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The Quickest Way to Create a New Mindset

The Quickest Way to Create a New Mindset

    Our Internal Reality

    We all want to change our internal reality on some level. The way we think, interpret, react, cope, expect, process, interact and communicate. The way we create our own experiences: good and bad. The way we manage our fears. Or, perhaps, don’t manage them. The way we avoid the big decisions. The way we wait. And wait. And wait. That is, procrastinate.

    The way we see ourselves. Talk to ourselves. The way we feel. Our emotions. The way we deal with stressful situations. Or, perhaps, the way we create stress in our world. The way we see the world and us in it. The labels we give things. The meaning we give certain experiences. The way we give away our power. And take it back. The way we look for approval. And acceptance.

    The way we beat ourselves up. And make ourselves unhappy. The way we pretend. And act. And deny. The way we continue on with the same unproductive and destructive patterns, habits and behaviours. The way we have the same pointless conversations about the same issues with the same people. And produce the same less-than-desirable results. Forever. The way we do the same things over and over and then curiously wonder why nothing changes. The way we start things we never finish.

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    Yes, we all want to change on some level. We all want to become a better version of us. To learn, grow, evolve and adapt. That’s why we explore personal development stuff.

    So, what is the single quickest way to create internal shift? To change the way we think, feel, interpret, react, cope, expect, process, interact and communicate? Three simple words:

    Experience new things.

    Do Different to Be Different

    When we do things we’ve never done before, there’s an instant and automatic internal shift. Expectations, emotions, attitudes and beliefs (about what’s possible for us) change. The internal shift is simply a byproduct of a new experience. Of doing something we’ve never done before.

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    Change comes from doing. For the most part, we don’t ‘think’ ourselves different; we ‘do’ ourselves different. So to speak. We need to ‘action’ our way to internal transformation. Which is why the theory of personal development is worthless until it becomes a practical reality. Until the concepts and ideas are turned into behaviours. Some people are theoretical geniuses but practical idiots. They talk a lot but do very little.

    Change comes from doing. Which is why an article like this can be transformational or worthless – it all depends on you.

    The Runner

    For the forty-five year-old woman who runs a half-marathon for the first time in her life, the transformation will be more emotional and psychological (internal), than it will be physical (external). She finishes her event and without focusing on anything other than the physical process, she has gained more confidence, her standards and expectations have changed, she’s less fearful and she’s more excited about her future possibilities. Her new experience has created internal shift.

    The Ex-Scaredy Cat

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    Then there’s the insecure, fearful guy who runs into a burning house and saves a child. In an instant, his default setting is changed forever. He does something that he never thought was possible (for him) and with one brave, selfless action, many of his self-limiting beliefs are smashed. He is empowered. The world is the same but he is different. Therefore, his world is different.

    The Graduate

    There’s the self-proclaimed dummy who enrolls in university, does the work, develops the study-skills, learns the academic language, passes the exams and gains the degree. She is forever changed. The ability was always there but the confidence wasn’t. Her self-limiting thinking and self-sabotaging behaviours become a thing of the past – as a byproduct of doing something she had never done.

    The Traveller

    There’s the woe-is-me guy who visits a third world country. He instantly realises that his horrible life in the USA is actually fantastic. And that his lifestyle is actually one of privilege, not disadvantage. He identifies that his self-pitying, negative attitude has always been his problem. Without even looking for it, his experience in another part of the world teaches him to acknowledge, value and appreciate what he has (which is plenty). Nothing changes but everything changes.

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    The Business Woman

    There’s the girl who sets up her own business. She doesn’t think about it, plan for it or talk about it (any more). No, she actually does it. In the first twelve months of owning her own business, she learns and grows more than she has in the last twelve years. The experience changes her.

    And Me…

    While I am constantly reading and studying, the place I’ve always learned the most, had my biggest breakthroughs and experienced my biggest (internal) shifts was when I stepped out of my over-thinking mind and experienced new things.

    If you’re like me (an experiential learner), then perhaps it’s time for you to experience something new? To do something you’ve never done. And no, it doesn’t need to be a major event so don’t talk yourself out of it before you even start. It might be something relatively minor like trying yoga, talking to a stranger, going for a jog, learning an instrument, doing some volunteer work, asking someone out for coffee or even leaving a comment on this site.

    Or, maybe you should think about it for a while longer?

    Share an experience with us that created a significant internal shift for you.

    More by this author

    Craig Harper

    Leading presenter, writer and educator in the areas of high-performance, self-management, personal transformation and more

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    Last Updated on March 31, 2020

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Is Procrastination Bad? The Truth About Procrastination Revealed

    Procrastination is very literally the opposite of productivity. To produce something is to pull it forward, while to procrastinate is to push it forward — to tomorrow, to next week, or ultimately to never.

    Procrastination fills us with shame — we curse ourselves for our laziness, our inability to focus on the task at hand, our tendency to be easily led into easier and more immediate gratifications. And with good reason: for the most part, time spent procrastinating is time spent not doing things that are, in some way or other, important to us.

