“You Are Very Powerful, Provided You Know How Powerful You Are”-Yogi Bhajan
Your mindset will dictate your actions and reactions in everything you do. It will dictate how you feel and how you make decisions. As my grandfather used to say when quoting the Bible, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” If you want to change your life for the better, the first place to look is your mindset.
For instance, if you’re a person who tends to view the world through a negative lens, you will only see problems and miss solutions. Furthermore, you’ll sell yourself short when facing problems and will either sabotage yourself in the process or never take a shot at tackling them to begin with. A friend of mine used to say “Can’t never could” whenever her kids would say “I can’t”. This is the motto of the rigid mindset. It’s the mentality most people have, and it’s why most people stay stuck.
Success Comes from an Expansive Mindset
In contrast, have you ever known someone who’s never flustered? They seem to have an innate ability to look at obstacles and organically see ways over, through, or around them. This is the expansive mindset in action, one focused on possibilities and the bright side of every situation. Those who have it are few, and they are consistently the most powerful person in the room. These people find freedom in every area of their lives.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.”-Matthew 12:34
But here’s the secret. Everyone is capable of thinking this way. There is a battle in everyone’s heart between the Rigid vs Expansive mindset, and no matter where you come from, the Expansive mindset can prevail. You can be the person who brings solutions, energizes others and has a great time doing it. The mindset you use will determine the breakthrough you can receive.
“So how do I change my mindset?” you may be asking. It starts with self awareness. You need to be able to recognize which mindset you’re in at any given time. Let’s unpack the differences between Rigid vs Expansive Mindsets so that you can develop this skill.
The Rigid Mindset
The Rigid Mindset is defined by fear. It believes that fear keeps you safe, so it’s always looking for what is wrong and what could go wrong. People with rigid mindsets are therefore very critical of others. However, they are also very critical of themselves and are therefore in a perpetual state of low self esteem, focusing on their worst qualities constantly. Ironically, this same low self esteem leads to insecurity and makes a person with a rigid mindset very defensive when it comes to criticism. They’re beating up on themselves all the time, so when somebody else criticizes them, it feels like an attack even when it’s not.
Someone with a rigid mindset lacks curiosity, and they usually dislike the idea processing multiple variables. As a result, they can’t seem to analyze a situation effectively. Rigid thinkers usually get paralysis by analysis or over-simply situations and leap to conclusions too quickly. They also tend to see things in black and white. A rigid thinker usually only sees two potential outcomes or choices rather than zooming out and considering a third option. The stakes are always success or failure to the rigid mindset, so there is a consistent fear of failure and a lack of interest in learning.
Here are some more traits of Rigid Thinkers:
- See only 1-2 outcomes
- Assume the worst
- Base identity on “accomplishments” and “failures”
- Compare self to others
- Avoids conflict or is aggressive in conflict
- Timid in adversity
- Negative self talk
- Resistant to change and different perspectives
- Runs from challenges
- Focuses on negative events, traits, and possibilities
The Expansive Mindset
Individuals with expansive mindsets can get outside the box. They are able to empathize with others and view things from multiple perspectives. This allows them to see the situation as a whole and not get sucked in to certain details. It also gives them the ability to identify multiple methods of attack.
Expansive thinkers are secure in themselves. They understand that “success” and “failure” are largely subjective, or at least more complex than we tend to make them. For expansive thinkers, learning is success in and of itself. Therefore don’t get defeated when things don’t go as planned., and they show themselves compassion by forgiving themselves when they make mistakes. Because they don’t give in to self loathing and negative self talk, expansive thinkers are also able to appreciate the opportunities for growth that come with feedback. For the same reason, expansive thinkers have an easier time accepting and appreciating others.
The Expansive Mindset:
- Sees multiple possibilities
- Assumes the best
- Is Teachable and Relational
- Sees learning as a form of success
- Focuses on effort over outcomes
- Accepts adversity as an opportunity to grow
- Believes in the process
- Practices empathy as a habit
- Invites multiple solutions
- Identifies and replaces negative self talk
- Has tenacity
- Is Resourceful
How to Make the Shift
We must program our minds to operate with an expansive mindset to be successful. How do we do this? Daily practice.
The truth is our brains are flexible and malleable. They’re like interstate highways — they can be altered to go farther, hold more lanes, and have a smoother surface for safer and more enjoyable transportation. It’s scientifically proven that new habits help these “highways” grow in size, weight, mass, and cognitive connections toward healthy neural pathways. In order to become an expansive thinker, you have to start practicing openness and positive thinking about your circumstances.
Your mind is also like a computer. It’s shaped by how it’s programmed and needs continual updating to keep it safe from viruses in order to stay fast. Additionally, negative self talk is the virus, and it must be replaced before it takes over. Therefore, in order to win the fight of Rigid vs Expansive Mindsets, you must start capturing thoughts that come from negative beliefs about yourself and start replacing those beliefs.
“You Can’t Overcome What You Refuse To Acknowledge.”-Stephen Scoggins
Does all this sound overwhelming? Don’t worry. We’ve created powerful tools to help you change your beliefs and shift from being stuck to being unstoppable. They’ll accelerate your journey and help you find your strengths so that you can make a plan to sharpen them.