Our mindset is perhaps one of the most powerful things about us. Forget superpowers or money or fame—our mindset has the power to transform the way we see the world, our problems, ourselves, and our success. It alone sets the tone for happiness in our lives.
If we have a mindset rooted in rejection, we will find ourselves seeing rejection everywhere. If we have a mindset defined by failure, we will turn even the most minor shortcomings into catastrophic failures. A mindset of gratitude—it turns everything we have into more than enough.
A beautiful Cherokee legend illustrates it this way:
An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life.
“A fight is going on inside me,” he said to the boy.
“It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego.” He continued, “The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too.”
The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather,
“Which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”
Our mindset is a fluid thing. What we think about becomes our mindset. Like in the legend, we either feed our gratitude, optimism, and resilience—or we feed our anger, fear, shame, and defeat.
There are so many ways we can ensure that we’re feeding the right mindset “wolf”. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Set your intention for the day.
Before you do anything else in the morning, set your intention. Will it be joy? Gratitude? Peace? Compassion? Choose something that resonates with you and you can remember throughout the day when discouragement or distraction try to get you down.
- Put positive things in.
What part of your mindset are you trying to develop? If you want to become more grateful, read a book on gratitude. If you’re working on your perspective on success, find a great podcast to listen to while you work or commute. Be proactive about putting ideas and mantras in that will feed your positive mindset.
The practice of observing your mindset is one that will help you be more aware when it begins to default back to negative patterns. Taking the time to sit quietly with your mind is healing in many ways and it will teach you to make note of negative mindsets when they first crop up during the day. This practice also allows you to rest your mind.
- Look for other interpretations.
When you don’t get the project you wanted at work, your first interpretation may be that your boss doesn’t trust you or want you to succeed. With a little further reflection, you can find some other interpretations. Maybe they see the great work you’re doing and want you to focus on that. Maybe they gave it to your coworker because they want them to have great opportunities as well. Maybe they passed on you because there are a few other skills you need to work on before you’re ready to tackle a project like that. These are just examples that will hopefully help you see that there is always more than one way to look at a situation.
Pay attention to your mindset throughout the day. Is it negative and critical? Or does it help you see things positively and find solutions? Understanding your default mindset will help you identify what areas you need to begin developing and what “wolf” you should feed.
About Gretchen Hydo
Considered by many to be one of Los Angeles’ top coaches, Gretchen Hydo is an executive business and life coach who helps her clients get more of everything they want. With her background in PR, marketing, and business development, Gretchen gives her clients powerful tools to achieve their goals, break through obstacles, and become laser-focused. Some of the benefits of working with Gretchen include enhanced decision-making skills, greater interpersonal effectiveness, increased confidence, higher productivity, satisfaction with both life and work, and movement in creating and attaining relevant goals.