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7 Small Mental Shifts That Can Improve Your Quality of Life

Does it feel like your brain controls you instead of the other way around?

You want to live a productive, happy, and successful life, but mental roadblocks keep getting in your way.

You know what it takes to become successful, but it’s easier said than done.

You are willing to do the work it takes to succeed, but your mind leaves you paralyzed and unable to act.

Here’s the good news — It doesn’t necessarily take a giant effort to change your results. Sometimes making some subtle changes in the way you think can skyrocket your chances of success.

These small shifts in mindset have the potential to dramatically improve the quality of your life.

Turn Envy Into Curiosity

“If you think a man draws the type of hands that you want to draw, steal ’em. Take those hands.” — Jack Kirby

We all suffer from jealousy at one point or another. But envy can be useful when you harness its power the right way. Shifting your envious energy into curiosity causes you to take action instead of feeling sorry for yourself.

For example, I remember when I saw an acquaintance of mine published a blog post on a high traffic website. I was jealous for a bit, but then I decided to figure out how she did it. I published my work on the same platform days later. I’ve continued to use curiosity to accomplish what I’ve seen others do.

The accomplishments others make aren’t as hard to achieve as you think.

You just have to steal their techniques.

When someone walks the path you want to travel, they’ve left a trail. Don’t be envious of them. Thank them for making your path easier and walk down it.

Make Learning An Obligation Instead Of An Option

Increasing rationality and improving as much as you can no matter your age or experience is a moral duty. — -Charlie Munger, Vice Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway

If I could attribute one thing to transforming my life from being broke to publishing two books and doing what I’m passionate about every day, it’s learning.

I was stuck in a rut because I wasn’t smart enough to get out of it. I wasn’t smart enough to get out of it because I wasn’t trying to learn.

One day I decided to change.

I read hundreds of books and listened to more talks and interviews than I can count. The learning process helped me change the way I viewed the world, gave me confidence to pursue my dreams, and helped me develop skills to execute on my ideas.

If you become a learning machine, you can keep up with anyone in your field. In fact, you can surpass them.

Treat acquiring new information like your occupation. You have more access to information than ever before. The playing field is level and you’re only bound by the energy you put into your own education.

Don’t work your way to the top. Learn your way to the top.

Change “I am” to “I’m working on it.”

Mindset change is not about picking up a few pointers here and there. It’s about seeing things in a new way. When people…change to a growth mindset, they change from a judge-and-be-judged framework to a learn-and-help-learn framework — Carol Dweck

The labels you place on yourself shape your actions. Be careful what words you use after the phrase “I am.” The minute you label yourself as lazy, stupid, weak, or anything else negative, you act in accordance with that label. Instead of placing labels on yourself, try making statements indicating you’re in the process of improving.

  • Instead of “I’m lazy” — “I’m working on becoming a more productive person.”
  • Instead of “I’m broke” — “I’m learning how to manage my finances and how to develop the skills to earn more.”
  • Instead of “I’m dumb” — “I’m in the process of learning as much as I can and my knowledge base will grow.”

This subtle shift in the way you describe yourself will result in dramatic changes in behavior.

Thinking this way makes you growth minded.

I used to be fix-minded, meaning I didn’t think a change was possible because my problems weren’t just situational problems, they were character problems.

As I discuss in my latest book, experiences and outside influences help shape your identity.

The things you believe as fixed traits may be nothing more than stories planted in your head when you were too young to defend yourself against them.

You can start over and change your identity by first realizing your identity isn’t what matters most. What you choose to focus and work on matters most.

Value Experience Over Credentials

In a world where competence was scarce and information was opaque, credentials were valuable. In a world where competence is abundant and information is increasingly transparent, they care what you’ve done. In a Complex world, track records, relationships and skill sets — not credentials — reign supreme. — Taylor Pearson

Many of us suffer from impostor syndrome. You might not feel like you’re qualified enough or have the right credentials for the path you’re pursuing.

Expertise comes from knowledge and experience — not from a piece of paper. Being viewed as an expert comes from knowing what you’re talking about and earning people’s respect.

When you develop the necessary knowledge, you’ll build the confidence to position yourself as an authority and people will treat you like one.

The truth is, no one knows exactly what they’re doing. More and more, society is starting to see that. Creatives, innovators, and independent learners are tearing down the veil of appearances and soon will come a time where the scales will tip heavily in the way of experience over credentials.

Start getting ready for it now.

Instead of polishing up your resume, start your own projects. Start a blogging campaign detailing your knowledge of the industry. Write a book about your expertise. Invent something. Have a portfolio of projects people can look at.

When you can say “This what I’ve done” or “I made this” as opposed to “I went to this university” you’ll stand out.

Focus On Sanity, Not Ambition

Ambition means tying your well-being to what other people say or do. Self-indulgence means tying it to the things that happen to you. Sanity means tying it to your own actions. — Marcus Aurelius.

Here’s the truth about success nobody wants to tell you. Sometimes you can do everything the right way and still fail. Luck does come into play and bad things can happen to good people. When you tie your happiness to specific outcomes, you’re putting yourself at risk to become depressed and unhappy when things don’t go your way.

When you tie your well being to your actions, you can look back at what you’ve done with pride. Oftentimes dedicated effort and persistence will lead to success, but if things don’t work out you can still be content to know you did everything in your power to succeed.

Never Think Of Time As Being Wasted (Everything Matters)

Don’t let the fear of the time it will take to accomplish something stand in the way of your doing it. The time will pass anyway; we might just as well put that passing time to the best possible use. — Earl Nightingale

You might be worried about making the wrong choices when it comes to your future. You don’t want to waste a bunch of time traveling down the wrong path. When you think of every moment of your life as important you realize that time can never be wasted.

Before I wrote my first book, I wrote a half-dozen “half books” with half-baked ideas that never saw the light of day. I deleted tens of thousands of words that took hours to create.

Did it feel like a waste of time initially? Yes. Was it frustrating? Incredibly. But I learned it all served a purpose for the future. Those failed books taught me persistence and grit.

Writing 20,000 words will make you a better writer regardless of whether you publish them or not. The fact that I wanted to keep going after failing so many times solidified my resolve and convinced me I’d never quit.

Everything matters. The mistakes you made in the past might lead to your success in the future. When you have a high awareness level you’re able to glean useful insight from every moment.

Be Okay With Finishing Last (As Long As You’re In The Right Race)

“If you want to lead an extraordinary life, find out what the ordinary do–and don’t do it. — Tommy Newberry

Most people are in a race to the bottom or to the middle.

When you’re in the race to the top, you’ll still be in great shape even if you finish last.

The top isn’t crowded because few are aiming there. In a counter intuitive sense, it’s easier to aim higher because there’s less competition at the top.

With the exception of trust-fund babies, the difference between the top one percent and the bottom 99 is the way they think.

Simply believing in doing the improbable catapults you into the top five percent of the population.

If you spend your entire life learning what it takes to be successful and you never give up you’ll do just fine. Level up your game.

Don’t look at the experts and influencers in a state of awe — vow to take their spot.

They aren’t special.

They’re just normal human beings who had the audacity to believe they could be extraordinary.

Remove the word “aspiring,” from your vocabulary. It’s time to turn pro and play with the big boys and girls. Believe in your capacity to achieve. Resolve to do whatever it takes to make it to the top.

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