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How You Can Cultivate A Successful Mindset

How You Can Cultivate A Successful Mindset

How you can cultivate a successful mindset need not be a mystery. There are a multitude of self-help books, available to teach you the way to become successful. Particular qualities must be nourished in order to realize the determination required of a person with a successful mindset. A successful mindset  is as unique to the individual as his or her own fingerprint.

Anticipate Failure

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    Yep. Failure is a thing that every successful person has had to deal with. Already feel like a failure?  Read this article, to discover how you may already be on the path to success. Thomas Edison, one of the most prolific inventors of the 19th century said of failure, “I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt is a step forward.”  The failure to anticipate failure is a failure within itself. Meaning simply that progress toward a successful mindset depends a great deal upon how you interpret success.  A failed attempt at cultivating success is something many powerful and successful people are acutely aware of and  that mistakes made are steps forward, not back. Colin Powell,a retired four-star United States General said that, “There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.”

    Let Go And Delegate

    brain-storm

      Perfectionist? Perfectionism, is not all that it’s cracked up to be. What a dream it would be to let go of the task at hand and learn how to delegate.Or take the advice of Wayne Gretzky,nicknamed the ‘Great One’ by his fellow players said, “You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” Conceivably, delegation is the same type of risk. You are depending that the person you have chosen will do the job and well.  In cultivating a successful mindset, you will find that successful delegation is not an easy task. Yet, the benefits from delegating tasks can be richly rewarding. Try brainstorming about a tough issue. In this case, the more ideas the better when solving the job ahead.  It is always entirely possible that someone else may have the idea that can solve the problem you have. Helen Keller, author, lecturer, and political activist said, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

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      Be A Lifelong Learner

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        Expanding on or learning new skills, is very much a necessity in sustaining a successful mindset. There are thousands of free online courses available to anyone willing to put in the time and effort. When you decide to learn new opportunities begin to build and grow and avenues are opened that you may have never considered before. Isaac Asimov, author and professor of Bio-Chemistry said, “People who think they know everything are a great annoyance to those of us that do.” Expanding your knowledge is always a personal investment and helps you ultimately toward your ultimate goal. Henry L. Doherty, a successful financier said that everyone should, “Be a student so long as there is something to learn and this will mean all your life.”

        Develop A Sense Of Humor

        Oscar Wilde, who was considered to be the best playwright of his time said,”Life’s too short to be taken seriously.” And there is a great deal of truth in the old adage that, laughter is the best medicine. Keeping or developing a sense of humor only benefits you as you move forward in developing a successful mindset. Laughter relieves stress and often provides the opportunity to view a problem in a different light. Develop your sense of humor through relaxing with family and friends, as well as, by learning how not to take yourself so seriously. There is power in positive thinking, so long as there is action involved.

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        Featured photo credit: Celestine Chua via flickr.com

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        Last Updated on July 17, 2019

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        The Science of Setting Goals (And How It Affects Your Brain)

        What happens in our heads when we set goals?

        Apparently a lot more than you’d think.

        Goal setting isn’t quite so simple as deciding on the things you’d like to accomplish and working towards them.

        According to the research of psychologists, neurologists, and other scientists, setting a goal invests ourselves into the target as if we’d already accomplished it. That is, by setting something as a goal, however small or large, however near or far in the future, a part of our brain believes that desired outcome is an essential part of who we are – setting up the conditions that drive us to work towards the goals to fulfill the brain’s self-image.

        Apparently, the brain cannot distinguish between things we want and things we have. Neurologically, then, our brains treat the failure to achieve our goal the same way as it treats the loss of a valued possession. And up until the moment, the goal is achieved, we have failed to achieve it, setting up a constant tension that the brain seeks to resolve.

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        Ideally, this tension is resolved by driving us towards accomplishment. In many cases, though, the brain simply responds to the loss, causing us to feel fear, anxiety, even anguish, depending on the value of the as-yet-unattained goal.

        Love, Loss, Dopamine, and Our Dreams

        The brains functions are carried out by a stew of chemicals called neurotransmitters. You’ve probably heard of serotonin, which plays a key role in our emotional life – most of the effective anti-depressant medications on the market are serotonin reuptake inhibitors, meaning they regulate serotonin levels in the brain leading to more stable moods.

