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Last Updated on January 12, 2021

Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck

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Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck

Most people struggle with mastering their mindset, they feel stuck in their lives, careers, and relationships. They struggle to find a way to move forward. They have big dreams, but they feel like something is holding them back.

If you feel this way, you are not alone.

Most people want to increase their productivity and profitability. They want to have better relationships and better lives. However, getting unstuck is about having a better mindset and tactics. Ignoring the mindset will not lead to durable change.

In this article, I will mention five questions that have the potential to help you master your mind, gain a better understanding of your emotions, manage your time better and help you get unstuck.

A positive mindset is the most powerful weapon in your quest for success. The road to success is hard,  it is full of obstacles, and adversity. If you doubt yourself, you won’t be able to attain the success that you deserve.

Mastering your mindset requires you to unleash your inner strength, avoid negative self-talk, and ask yourself the tough questions:

1. What Is Holding You Down?

“The hard choices—what we most fear doing, asking, saying—these are very often exactly what we most need to do.” — Tim Ferris

My inner voice held me down for a long time. It convinced me that I was not smart enough, strong enough or good enough to do what I was trying to do. I finally learned to silence my inner voice and go after my dreams.

If you feel stuck and your inner voice is holding you down. Ignore that voice.

Some people allow fears to keep them stuck in their situations. Fear has the ability to keep you stuck and control your mindset. Tim Ferris silence his fear by stating his fear out loud,

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“By becoming familiar with the worst case scenario, you begin to melt the fear holding you back.”

He designed an exercise called ‘fear-setting,”[1] Ferris learned when he faced his fear on paper, it was easier to defeat it in real life. He understood that fear was holding him down and preventing him from accomplishing his goals.

What is holding you down?

2. Whose Permission Are You Looking For?

“You Don’ t need permission to chase your dreams. Go execute.”  — Gary Vaynerchuk

You do not need anyone’s permission to be yourself and to share your gifts. Gary Vaynerchuk, a serial entrepreneur and New York Times Best Selling Author, wants to write a new book about giving yourself permission to do your thing.[2] He believes that the only permission you need to be yourself is your own permission. Give yourself permission to be great.

When you want something, go for it. Do not wait for others to approve your choices. If you want to quit your job, quit. You do not need your friend’s approval to do it.  If you want to improve your relationships with your kids, start today. You do not need your ex-wife permission to do it. If you want to lose weight, start eating healthy. Do not worry about what other people think of you.

As a little kid, I was fascinated by writing short stories, but I was too afraid of what other people would say about my writing. I was waiting to be picked, for someone to tap on my shoulder, and ask me to write. I was waiting for permission.

If you want to do something, stop asking for permission, and go make great things happen. When you succeed, your fans will show up, do not worry about them, start shipping your work.

3. What Ignites Your Fire?

“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” — Ferdinand Foch

If you want to get unstuck and grow, you need to start asking yourself, “What ignites my fire?”  Answering this question will get you closer to your goals, and it will help you master your mindset.

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Find out what ignites your fire. What makes you happy? What drives you?

Steve Jobs knew what ignited his fire, he was obsessed about design. His obsession started when he was a little child, he loved the idea of simple and elegant design. Anytime he faced with a problem and felt stuck, he asked himself, “What is my obsession?” The answer was always the same, simple design.[3]

Designing simple products is what ignited his fire. Find out what you are obsessed about, and you will find what ignites your fire.

If you want to get unstuck, adopt the finding the fire mindset, and ask yourself  “What ignites my fire?”

Feeding the fire will keep you focused, motivated and productive. Find and fuel the Fire.

4. What Commitments Are You Making?

“The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”  — Vince Lombardi

If your marriage is not as good as you like it to be, check your commitments. If your relationships with your kids, it is not where it should be, revisit your commitments. If you are not earning the money that you like to earn, recheck your commitments.

Your commitments are the bridge between you and your ideal life. Commitment is a mindset that is guaranteed to get your unstuck from any situation you find yourself in.

Being stuck is not about lack of knowledge, it is about lack of execution. If you want to execute your plans, adopt a commitment mindset.

