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How to Develop a Mindset for Success

How to Develop a Mindset for Success

If you’d like to be more successful in your life, working on your mindset can greatly help you.

Here’s how to develop a mindset for success.

1. Learn to think big

In The Magic of Thinking Big, author David Schwartz gives suggestions to help you develop creative power through belief. He writes, “Eliminate the word impossible from your thinking and speaking vocabularies. Impossible is a failure word. The thought ‘It’s impossible’ sets off a chain reaction of other thoughts to prove you’re right.” He then advises us to think of something we’ve been wanting to do but felt we couldn’t, and make a list of the reasons why we can do it. When we start thinking big and believing things can be done, our minds start working for us to find solutions to our problems.

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It’s possible for you to do work you love, be very successful, find your passion, and build a life you love, and it starts with being able to think big. For some thought-provoking questions to help you think big and discover your passion, click here.

2. Make decisions from the viewpoint of “future you”

Think about future you. Future you is the best possible version of you. Future you is the person you most want to be. It’s the “you” that lives your priorities and reaches big goals. What does future you want you to do today?

Does future you want you to go running tomorrow morning, or hit the snooze button a few times? Does future you want you to stay another year at the job you don’t like, or be brave enough to find your dream job? Does future you want you to take action toward a meaningful goal tonight, or mindlessly scroll through your social media newsfeeds?

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Let the viewpoint of future you guide you as you make decisions in your daily life.

3. Rephrase your self-talk

Start paying attention to how you talk to your friends versus how you talk to yourself. If a friend says, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” you’d say, “Oh, that’s awesome! If anyone can do it, you can! I’m here to cheer you on; you’re going to do great! You’ve got this! Now go crush your goal!”

Compare that to how we often talk to ourselves. If we tell ourselves, “I want to lose 30 pounds,” we look in the mirror and say, “Ya, right. You’ve tried before and failed. There’s no way you can do it. You’re too far gone now, why even try? You’ll never keep up an exercise habit. Healthy eating? Hahahaaaa. Nope.”

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I want you to start treating yourself with the utmost respect. Start talking to yourself in a kind, encouraging, supportive way, as you would your best friend. One way you can work on your self-talk is by rephrasing your sentences. Instead of saying, “I can’t,” rephrase it to, “I don’t know how — yet — but I can learn.”

4. Take action even when you’re scared

One of the best ways to build your confidence is by taking steps out of your comfort zone. When you learn to act even when you’re scared, your confidence and momentum build. You don’t have to start by taking massive leaps out of your comfort zone. Just start taking one baby step each day. Strike up a conversation with a stranger, try a different spice in a recipe, or ask that person on a date.

You can let fear guide your life, or you can learn to act even when you’re afraid. Working toward big goals and building the life of your dreams will require you to move outside of your comfort zone, and although it’s scary, it’s incredibly rewarding.

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5. Set goals that align with your priorities

No matter how ambitious you are, and how successful you are according to society, it’s tough to feel truly fulfilled in your life if you’re not living your life according to your priorities. Define what a successful life means to you. Does it mean reaching a certain income level and building a strong financial legacy? Does it mean having a great work-life balance? Does it mean building your own business? Does it mean raising kids who are kind, helpful people? It’s important to think about what it means to you to be successful, and set goals that align with your priorities, so you can work toward your version of success in a way that feels authentic and fulfilling.

Developing a mindset for success is not an overnight process, but it can be done. Continue to work on your mindset and your life will change in amazing ways!

Featured photo credit: Jakob Montrasio / https://flickr.com via flickr.com

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Dr. Kerry Petsinger

Entrepreneur, Mindset & Performance Coach, & Doctor of Physical Therapy

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Last Updated on August 20, 2019

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Becoming Self-Taught (The How-To Guide)

Most of the skills I use to make a living are skills I’ve learned on my own: Web design, desktop publishing, marketing, personal productivity skills, even teaching! And most of what I know about science, politics, computers, art, guitar-playing, world history, writing, and a dozen other topics, I’ve picked up outside of any formal education.

This is not to toot my own horn at all; if you stop to think about it, much of what you know how to do you’ve picked up on your own. But we rarely think about the process of becoming self-taught. This is too bad, because often, we shy away from things we don’t know how to do without stopping to think about how we might learn it — in many cases, fairly easily.

The way you approach the world around you dictates to a great degree whether you will find learning something new easy or hard. Learning comes easily to people who have developed:

Curiosity

Being curious means you look forward to learning new things and are troubled by gaps in your understanding of the world. New words and ideas are received as challenges and the work of understanding them is embraced.

People who lack curiosity see learning new things as a chore — or worse, as beyond their capacities.

