel about your own role, it also comes from what you feel about other people’s involvement.
This aspect of your mindset is important for when you are working on or with a team, which is probably most of the time.
Your mind doesn’t only take yourself into account. It can also make complex plans that utilize available resources.
In a number of ways, people can be resources and how you see other people can change how your mind sees fit to include them when it looks for solutions to problems. Seeing everyone around you as pawns will only let you use them as pawns.
Having respect for those around you and understanding that they are also complex people with their own strengths will give you more options to work with them more effectively.
Your Mindset And Communication
Your mind set as it relates to your role and as it relates to the roles of those around you doesn’t only impact how your mind considers those around you to help you achieve your goals. It also impacts how you communicate with those around you.
Seeing others as people that you can and should work with is important but being able to work with them through meaningful and effective communication is at least as important.
We’ve already been over the benefits of seeing people as more than just tools to use, but if you’re in a leadership position that can be hard. Even if people are “under” you, you should see them as partners and you should communicate them as partners.
It takes thought to change your own mindset, but a winning mindset is contagious if you communicate in a way that makes it easier for other people to change their mindsets as well. A real leader is characterized by the success of their unit, not only by their own record. Being a leader, you still rely on those under you. That’s why a real leader inspires leadership in others.
Communicating well is important initially in achieving the goal, but more importantly it can get those around you to do their best.
Your Mindset And Your Circumstances
Your mindset also stems from your understanding of the different situations that you find yourself in, their relationships to each other, and their relationships to you.
We talked about this briefly in the first section on the powers of the mind. Some people see each problem that they face as a more or less isolated incident, while some people see everything that they do as part of a larger picture. Both of these represent unique kinds of mindsets.
Finding a winning mindset is not about finding the mindset that works, it’s about finding the mindset that works for you. How you see problems is relation to each other is a good example of this.
People who see problems as separate from each other are often very able to find short-term solutions to these mini-problems but may miss out on valuable insights that are right in front of them and would be obvious if they saw their problems as more closely linked.
On the other hand, people who see all of their problems as interwoven are often able to make more meaningful decisions that impact their lives in larger ways. They also tend to be more tenacious and patient.
They are also more likely to take longer – or in some cases too long – to find a solution because they get bogged down in ramifications that a rather small decision might have for them years down the road.
The Complete Mindset
So far, we have talked about mindset coming from your understanding of your own roles and about mindset coming from your understanding of other people’s roles. These concepts have been introduced individually to make them easier to tackle, but both of them are blended in your actual mindset.
This shapes our understanding of a situation or even of our whole lives. A mindset that your actions are worthless because your life is controlled by others will prove true. Thinking this way means that you have given up on controlling your own life.
Recognizing that other agents influence your life, or even control aspects of it, but that you are the only one that truly controls your life is a more complex but more enterprising mindset.
Thinking in this way will allow you to come up with ideas that effectively use the other people in your life in order to come up with solutions rather than resigning yourself to be used by others in achieving their own goals.
This isn’t to say that everyone either uses or is used. It is merely saying that you can allow yourself to be used by others when you fail to utilize your own strengths. Having a winning mindset also decreases the odds that other people will try to use you in this way.
Someone with a winning mindset is more valuable to others because they are more likely to use their strengths more effectively. In this way you can make yourself a valuable partner in the lives of others rather than someone that others only look to control.
This is one of the ways in which winning mindsets are self-reinforcing. By thinking of yourself as a more valuable agent in a situation, other people are more likely to see you as a more valuable agent.
Views On the “The Winning Mindset”
It was mentioned above that there is more than one winning mindset and what exactly that means is largely up to you, though there are some camps already established among the experts.
Some experts propose that a winning mindset is one that fosters personal growth and change. A mindset that has you believing that you get all of he tools that you are given will not encourage you to change and grow as a person.
Mindsets like this hold many people back when they believe that they cannot achieve more in life because they had an underprivileged upbringing or a limited education, because they missed their big break.
This kind of mindset is fostered by taking a moment or two every now and again to shamelessly gloat to yourself about the progress that you have made in your life.
After all, if all of your gifts are inherent, how have you come so far from where you started? The next step is to take a moment or two to think about all of the things that you want to do and become and set goals to achieve them.
Some experts believe that a winning mindset is one that allows you to grow from failures and to see each event not as its own event but as one step in the journey of your life.
This mindset allows you to not put too great a weight on failures and allows you to continue to strive for success rather than becoming satisfied at the achievement of one particular goal.
As discussed above, however, a mindset that allows you to take stock of events as they happen is also valuable and allows you to grow your mindset by seeing small victories for complete victories rather than seeing everything you do as an ongoing struggle. It is worth suggesting that somewhere between these two ideas is the place to be.
Take time to celebrate your victories but remember that as long as you draw breath there is time to achieve still more.
Closely related to this is the idea that a winning mindset means that you believe that anything that you do will turn out in your favor.
This mindset should come not from a belief that you are somehow special and can do no wrong, but rather from the confidence that you can recover from and act on any wrong step that you do take and having the ability to keep walking while always looking where you are going.