Commitment mindset is about accountability and ownership. If you want better results in life, own your problems. If you want faster results, be accountable for your work. Commitment is the bridge between you and your goals.

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If you want to get unstuck, commit to doing the work. Ken Blanchard talks about the importance of commitment,

“There’s a difference between interest and commitment. When you’re interested in doing something, you do it only when it’s convenient. When you’re committed to something, you accept no excuses; only results.”

If you want to get unstuck and move your life forward, stop accepting excuses, and commit to doing the work.

5. What Change Are You Seeking?

“In any given moment we have two options: to step forward into growth or step back into safety.” — Abraham Maslow

If you want to master your mindset, you have to be clear about the change that you are seeking.

Are you trying to have a better work-life balance? Are you trying to launch your first business? Are you trying to regain your health? Are you trying to manage your emotion better? Are you trying to build a better relationship with your spouse?

What change are you seeking? Once you get clear on your goals, it is easier to get unstuck and shift your mindset. Be clear on your goals, and the change that you are seeking.

In 1954, Roger Bannister was 25 years old, a medical student at St. Mary Hospital in London. Bannister was vocal about running a mile in under 4 minutes. He devised a new training regimen, he started to run alone more frequently and with harder intervals. The British press called him a ‘lone wolf’ and suggested that he needed to change his regimen if he is serious about competing.[4]

He would spend hours envisioning himself crossing the finish line in under 4 minutes. He shifted his mindset  from “This is an impossible goal” to “I want to be the first to do this.”

At that time, it was considered a physical impossibility to do that, but he focused on psychological training more than his physical training. He started to master his mindset. Bell Taylor wrote in HBR that Bannister understood that he had to overcome a psychological barrier first and a physical barrier second.[5] On May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister ran a mile in under four minutes – 3:59.4 to be exact becoming the first human being ever to do so.

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Roger Bannister silenced his inner voice, gave himself the permission to be great, understood that running alone ignited his fire, made a promise to be the first human to break the 4-minute mile, and he was very clear about the change he was seeking.

Final Thoughts

If you are stuck, ask yourself the above five questions. Once you answer them, you will realize that you are more powerful and capable than you realize.

Stop letting fear, society and your inner voice slow you down. You have the power within yourself to follow your own dreams and achieve your goals.

It starts in your head, and your head can be a scary place to be. Don’t allow your negative mindset to take control of our own feeling. A little self-criticism is a good thing, it can be a reality check that recalibrate your actions. On the other hand, excessive self-criticism tends to prevent you from moving forward and cause you to identify with your shortcomings.

Instead of beating yourself up, and identifying yourself with your shortcoming, take a few deep breaths and reflect. Instead of saying I’m a failure, say I failed at this project. Do not say I’m a smoker, say I smoke. Focus on the action that you like to change instead of focusing on your feeling.

Start practicing positive talk, instead of saying I’m overweight, say I would like to lose 5 pounds and I know how to do it. Make the choice to be kind to yourself, and stop all negative self-talk.

Answering these five questions will unleash your inner strength, allow you to master your mindset, and get you unstuck from any undesired situation you find yourself in.

These answers will be your guide to master your mind, build better relationships, manage your time, conquer your crises, overcome daily obstacles and increase your productivity.

More Resources to Help You Get Unstuck

Featured photo credit: Luke Southern via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Luay Rahil

Luay Rahil is a speaker, and the Founder of Lead with Integrity.

Why Are You Stuck? 5 Questions to Shift Your Mindset And Get Unstuck Why Negative Self Talk Is Bad for You (And How to End It in 3 Steps) How to Find Happiness in Your Everyday Life

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Last Updated on October 7, 2021

How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

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How to Make a Change With the Four Quadrants of Change

Quitting smoking is the easiest thing in the world. Some people quit smoking a thousand times in their lives! Everyone knows someone with this mindset.

But this type of change is superficial. It doesn’t last. For real, lasting change to take place, we need to consider the quadrants of change.

Real change, the change that is fundamental, consistent, and longitudinal (lasting over time) has to happen in four quadrants of your life.

