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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!

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                          Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

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                          Leon Ho

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                          Published on July 29, 2020

                          How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

                          How to Build Strategic Thinking Skills for Effective Leadership

                          Have you been thinking of how you can be a more strategic leader during these uncertain times? Has the pandemic thrown a wrench at all your carefully laid out plans and initiatives?

                          You’re not alone. The truth is, we all want some stability in our careers and teams during this disruptive pandemic.

                          However, this now requires a bit more effort than before and making the leap from merely surviving to thriving means buckling down to some serious strategic thinking and maintaining a determined mindset.

                          Is There a Way to Thrive Despite These Disruptions?

                          Essentially – yes, although you need to be willing to put in the work. Every leader wants to develop strategic thinking skills so that they can enhance overall team performance and boost their company’s success, but what exactly does it mean to be strategic in the context of the times we live in?

                          If you happen to be in a leadership position in your organization right now, you are most probably navigating precarious waters given the disruptions caused by the pandemic. There’s a lot more pressure than before because your actions and decisions will have a much greater impact these days not just on you, but also to the people who are part of your team.

                          Companies often bring me in to coach executives on strategic thinking and planning. And while pre-pandemic I would usually start by highlighting the advantages of strategic thinking, nowadays, I always begin these Zoom coaching sessions by driving home the point that this pandemic has now made strategic thinking not just an option but an absolute must.

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                          Assessing and making plans through the lens of a good strategy might require significant work at first. Nevertheless, you can take comfort in the fact that the rewards will far outweigh the effort, as you’ll soon see after following the 8 strategic steps I have outlined below.

                          8 Steps to Strategic Thinking

                          As events unfold during these strange times, you’re bound to feel wrong-footed every now and then. Being a leader during this pandemic means preparing for more change not just for you, but for your whole team as well.

                          As states and cities go through a cycle of lockdowns and reopening, employees will experience the full gamut of human emotions in dizzying speed, and you will often be called on to provide insight and stability to your team and workplace.

                          Strategic thinking is all about anticipation and preparation. Rather than expending your energy merely helping your company put out fires and survive, you can put the time to better use by charting out a solid plan that can protect and help you and your company thrive.

                          Take the following steps to build solid initiatives and roll out successful projects:

                          Step 1: Step Back, Then Set the Scope

                          One of the things that leaders get wrong during their first attempt at strategic thinking is expecting that it is just another item on a checklist. The truth is, you need to take a good, long look at the bigger picture before anything else. This means decisively prioritizing and stepping away from tasks that can be delegated to others. Free up your schedule so you can focus on this crucial task at hand.

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                          Then, proceed with setting the scope and the strategic goals of the project or initiative you plan to build or execute. Ask yourself the bigger question of why you need to embark on a particular project and when would be the right time to do so.

                          You need to set a timeline as well, anywhere from 6 months to 5 years. Keep in mind that your projections will deteriorate the further out you go as you make longer-term plans.

                          For this reason, add extra resources, flexibility, and resilience if you have a longer timeline. You should also be making the goals less specific if you’re charting it out for the longer term.

                          Step 2: Make a List of Experts

                          Make and keep a list of credible people who can contribute solid insight and feedback to your initiative. This could range from key stakeholders to industry experts, mentors, and even colleagues who previously planned and rolled out similar projects.

                          Reach out to the people on this list regularly while you work through the steps to bring diverse insight into your planning process. This way, you will be able to approach any problem from every angle.

                          Bringing key stakeholders into this initial process will also display your willingness to listen and empathize with their issues. In return, this will build trust and potentially pave the way for smoother buy-in down the line.

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                          Step 3: Anticipate the Future

                          After identifying your goals and gathering feedback, it’s time to consider what the future would look like if everything goes as you intuitively anticipate. Then, lay out the kind and amount of resources (money, time, social capital) that might be needed to keep this anticipated future running.

                          Step 4: Brainstorm on Potential Internal and External Problems

                          Next, think of how the future would look if you encountered unexpected problems internal and external to the business activity that seriously jeopardize your expected vision of the future. Write out what kind of potential problems you might encounter, including low-probability ones.

                          Assess the likelihood that you will run into each problem. To gauge, multiply the likelihood by the number of resources needed to address the problem. Try to convert the resources into money if possible so that you can have a single unit of measurement.

                          Then, think of what steps you can take to address these internal and external problems before they even happen. Write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Lastly, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different possible problems and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

                          Step 5: Identify Potential Opportunities, Internal and External

                          Imagine how your expected plan would look if unexpected opportunities came up. Most of these will be external but consider internal ones as well. Then, gauge the likelihood of each scenario and the number of resources you would need to take advantage of each opportunity. Convert the resources into money if possible.

                          Then, think of what steps you can take in advance to take advantage of unexpected opportunities and write out how much you expect these steps might cost. Finally, add up all the extra resources that may be needed because of the different unexpected opportunities and all the steps you committed to taking to address them in advance.

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                          Step 6: Check for Cognitive Biases

                          Check for potential cognitive biases that are relevant to you personally or to the organization as a whole, and adjust the resources and plans to address such errors.[1] Make sure to at least check for loss aversion, status quo bias, confirmation bias, attentional bias, overconfidence, optimism bias, pessimism bias, and halo and horns effects.

                          Step 7: Account for Unknown Unknowns (Black Swans)

                          To have a more effective strategy, account for black swans as well. These are unknown unknowns -unpredictable events that have potentially severe consequences.

                          To account for these black swans, add 40 percent to the resources you anticipate. Also, consider ways to make your plans more flexible and secure than you intuitively feel is needed.

                          Step 8: Communicate and Take the Next Steps

                          Communicate the plan to your stakeholders, and give them a heads up about the additional resources needed. Then, take the next steps to address the unanticipated problems and take advantage of the opportunities you identified by improving your plans, as well as allocating and reserving resources.

                          Finally, take note that there will be cases when you’ll need to go back and forth these steps to make improvements, (a fix here, an improvement there) so be comfortable with revisiting your strategy and reaching out to your list of experts.

                          Conclusion

                          A great way to deal with feelings of uncertainty during this pandemic is to anticipate obstacles with a good plan – and a sure road to that is practicing strategic thinking.

                          In the coming months and years, you’ll need to continue navigating uncharted territory so that you can lead your team to safe waters. Regularly doing these 8 steps to strategic thinking will ensure that you can prepare for and adapt  to the coming changes with increasing clarity, perspective, and efficiency.[2]

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                          Featured photo credit: JESHOOTS.COM via unsplash.com

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