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Published on February 3, 2020

12 Mindset Books To Grow Your Mindset And Change Your Life

12 Mindset Books To Grow Your Mindset And Change Your Life

When you first dive into self-improvement or brain development, you might get suggestions to read a mindset book. Or maybe someone will quote a particular book.

Whatever the case may be, one good decision we can make in our lives is deciding to take up reading in order to improve ourselves. Over the years, there have been numerous authors who have written powerful and inspiring books. These have pushed people to new heights in the development of their mindset. Both young and older alike.

But because there are so many books to choose from, I want to provide you with a comprehensive list of books. These are books that I find powerful and have shaped my life over the years. And I believe they can do the same for you.

Before diving into the list, it’s important to cover why bother reading in the first place. Just because I’ve read plenty of books doesn’t mean others are going to get the exact same experience as myself.

While every person’s experience in reading a book is different, every book has a base value for people. Not only are we improving our reading and comprehension skills, but these books provide extensive knowledge.

We have no idea what is going to resonate with us and help us see things from a new perspective. But all the same, that can change our lives around as we will see our problems differently.

As I said, there are numerous books with vast knowledge for us. Regardless of when the book was published, many mindset books are still appropriate in today’s society. Most – if not all – mindset books are evergreen after all.

Below are some of my top picks for books to consider. They’re not in any particular order so pick the ones that strike your fancy.

1. The Power Of Habit

    The first I want to cover is The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg. After that book, he also published Smarter Faster Better which is another I’d recommend.

    But getting back to Power of Habit, Duhigg argues in the book that 40% of our daily activities stem from the habits that we form. In order to prove this theory, Duhigg worked with neurological researchers and conducted studies where people broke several bad habits and tested to see if brain activity changed as a result.

    What they found was interesting and led to one clear message:

    No matter how many bad habits that you have, you can change them all if you focus on breaking one of them.

    Duhigg then translates that into practical uses people can use in business and society.

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    Check out the book here!

    2. The Happiness Project

      For those of us looking for more balance, this is a mindset book you want to pick up. In the book, author Gretchen Rubin conducted a self-experiment for a year.

      In it, Rubin broke happiness into 12 sub-categories and every month she focused on one of those aspects.

      The insights and the stories that she provided are insightful and inspiring and in the end, it looks like she achieved her balance.

      Check out the book here!

      3. Search Inside Yourself

        A book written by Chade-Meng Tan, Tan works at Google to this day. He started off as a software engineer but changed roles later on. He’s now a personal growth coach with a focus on mindfulness.

        The book focuses a lot on the subject. Specifically, he focuses on emotional intelligence. To Tan, mastering this intelligence is the key to higher productivity, health, and peace.

        Check out the book here!

        4. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff

          Written by Richard Carlson, this is an older book but still a great one. In many cases of mindset books, it sometimes pays to have books serve as reminders for things we already know.

          In this case, this book reminds us that the small challenges and frustrations do build up.

          And the best way to remove them is to not worry so much about the small stuff.

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          Check out the book here!

          5. Loveability

            Written by Richard Holden, Ph. D., this is a mindset book that touches on advice for giving and receiving love — both internally and externally. This book also explores broader definitions of love that we tend to forget.

            Holden believes that love is everywhere, even in relationships we’re not fond of. To him, the absence of love is fear rather than hate. Because of this, he offers unique positions to offer love at all levels.

            Check out the book here!

            6. The 52 Weeks: Two Women and Their Quest to Get Unstuck, with Stories and Ideas to Jumpstart Your Year of Discovery

              Written by Karen Young and Pam Godwin, this can look like a chick non-fiction book but there are some powerful insights for everyone. The idea with this book is two authors set off to go on one new adventure every week for a year.

              Each new activity was a small goal, but each one achieved brought the two to realize something:

              It was that life is all about learning, experiencing and growing.

              This book also covers advice from psychologists and life coaches which is practical and sound too.

              Check out the book here!

              7. Prisons We Choose To Live Inside

                Written by Doris Lessing, this is a book published in the 80’s that is still relevant today. It’s not so much a book but rather a series of essays based on what Lessing gave back then.

                This book goes into explaining how societal groups shape our own perception of reality. From church to politics and government, these groups teach us to define who is good and bad.

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                From those beliefs, we insist that we are right and that our actions are justified whenever we try to “fix” people or treat others poorly. All in all this book challenges our own perceptions of the world.

                Check out the book here!

                8. The Myth of More

                  In this book, Joseph Novello challenges the belief that happiness brings us pleasure. When we buy a new home, get a promotion or a new car, we are happier.

                  Novello spends his time digging into these ideas and why these things will never make us happy. Instead, he pushes us to find pleasure in seeking.

                  This book may come off a bit dry, but there are strong stories, good humour and enough poignancy to keep peoples attention.

                  Check out the book here!

                  9. 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People

                    As I suggested above, a shift in habits can change your life around. While it’s smart to replace those bad habits with something better, there are other habits that we could adopt. My suggestion is the habits that are outlined in this book.