This kind of mindset can be fostered by taking a moment or two to look back on the setbacks that you have experienced in your past and looking at where those setbacks led you. Maybe you made the best of them. Maybe you didn’t.
Maybe in retrospect you see something that you could have done differently. The point is, your failures didn’t destroy you. The idea isn’t that anything that doesn’t destroy you makes you stronger, the idea is that what doesn’t destroy you can be repaired.
There are those, however, who believe that these mindsets put too much value on failure. They believe that a winning mindset is one that pursues success rather than growth.
People who reach this mindset say that it prevents us from taking the path of least resistance or compromising on our goals. While success should be the objective, there is room to question whether a mindset that holds success as the only way could be sustainable for very long, at least early in the process.
Whether or not one prizes failure as an opportunity for learning, failure is a natural part of the system and having a mindset that insists on success could easily lead to unrealistic expectations.
Rather than only accepting success, only aim for success. This kind of mindset can be fostered by setting aside time in a day to progress at something. By setting very short-term goals, you can all but ensure their success, which can set you up for succeeding at larger tasks.
Still others believe that a winning mindset is one that encourages action. Members of this school believe that a winning mindset is one that encourages you to relentlessly follow your gut and to always be the leader.
There is room for argument that this is a potentially dangerous attitude and one that is almost certainly impractical for people in most stages of their lives.
There are no experts in the field who believe that a winning mindset is one that discourages action or leadership qualities. The only question then is how long a winning mindset will let you dwell on particulars before taking action and whether a winning mindset sees being a leader as the path to success and achievement.
The secret to fostering a healthy mindset based on these principals is to look at problems as they arise and to situate yourself where you will do the most good. Maybe that means positioning yourself as a leader, but maybe it means following someone with the experience and resources to get the job done using the talent and work of people like you.
Society would not exist if everyone wanted to be a leader all the time and it would not exist if everyone who was not a leader just stood around taking up space.
Most of the definitions above shift into two main blocks, those that see achievement as accomplishment of the goal, and those that see accomplishment as improvement of the self.
The first block should prove attractive to people who see events as isolated incidents that can one can succeed at or fail at and then move on.
The second block should be attractive to people who see all successes and failures as linked in the great journey that is their lives. They can also all be seen as being either process-oriented or goal oriented. If a mindset is goal-oriented than it leaves little room for failure because you either achieve failure or you do not.
If a mindset is process-oriented, then it leaves more room for failure because failure can be seen as something that does not achieve the goal, but which allows the process to be improved and may therefore lead to achieving the goal.
Finding Your Winning Mindset
However, you define your winning mindset, there are some general guidelines that should help you to achieve it.
- Staying healthy is always a good first step. Keeping fit and having a balanced diet helps to keep you sharp. It’s also good for self-esteem, which can help for you to maintain a mindset focused on you as an active player with something to contribute.
- Inspiration is also important. It is easier to have a winning mindset if you are doing something that you greatly care about, but it is possible to have a winning mindset doing anything. Your inspiration can come from completing the task if the task is important to you or the inspiration can come from using the task to advance to something that you care more about.
- For example, a younger reader might not be passionate about school but can still have a winning mindset if they look at the completion of this task as something that will allow them to pursue their own goals more efficiently later on.
- There is also something to be said for being able to tackle challenges for the sake of tackling challenges. This can turn anything into a worthwhile cause, even if it is something that you don’t see as directly related to your own larger goals.
- Your self-worth and self-esteem are critical to and are largely at the center of a winning mindset no matter what you consider that to be, because holding yourself in high esteem is critical and closely aligned with achievement, motivation, striving and succeeding.
Hopefully, you now know a bit more about all of the things that your mind does for you, and you have a better understanding of the complex emotional context in which it functions.
Our minds and emotions have a strong impact on each other that many people don’t recognize.
Cultivating a winning mindset is all about learning to consciously shape your understanding of the world by guiding your mind and emotions to understand things in a way that places you as an active agent in your own life rather than being at the mercy of outside forces and influences.
Many different people have different ideas about what exactly constitutes a winning mindset, but perhaps each of us must have our own definition. Perhaps the winning mindset is one that allows us to achieve our goal and what the winning mindset is can change when that goal changes.
Some people have suggested that in order to determine what a winning mindset is and to establish it in our own lives, we need to first determine what winning means for us.
This definition should be something that can be attained and something that is clearly defined if you want to pick a winning mindset for a particular task.
If you want to pick a winning mindset for your whole life, maybe your definition doesn’t need to be clearly defined, but it still needs to be attainable.
If that is the case, then if nothing else you some food for thought that hopefully you can use in order to cultivate a mindset that works for you, no matter where you are in life and no matter what it is that you are trying to achieve.
Whatever you are doing and however you define your winning mindset, it should be something that inspires you to act even when progress seems slow, something that allows you to see as many options as possible, something that encourages you to improve yourself as you work towards your goal, and of course something that makes your goal attainable for you.