The Mindset Myth

Work on your mindset, that’s what everyone, including me, keeps on saying. Work on your mindset. But actually it’s a myth. It’s hard to work on your mindset, because mindset is not a single thing.

It might be more accurate to extol the virtues of working on your mindsets. The fact is that we all have multiple mindsets, not just one. Think about it for a moment. Is the mindset that helps you sit down and write a report, article or proposal a good mindset for meeting a new customer or the key sponsor of your latest project? Probably not.

Is the mindset that serves you best when you’re having a tough day and you need to just grit your teeth and get on with it going to be a good mindset for taking stock of the week and working out the priorities for next week? Of course not!

So the reality is that we all need multiple mindsets, each useful in different circumstances. Working out which mindset will suit the occasion is one skill to cultivate. The other is your ability to change from one mindset to another.

It will be irrelevant that you’ve cultivated a super-positive, can-do mindset for getting things done if you find it impossible to get out of a down-hearted and demotivated mindset at the end of a difficult day.

So practice shifting mindset, rather than trying to stay upbeat all the time. It’s not easy to do, and pretty well unnatural for most people. It can also be very irritating to other people (remember Pollyanna?) Cultivate mental agility, it will serve you better.