                    Written by Stephen R Covey, this book takes the habits from the best leaders around and stuffed them into a single book. But what’s nice about this is that Covey spends time in the book talking about mindset too.

                    He challenges the reader to change their approach to productivity, time management, and positive thinking. All aspects that fuel a mindset.

                    Check out the book here!

                    10. Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

                      The premise of this book is to challenge your thought process on experiences.

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                      For many of us, our fondest memories are vacation trips we took or a memorable dinner with family. What this book does is shakes those memories and challenges us to have a fondness for other things. Like times we put in more effort at work to achieve a goal.

                      The book expands on those points and shows us how we can bring flow into our life and use that to achieve great things.

                      Check out the book here!

                      11. Thinking Fast And Slow

                        Another solid pick is Thinking Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. Kahneman digs into psychology to help us unlock the code of how we come to the decisions that we make.

                        He starts by breaking down our thought process into two systems and highlighting how each system influences our decision-making.

                        Regardless of what industry your in or how complicated your decisions have to be, this book will provide help in understanding how we think. This can lead to us making better and smarter decisions.

                        Check out the book here!

                        12. Awaken the Giant Within

                          The final book I’ll cover is one written by Tony Robbins. He’s a famous speaker and has published several books. For this book, in particular, Robbins provides actionable steps and strategies to help us regain control of our emotional self.

                          The theory of this book is that when we have control internally, we’ll be able to steer ourselves externally. It’s an interesting read and it challenges you about your own perception of yourself.

                          Check out the book here!

                          Final Thoughts

                          The list of mindset books to try out is extensive but each one is well thought out. There is a reason why these books take up such a large section in book stores after all.

                          People are always looking for ways to optimize their life. For many, we feel like we are lacking in some areas and these books can provide the key. And based on the fact that many of these authors have spent years through self-experimentation and/or research, they’re providing great advice!

                          More Inspirational Books

                          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

                          More by this author

                          Leon Ho

                          Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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                          Published on May 26, 2020

                          7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

                          7 Most Effective Problem Solving Techniques That Smart People Use

                          Problems are, by their very nature, problematic. There are life problems, work problems, creative problems, and relationship problems. When we’re lucky, intuition takes over, and we solve a problem right away. When we’re not so lucky, we get stuck.

                          We might spend weeks or even months obsessing over how to write that term paper, get out of debt, or win back the love of our life. But instead of obsessing, let’s look at some effective problem solving techniques that people in the know rely on.

                          Ideation Vs Evaluation

                          It’s important to first understand and separate two stages of creativity before we look at effective problem solving techniques. Ideation is like brainstorming. It’s the stage of creativity where we’re looking for as many possible solutions as we can think of. There’s no judgment or evaluation of ideas at this stage. More is more.

                          After we’ve come up with as many solutions as possible, only then can we move onto the evaluation stage. This is when we analyze each possible solution and think about what works and what doesn’t. Here’s when all those good ideas from ideation rise to the top and the outlandish and impractical ones are abandoned.

                          7 Problem Solving Techniques That Work

                          Everyone has different ways of solving problems. Some are more creative, some are more organized. Some prefer to work on problems alone, others with a group. Check out the problem solving techniques below and find one that works for you.

                          1. Lean on Your Squad

                          The first of our seven problem solving techniques is to surround yourself with people you trust. Sometimes problems can be solved alone, but other times, you need some help.

                          There’s a concept called emergence that begins to explain why groups may be better for certain kinds of problem solving. Steven Johnson describes emergence as bottom up system organization.[1] My favorite example is an ant colony. Ants don’t have a president or boss telling them what to do. Instead, the complicated organization of the ant colony comes out of each individual ant just fulfilling their biological destiny.

                          Group creativity can also take on an emergent quality. When individuals really listen to, support, and add onto each other’s ideas, the sum of that group creativity can be much more than what any individual could have created on their own.

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                          Therefore, if you are struggling to solve a problem, you may want to find a group of people with whom you can collaborate, so you can start riffing with them about possible solutions.

                          2. Regulate Your Emotions

                          The next of the problem solving techniques is to be honest about how you’re feeling. We can’t solve problems as efficiently when we’re stressed out or upset, so starting with some emotional self-awareness goes a long way in helping us problem solve.

                          Dr. Daniel Siegel famously tells us to “Name it to tame it.” [2] He’s talking about naming our feelings, which offers us a better chance of regulating ourselves. I have to know that I’m stressed or upset if I want to calm down quickly in order to get back to a more optimal problem-solving state.

                          After you know how you’re feeling, you can take steps to regulate that feeling. If you’re feeling stressed out or upset, you can take a walk or try breathing exercises. Mindfulness exercises can also help you regain your sense of presence.

                          3. Listen

                          One thing that good problem solvers do is listen. They collect all the information they can and process it carefully before even attempting to solve the problem.

                          It’s tempting to jump right in and start problem solving before the scope of the problem is clear. But that’s a mistake.

                          Smart problem solvers listen carefully in order to get as many points of view and perspectives as possible. This allows them to gain a better understanding of the problem, which gives them a huge advantage in solving that problem.