        Somewhat less well-known is another neurotransmitter, dopamine. Among other things, dopamine acts as a motivator, creating a sensation of pleasure when the brain is stimulated by achievement. Dopamine is also involved in maintaining attention – some forms of ADHD are linked to irregular responses to dopamine.[1]

        So dopamine plays a key role in keeping us focused on our goals and motivating us to attain them, rewarding our attention and achievement by elevating our mood. That is, we feel good when we work towards our goals.

        Dopamine is related to wanting – to desire. The attainment of the object of our desire releases dopamine into our brains and we feel good. Conversely, the frustration of our desires starves us of dopamine, causing anxiety and fear.

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        One of the greatest desires is romantic love – the long-lasting, “till death do us part” kind. It’s no surprise, then, that romantic love is sustained, at least in part, through the constant flow of dopamine released in the presence – real or imagined – of our true love. Loss of romantic love cuts off that supply of dopamine, which is why it feels like you’re dying – your brain responds by triggering all sorts of anxiety-related responses.

        Herein lies obsession, as we go to ever-increasing lengths in search of that dopamine reward. Stalking specialists warn against any kind of contact with a stalker, positive or negative, because any response at all triggers that reward mechanism. If you let the phone ring 50 times and finally pick up on the 51st ring to tell your stalker off, your stalker gets his or her reward, and learns that all s/he has to do is wait for the phone to ring 51 times.

        Romantic love isn’t the only kind of desire that can create this kind of dopamine addiction, though – as Captain Ahab (from Moby Dick) knew well, any suitably important goal can become an obsession once the mind has established ownership.

        The Neurology of Ownership

        Ownership turns out to be about a lot more than just legal rights. When we own something, we invest a part of ourselves into it – it becomes an extension of ourselves.

        In a famous experiment at Cornell University, researchers gave students school logo coffee mugs, and then offered to trade them chocolate bars for the mugs. Very few were willing to make the trade, no matter how much they professed to like chocolate. Big deal, right? Maybe they just really liked those mugs![2]

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        But when they reversed the experiment, handing out chocolate and then offering to trade mugs for the candy, they found that now, few students were all that interested in the mugs. Apparently the key thing about the mugs or the chocolate wasn’t whether students valued whatever they had in their possession, but simply that they had it in their possession.

        This phenomenon is called the “endowment effect”. In a nutshell, the endowment effect occurs when we take ownership of an object (or idea, or person); in becoming “ours” it becomes integrated with our sense of identity, making us reluctant to part with it (losing it is seen as a loss, which triggers that dopamine shut-off I discussed above).

        Interestingly, researchers have found that the endowment effect doesn’t require actual ownership or even possession to come into play. In fact, it’s enough to have a reasonable expectation of future possession for us to start thinking of something as a part of us – as jilted lovers, gambling losers, and 7-year olds denied a toy at the store have all experienced.

        The Upshot for Goal-Setters

        So what does all this mean for would-be achievers?

        On one hand, it’s a warning against setting unreasonable goals. The bigger the potential for positive growth a goal has, the more anxiety and stress your brain is going to create around it’s non-achievement.

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        It also suggests that the common wisdom to limit your goals to a small number of reasonable, attainable objectives is good advice. The more goals you have, the more ends your brain thinks it “owns” and therefore the more grief and fear the absence of those ends is going to cause you.

        On a more positive note, the fact that the brain rewards our attentiveness by releasing dopamine means that our brain is working with us to direct us to achievement. Paying attention to your goals feels good, encouraging us to spend more time doing it. This may be why outcome visualization — a favorite technique of self-help gurus involving imagining yourself having completed your objectives — has such a poor track record in clinical studies. It effectively tricks our brain into rewarding us for achieving our goals even though we haven’t done it yet!

        But ultimately, our brain wants us to achieve our goals, so that it’s a sense of who we are that can be fulfilled. And that’s pretty good news!

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        Featured photo credit: Alexa Williams via unsplash.com

        Reference

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