    There is a positive side to procrastination, but it’s important not to confuse procrastination at its best with everyday garden-variety procrastination.

    Sometimes — sometimes! — procrastination gives us the time we need to sort through a thorny issue or to generate ideas. In those rare instances, we should embrace procrastination — even as we push it away the rest of the time.

    Why We Procrastinate After All?

    We procrastinate for a number of reasons, some better than others. One reason we procrastinate is that, while we know what we want to do, we need time to let the ideas “ferment” before we are ready to sit down and put them into action.

    Some might call this “creative faffing”; I call it, following copywriter Ray Del Savio’s lead, “concepting”.[1]

    Whatever you choose to call it, it’s the time spent dreaming up what you want to say or do, weighing ideas in your mind, following false leads and tearing off on mental wild goose chases, and generally thinking things through.

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    To the outside observer, concepting looks like… well, like nothing much at all. Maybe you’re leaning back in your chair, feet up, staring at the wall or ceiling, or laying in bed apparently dozing, or looking out over the skyline or feeding pigeons in the park or fiddling with the Japanese vinyl toys that stand watch over your desk.

    If ideas are the lifeblood of your work, you have to make time for concepting, and you have to overcome the sensation— often overpowering in our work-obsessed culture — that faffing, however creative, is not work.

    Is Procrastination Bad?

    Yes it is.

    Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you’re “concepting” when in fact you’re just not sure what you’re supposed to be doing.

    Spending an hour staring at the wall while thinking up the perfect tagline for a marketing campaign is creative faffing; staring at the wall for an hour because you don’t know how to come up with a tagline, or don’t know the product you’re marketing well enough to come up with one, is just wasting time.

    Lack of definition is perhaps the biggest friend of your procrastination demons. When we’re not sure what to do — whether because we haven’t planned thoroughly enough, we haven’t specified the scope of what we hope to accomplish in the immediate present, or we lack important information, skills, or resources to get the job done.

    It’s easy to get distracted or to trick ourselves into spinning our wheels doing nothing. It takes our mind off the uncomfortable sensation of failing to make progress on something important.

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    The answer to this is in planning and scheduling. Rather than giving yourself an unspecified length of time to perform an unspecified task (“Let’s see, I guess I’ll work on that spreadsheet for a while”) give yourself a limited amount of time to work on a clearly defined task (“Now I’ll enter the figures from last months sales report into the spreadsheet for an hour”).

    Giving yourself a deadline, even an artificial one, helps build a sense of urgency and also offers the promise of time to “screw around” later, once more important things are done.

    For larger projects, planning plays a huge role in whether or not you’ll spend too much time procrastinating to reach the end reasonably quickly.

    A good plan not only lists the steps you have to take to reach the end, but takes into account the resources, knowledge and inputs from other people you’re going to need to perform those steps.

    Instead of futzing around doing nothing because you don’t have last month’s sales report, getting the report should be a step in the project.

    Otherwise, you’ll spend time cooling your heels, justifying your lack of action as necessary: you aren’t wasting time because you want to, but because you have to.

    How Bad Procrastination Can Be

    Our mind can often trick us into procrastinating, often to the point that we don’t realize we’re procrastinating at all.

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    After all, we have lots and lots of things to do; if we’re working on something, aren’t we being productive – even if the one big thing we need to work on doesn’t get done?

    One way this plays out is that we scan our to-do list, skipping over the big challenging projects in favor of the short, easy projects. At the end of the day, we feel very productive: we’ve crossed twelve things off our list!

    That big project we didn’t work on gets put onto the next day’s list, and when the same thing happens, it gets moved forward again. And again.

    Big tasks often present us with the problem above – we aren’t sure what to do exactly, so we look for other ways to occupy ourselves.

    In many cases too, big tasks aren’t really tasks at all; they’re aggregates of many smaller tasks. If something’s sitting on your list for a long time, each day getting skipped over in favor of more immediately doable tasks, it’s probably not very well thought out.

    You’re actively resisting it because you don’t really know what it is. Try to break it down into a set of small tasks, something more like the tasks you are doing in place of the one big task you aren’t doing.

    More consequences of procrastination can be found in this article: 8 Dreadful Effects of Procrastination That Can Destroy Your Life

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    Procrastination, a Technical Failure

    Procrastination is, more often than not, a sign of a technical failure, not a moral failure.

    It’s not because we’re bad people that we procrastinate. Most times, procrastination serves as a symptom of something more fundamentally wrong with the tasks we’ve set ourselves.

    It’s important to keep an eye on our procrastinating tendencies, to ask ourselves whenever we notice ourselves pushing things forward what it is about the task we’ve set ourselves that simply isn’t working for us.

    Learn more about how to fix your procrastination problem here: What Is Procrastination and How to Stop It (The Complete Guide)

    Featured photo credit: chuttersnap via unsplash.com

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