It doesn’t have to be quitting smoking; it can be any habit you want to break — drinking, biting your nails, overeating, playing video games, shopping, and more.

Most experts focus on only one area of change, some focus on two areas, but almost none focus on all four quadrants of change. That’s why much of change management fails.

Whether it is in the personal life of a single individual through actions and habits, or in a corporate environment, regarding the way they conduct their business, current change management strategies are lacking.

It all stems from ignoring at least one part of the equation.

So, today, we will cover all four quadrants of change and learn the formula for how to change fundamentally and never go back to your “old self.”

A word of warning: this is simple to do, but it’s not easy. Anyone who tells you that change is easy is either trying to sell you something, or they have no idea what they’re talking about.

Those who want an overnight solution have left the article now, so that leaves you, me, and the real process of change.

The Four Quadrants of Change

There are four areas, or quadrants, in which you need to make a change in order for it to stick. If you miss or ignore a single one of these, your change won’t stick, and you will go back to your previous behavior.

The four quadrants are:

  1. Internal individual – mindset
  2. External individual – behavior
  3. Internal collective – culture/support system
  4. External collective – laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

All four of these quadrants of change may sound like they could carry change all by themselves, but they can’t. So, be sure to implement your change in all four quadrants. Otherwise, it will all be in vain.

First Quadrant — Internal Individual

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of an individual, and it concerns itself with the mindset of a person.

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Our actions stem from our thoughts (most of the time), and if we change our mindset toward something, we will begin to process of changing the way we act.

People who use the law of attraction fall into this category, where they’ve recognized the strength of thoughts and how they make us change ourselves.

Even Lao Tzu had a great saying regarding this:

“Watch your thoughts. They become words. Watch your words. They become deeds. Watch your deeds. They become habits. Watch your habits. They become character. Character is everything.” [1]

One of the most impactful ways you can make a change in this quadrant is to implement what James Clear calls identity-based habits. [2]

Instead of prioritizing the outcome of a change (ex.: I want to lose 20 pounds), you prioritize your identity as a person (I want to become/remain a healthy person).

Here are a couple of examples for you to see the strength of this kind of resolution:

I want to watch many movies = I am a cinema lover
I want to clean my apartment = I am a clean person
I want to harvest my crops = I am a harvester (farmer)
I want to swim = I am a swimmer

This quadrant is about changing the identity you attach to a certain action. Once you re-frame your thinking in this way, you will have completed the first of the quadrants of change.

Second Quadrant — External Individual

This quadrant focuses on the external world of an individual and concerns itself with the behavior of a person.

This is where people like Darren Hardy, the author of the Compound Effect reside. Hardy is about doing small, consistent actions that will create change in the long run (the compound effect).

You want to lose 30 pounds? Start by eating just 150 calories (approximately two slices of bread) less a day, and in two and a half years, you will have lost 30 pounds.

The same rules apply to business, investing, sports, and multiple other areas. Small, consistent actions can create big changes.

This works — I’ve read 20 extra pages a day for the past two years, and it accumulated into 90 books read in two years. [3]

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Here, you have two ways of dealing with change behaviorally: negative environmental design and positive environmental design.

Negative Environmental Design

This is when you eliminate the things from your environment that revert you to the old behavior. If you want to stop eating ice cream, you don’t keep it in your freezer.

If you want to stop watching TV, you remove the batteries from the remote and put them on the other side of the house (it works!).

Positive Environmental Design

This is when you put the things that you want to do withing reach — literally!

You want to learn how to play guitar? Put your guitar right next to your sofa. You want to head to the gym? Put the gym clothes in a backpack and put it on top of your shoes.

You want to read more books? Have a book on your nightstand, your kitchen table, and on the sofa.

You can even combine this last trick with my early advice about removing the batteries from your remote control, combining the negative and positive environmental designs for maximum effect.

Two Sides of the Same Coin

If you just change your behavior and leave your intentions (thoughts) intact, your discipline will fail you and the real change won’t happen.

You will simply revert back to the previous behavior because you haven’t changed the fundamental root of why this problem occurs in the first place.