                          4. Don’t Label Ideas as Bad…Yet

                          The fourth of the seven problem solving techniques is to gather as many possible solutions as you can. There are no bad ideas…yet.

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                          Think back to the two stages of creativity. When we are in the ideation stage, we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas, input, and possible solutions.

                          When we evaluate, judge, and criticize during the ideation stage, we inadvertently hamper creativity. One possible outcome of evaluating during ideation is creative suppression.[3]

                          When someone responds to someone else’s creative input with judgment or criticism, creative suppression can occur if the person who had the idea shuts down because of that judgment or criticism.

                          Imagine you’re at a meeting brainstorming ways to boost your sales numbers. You suggest hiring a new team member, but your colleague rolls their eyes and says that can’t happen since the numbers are already down.

                          Now, your colleague may be 100% correct. However, their comment might make you shut down for the rest of the meeting, which means your team won’t be getting any more possible solutions from you.

                          If your colleague had waited to evaluate the merits of your idea until after the brainstorming session, your team could have come up with more possible solutions to their current problem.

                          During the ideation stage, more is more. We want as many ideas as possible, so reserve the evaluation until there’s no more ideating left to do.

                          Another trick for better ideating is to “Yes And” each other’s ideas[4] In improvisation, there’s a principle known as “Yes And.” It means that one improviser should agree with the other’s idea for the scene and then add a new detail onto that reality.

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                          For example, if someone says, “I can’t hear over your loud music,” the other person needs to go along with that idea and then add onto it. They might say, “Sorry, I’ll turn it down, but I don’t think everyone else here at the club will appreciate it.”

                          Now the scene is getting interesting. We’re in a club, and the DJ is going to turn the music down. Playing “Yes And” with each other made the scene better by filling in details about who and where the improvisers are.

                          Yes Anding also works well during ideation sessions. Since we’ve already established that we shouldn’t be evaluating each other’s ideas yet, Yes Anding gives us something we can do. We can see the merits of each other’s ideas and try to build on them. This will make all of our possible solutions more fully realized than a simple laundry list.

                          5. Approach Problems With Playfulness

                          Approaching problem solving too seriously can exacerbate the problem. Sometimes we get too fixated on finding solutions and lose a sense of playfulness and fun.

                          It makes sense. When there are deadlines and people counting on us, we can try to force solutions, but stepping back and approaching problems from a more playful perspective can lead to more innovative solutions.

                          Think about how children approach problem solving. They don’t have the wealth of wisdom that decades on this planet give. Instead, they play around and try out imaginative and sometimes unpractical approaches.

                          That’s great for problem solving. Instead of limiting ourselves to how things have always been done, a sense of play and playfulness can lead us to truly innovative, out-of-the-box solutions.

                          6. Let the Unconscious Mind Roam

                          This may seem counterintuitive, but another technique to try when you become too fixated on a problem is to take a break to let the unconscious mind take over for a bit.

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                          Our conscious brain can only handle a limited amount of information at a time. Plus, it’s energetically exhausting to use our conscious brain for problem solving. Think about a time when you were studying for a test. It’s draining.[5]

                          But we’re in luck. There’s another part of our brain that isn’t draining and can integrate tons more information at a time—our unconscious.

                          This is why you come up with your best ideas in the shower or on your way to work or while you’re jogging. When you give your conscious brain a break, your unconscious has a chance to sift through mounds of information to arrive at solutions.

                          It’s how I write my articles. With my conscious brain, I think about which article I’m going to write. My problem is how to write it, so once I think carefully about the topic, I take a break. Then, the structure, sources, content, and sometimes phrasing happens in fits and starts while I’m not thinking about the article at all. It happens when I’m lying in bed, showering, and walking in the woods.

                          The key is to get in the habit of practicing this alternation between conscious and unconscious problem solving and to absolutely not force solutions. Sometimes, you just need to take a little break.

                          7. Be Candid

                          The last of the problem solving techniques happens during the evaluation stage. If we’re going to land on the best possible solution to our problems, we have to be able to openly and honestly evaluate ideas.

                          During the evaluating stage, criticism and feedback need to be delivered honestly and respectfully. If an idea doesn’t work, that needs to be made clear. The goal is that everyone should care about and challenge each other. This creates an environment where people take risks and collaborate because they trust that everyone has their best interest in mind and isn’t going to pull any punches.

                          Final Thoughts

                          In order to come up with the best solutions for problems, ideation and evaluation have to be two distinct steps in the creative process. Then, you should tap into some of the above techniques to get your ideas organized and your problems solved.

                          Hopefully, these seven problem solving techniques will help your problems be less…problematic.

                          More Tips for Problem Solving

                          Featured photo credit: Daria Nepriakhina via unsplash.com

                          Reference

                          [1] Steven Johnson: Emergence
                          [2] Dr. Dan Siegel: The whole-brain child
                          [3] American Psychological Association: Creative mortification
                          [4] Play Your Way Sane: And What?: Yes And
                          [5] Daniel Kahneman: Thinking, Fast and Slow

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