Patience

Depending on the complexity of a topic, learning something new can take a long time. And it’s bound to be frustrating as you grapple with new terminologies, new models, and apparently irrelevant information.

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When you are learning something by yourself, there is nobody to control the flow of information, to make sure you move from basic knowledge to intermediate and finally advanced concepts.

Patience with your topic, and more importantly with yourself is crucial — there’s no field of knowledge that someone in the world hasn’t managed to learn, starting from exactly where you are.

A Feeling for Connectedness

This is the hardest talent to cultivate, and is where most people flounder when approaching a new topic.

A new body of knowledge is always easiest to learn if you can figure out the way it connects to what you already know. For years, I struggled with calculus in college until one day, my chemistry professor demonstrated how to do half-life calculations using integrals. From then on, calculus came much easier, because I had made a connection between a concept I understood well (the chemistry of half-lifes) and a field I had always struggled in (higher maths).

The more you look for and pay attention to the connections between different fields, the more readily your mind will be able to latch onto new concepts.

With a learning attitude in place, working your way into a new topic is simply a matter of research, practice, networking, and scheduling:

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1. Research

Of course, the most important step in learning something new is actually finding out stuff about it. I tend to go through three distinct phases when I’m teaching myself a new topic:

Learning the Basics

Start as all things start today: Google it! Somehow people managed to learn before Google ( I learned HTML when Altavista was the best we got!) but nowadays a well-formed search on Google will get you a wealth of information on any topic in seconds.

Surfing Wikipedia articles is a great way to get a basic grounding in a new field, too — and usually the Wikipedia entry for your search term will be on the first page of your Google search.

What I look for is basic information and then the work of experts — blogs by researchers in a field, forums about a topic, organizational websites, magazines. I subscribe to a bunch of RSS feeds to keep up with new material as it’s posted, I print out articles to read in-depth later, and I look for the names of top authors or top books in the field.

Hitting the Books

Once I have a good outline of a field of knowledge, I hit the library. I look up the key names and titles I came across online, and then scan the shelves around those titles for other books that look interesting.

Then, I go to the children’s section of the library and look up the same call numbers — a good overview for teens is probably going to be clearer, more concise, and more geared towards learning than many adult books.

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Long-Term Reference

While I’m reading my stack of books from the library, I start keeping my eyes out for books I will want to give a permanent place on my shelves. I check online and brick-and-mortar bookstores, but also search thrift stores, used bookstores, library book sales, garage sales, wherever I happen to find myself in the presence of books.

My goal is a collection of reference manuals and top books that I will come back to either to answer thorny questions or to refresh my knowledge as I put new skills into practice. And to do this cheaply and quickly.

2. Practice

Putting new knowledges into practice helps us develop better understandings now and remember more later. Although a lot of books offer exercises and self-tests, I prefer to jump right in and build something: a website, an essay, a desk, whatever.

A great way to put any new body of knowledge into action is to start a blog on it — put it out there for the world to see and comment on.

Just don’t lock your learning up in your head where nobody ever sees how much you know about something, and you never see how much you still don’t know.

3. Network

One of the most powerful sources of knowledge and understanding in my life have been the social networks I have become embedded in over the years — the websites I write on, the LISTSERV I belong to, the people I talk with and present alongside at conferences, my colleagues in the department where I studied and the department where I now teach, and so on.

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These networks are crucial to extending my knowledge in areas I am already involved, and for referring me to contacts in areas where I have no prior experience. Joining an email list, emailing someone working in the field, asking colleagues for recommendations, all are useful ways of getting a foothold in a new field.

Networking also allows you to test your newly-acquired knowledge against others’ understandings, giving you a chance to grow and further develop.

4. Schedule

For anything more complex than a simple overview, it pays to schedule time to commit to learning. Having the books on the shelf, the top websites bookmarked, and a string of contacts does no good if you don’t give yourself time to focus on reading, digesting, and implementing your knowledge.

Give yourself a deadline, even if there is no externally imposed time limit, and work out a schedule to reach that deadline.

Final Thoughts

In a sense, even formal education is a form of self-guided learning — in the end, a teacher can only suggest and encourage a path to learning, at best cutting out some of the work of finding reliable sources to learn from.

If you’re already working, or have a range of interests beside the purely academic, formal instruction may be too inconvenient or too expensive to undertake. That doesn’t mean you have to set aside the possibility of learning, though; history is full of self-taught successes.

At its best, even a formal education is meant to prepare you for a life of self-guided learning; with the power of the Internet and the mass media at our disposal, there’s really no reason not to follow your muse wherever it may lead.

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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