That is why you need to create change both in the first quadrant (internal individual — mindset) and the second quadrant (external individual — behavior). These quadrants of change are two sides of the same coin.

Most change management would stop here, and that’s why most change management fails.

No matter how much you focus on yourself, there are things that affect our lives that are happening outside of us. That is the focus of the two remaining quadrants.

Third Quadrant — Internal Collective

This quadrant focuses on the internal world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the culture of that collective.

There are two different distinctions here: the Inner Ring and the Outer Ring.

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The Inner Ring

These are your friends and your family. The Inner Ring is the place where the social and cultural norms of your friends and family rule.

So, if everyone in your family is overweight and every lunch is 1,000 calories per person, then you can say goodbye to your idea of becoming healthy.

In this case, the culture of your group, the inner norms that guide the decisions, actions, thoughts, ideas, and patterns of behaviors are all focused on eating as much as possible. [4]

You need to have the support of your Inner Ring if you want to achieve change. If you don’t have this support, the the best way to proceed is by either changing your entire Inner Ring or distancing yourself from it.

Beware — most Inner Rings won’t accept the fact that you want to change and will undermine you on many occasions — some out of habit, some due to jealousy, and some because supporting you would mean that they have to change, too.

You don’t have to cut ties with people, but you can consciously decide to spend less time with them.

The Outer Ring

The Outer Ring consists of the culture of your company, community, county, region, and country. For example, it’s quite hard to be an open-minded person in North Nigeria, no matter how you, your friends, and your family think.

The Outer Ring is the reason why young people move to the places that share their value systems instead of staying in their current city, county, or country.

Sometimes, you need to change your Outer Ring as well because its culture is preventing you from changing.

I see this every single day in my country, where the culture can be so toxic that it doesn’t matter how great of a job you have or how great your life currently looks — the culture will change you, inch by inch, until you become like it.

Fourth Quadrant — External Collective

This quadrant focuses on the external world of the collective where the individual resides, and it concerns itself with the systems, teams, laws, and rules of that collective.

This quadrant is about the external manifestations of the collective culture. If the majority of the environment thinks in a certain way, they will create institutions that will implement that way of thinking.

The same rules apply to companies.

One example for companies would be those managers who think that employees are lazy, lack responsibility, and need constant supervision (or what is called Theory X in management).

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Then, those managers implement systems that reflect that kind of culture– no flexible work hours, strict rules about logging work, no remote work, etc.

Your thoughts, however, may be different. You might believe that people want responsibility, that they are capable of self-direction, that they can make good decisions, and that managers don’t need to stand on their necks if they want something done (this is called Theory Y in management).

Then, you would want to have flexible working hours, different ways of measuring your productivity (for example, not time on the job but work produced), and remote work, if possible for your profession.

This is when you enter into a conflict with the external collective quadrant. Here, you have four options: leave, persevere, neglect, and voice.

Leave

You can simply leave the company/organization/community/country and go to a different place. Most people decide to do this.

Persevere

This is when you see that the situation isn’t good, but you decide to stick at it and wait for the perfect time (or position) where you can implement change.

Neglect

This is where you give up on the change you want to see and just go with the flow, doing the minimal work necessary to keep the status quo.

These are the people who are disengaged at work and are doing just the bare minimum necessary (which, in the U.S. is around 65% of the workforce).

I did this only once, and it’s probably the only thing I regret doing in my life.

Voice

This is where you actively work on changing the situation, and the people in charge know that you want to create a change.

It doesn’t matter if it’s your company, community, or your country; you are actively calling for a change and will not stop until it’s implemented.

Putting It All Together

When you take it all into account, change is simple, in theory, but it isn’t easy to execute. It takes work in all four quadrants:

  1. Internal individual — mindset
  2. External individual — behavior
  3. Internal collective — culture/support system
  4. External collective — laws, rules, regulations, teams, systems, states

Some will require more work, some less, but you will need to create a change in all four of them.

But don’t let that discourage you because change is possible, and many people have done this. The best time to start changing was yesterday, but the second best time is today.

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Featured photo credit: Djim Loic via unsplash.com

Reference

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