Your mindset determines your success, in any walk of life or aspect of your own life, at home and at work. Your mindset evolves throughout your life and can change from situation to situation. It is made up from many parts, including your experiences (and how you think about them), your thinking style, your attitude, your values, your beliefs, sense of purpose, focus of attention and so on. You have learned your mindset throughout your life so far, which is why you can learn to change it too.
Did you know that professional and elite athletes attribute 90 – 95% of their success to their mindset. Even though we imagine that when athletes compete, it is their sports skills that are most important, the athletes themselves say the most important part of their success is their mindset, which includes their confidence in their abilities and their confidence that they can win. Two recent examples of this are Mo Farah and Andy Murray. Mo Farrah talked about how he used to want to win but in some part of his mind think his competitors were better than him and lose the race when they came up alongside him. Now he’s worked on his mindset and his inner knowledge that he can beat them and is going for it, he’s no longer focusing on the other competitors, he is focused on winning. He feels that confidence is like a weapon that gives you control, and you feel positive knowing you’ve prepared well. Andy Murray is another great example of a skilled athlete whose self doubts were the biggest barrier to winning. Self-doubt clouds your mind and focus with excessive negative thoughts about the outcome, not being good enough and so on. Andy’s ability in tennis was not the problem, he could pull marvellous shots out of the bag, but under pressure made more errors. Once he mastered his doubts and built his confidence, he could remain calm and focused under pressure. He won his first grand slam and then went on to win more.
Modern developments in neuroscience mean they can now record activity in living brains with imaging techniques. The fundamental organising principle of the human brain is that we are designed to maximise rewards and minimise threats. Neuroscientists call this the ‘walk towards, run away’ theory. Since the consequences of threats can be catastrophic, the ‘run away’ pathways operate much faster and stronger than the walk towards neural pathways in the brain, so we can respond immediately we detect any potential threat. The neuroscience research shows that our thoughts of self-doubt and self-criticism create the same effects in our nervous system and stimulate the same ‘fight-fright-flight or freeze’ response as situations of physical danger. This is the part of our brain that says ‘get me out of here’ and takes over from the part of our brain that controls our rational thinking. It means we can’t think straight, make the best decisions, respond well or listen well. Imagine the effect that has on how you present yourself and how effective you are in any situation – whether that’s sport, in work, in a job interview, with a client, doing a business presentation or in your home life and communities.
The neuroscience research shows that positive thinking rewires your brain (the official term is neuroplasticity). We can learn to focus our attention constructively and systematically alter brain circuitry underlying intrusive negative thoughts. Using mindful awareness, a self-observational skill, we can choose to respond rationally to emotionally stressful stimuli. We create new connections and the more you use them the stronger those connections become. After a while, you build a new good habit of positive thinking.
Your mindset is truly your own,
so that means you can control it and CHOOSE your attitude
but ONLY WHEN you are AWARE of it.
A large part of our mindset is usually in our non-conscious mind, where we park the things we want to do automatically without having to think them through all the time – things like how to drive a car, our practical skills we use in our work or at play, our good habits and our bad habits. This is where we hold our values and beliefs, that we’ve absorbed over our lifetime from the people around us, especially family and people we hold in authority. When we first took them on board they were undoubtedly useful for us then. However, life changes, the world changes, and sometimes if we don’t change our mindset too, we become mismatched to the world we live in, resulting in frustration, fear, anger, anxiety, and other negative outcomes.
This is why it is so useful to do a personal audit and raise to conscious awareness everything that influences our mindset and how we see and interact with the world. With that awareness comes choice. We can evaluate how useful each part is to us NOW, whether or not it was useful in the past, and choose whether we will hold that as a core part of our mindset now. We can try on different perspectives and assess what outcome that would bring for us and whether that would be a good outcome. We can clarify our core values that are most important to us, and understand how we express that in our lives, so we can choose behaviour and actions that are in harmony with what is important. We can then create a plan for how we will achieve that!
When we change the way we look at things, the things change too.
“Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.” Henry Ford
Call or email Sue if you would like to explore what you might do with coaching to explore your mindset and set yourself up for success.
See our online coaching programmes for confidence here: Aeona Coaching http://www.aeonacoaching.com/confidence.htm
“If you let your own light shine it gives others permission to do the same” Nelson Mandela
If you would like to talk to me about coaching around changing your mindset or being more confident, please do get in touch. You can also check out our online confidence coaching programmes on www.aeonacoaching.com or see the Aeona webpage for more information about what I do: www.aeona.co.uk
Sue Mitchell email: firstname.lastname@example.org telephone +44 1875 830708 or use the contact form below – please make sure you spell your email address correctly for me to be able to reply to you.