The Importance of Mindset
Posted by: Joseph Kuo | February 18, 2019
Over the past 2 decades, there has been an increasing emphasis on the importance of mindset. There are many subtleties to this, and I will not attempt to swim into all the details here. However, a few key concepts around mindset are:
- Everyone has unconscious beliefs that can limit growth and success.
- These unconscious beliefs are the subtext of how we live our lives. The beliefs frequently determine how we feel and what we do without us questioning why.
- Without consciously examining what we believe, we will be led by our environment and make decisions based on what’s triggering us at that moment.
- We cannot achieve what we believe is impossible.
- We can change our mindset through conscious effort, consistently applied over time.
These ideas sound rational, though they may be difficult to observe in everyday life. At the same time, there are opportunities to infer this. In my years of providing financial life planning, I’ve frequently asked people what they would do if money is no object. It is a question we ask to explore clients’ underlying values, when not limited by money. At the same time, I would ask for the amount clients have in mind as they answer the question. The interesting thing about this number is that over 90% of the time, this ends up being close to the projected wealth the clients will have. To have this level of accuracy, clients are either really good at doing mathematical projections in their head, or they’ve created a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In my experience, it is difficult for people to dream big and ask for what they really want rather than what they believe they can get. When our mindset is one of “I don’t see how that can happen” or “that’s not possible for me”, we will consistently make decisions that keep us in our comfort zone and limit us to what we can see today. We either won’t aim for something loftier or, even if we do, we take very timid actions. Alas, living within our comfort zone doesn’t necessarily mean living a life of comfort, impact, or meaning.
Instead, if we were to cultivate a mindset of curiosity, of abundance, and of appreciation, we allow ourselves to dream more fully and take more focused, directed actions. With this mood of possibilities, we can start moving beyond our own limiting beliefs and believing in our ability to create our own future. How we might cultivate a mindset of abundance is something I’ll cover in another article. For now, I encourage you to shine a light on the actions you are taking and, thus, the direction you are heading. Is the destination one that you look toward with anticipation and fulfillment? Or, is the destination something that you had stumbled into by default and sparks no joy? I urge that you to do this without judgement or labeling. What you will gain is awareness and, with awareness, the chance to adopt a mindset more useful for you.