The Importance of Your Mindset

As any of my clients will tell you, I am not so much interested in what happens to them on any given day, but I am obsessed with how they react to whatever happens. Your mindset plays the key role in determining your reaction. I believe that the only difference between stepping stones and stumbling blocks, is how you perceive them. I never root against any of my clients, but I must admit that I do look forward to the occasions where they face adversity, as this is where I usually can help them the most.

It’s easy to have a positive mindset when everything is going well. It’s those who can turn adversity into an advantage that tend to endure and have the most success in the long run. I teach my clients to look at inevitable setbacks, not as disappointments, but rather as aberrations that present opportunities for further growth. As William Shakespeare once said “There is nothing either good or bad – but thinking makes it so.” The average human being tends to get discouraged by setbacks – as if we are entitled to only good things happening to us in our lives – and often dwell on them. Doing so is a choice, but in my experience it is the wrong one.

I look at adversity as a gift that gives us the chance to work on things that need attention now, before they become bigger problems that are more difficult to fix down the road. Many people do not realize that most top performers employ someone like me, who checks in with them at least once a week to keep their mindset where it needs to be. We all have blind spots, and it is crucial to have a trusted outsider’s view, as they can offer insights that regularly hit the bulls-eye and help keep you moving forward as efficiently as possible.

Though perhaps it is somewhat surprising, these check-ins are often more important during times when things are going well. Blind spots are even more common during stretches of success, than in times of adversity. It is important not to lose sight of what got you to the triumphs you are experiencing, if you want them to continue. The greater your triumphs, the more likely you will be surrounded by people who tell you only what you want to hear (which is very destructive) and never what you need to hear.

I have seen many coaches, players and CEO’s fall victim to their ego. When your ego takes over in any situation, it complicates things and leads to poor choices (often unbeknownst to you); the best choices are made when things are simplified. Having someone to help you keep your ego in check, plays a large role in maintaining a positive growth oriented mindset. Most people who fall victim to their growing ego do so because it grows so slowly that they are oblivious to the fact it has taken over their psyche.

One of perhaps the greatest minds of all-time, Benjamin Franklin, fell victim to his ego before realizing no one he wanted to be around could stand spending time with him. Unlike most people, he was able to finally see past his ego and make corrections. This is very rare and a good example of a situation where an ounce of prevention is greater than a pound of cure. Not too long ago I was talking to a very successful coach who I had noticed was falling victim to his ego, and he told me he had just finished reading the Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and how much he enjoyed it. All I could think was that it was too bad that his mindset was in the wrong place, and caused him to miss the message in it that he needed most.

I won’t go as far as saying that not having the proper mindset will prevent you from succeeding, but I will guarantee that without a proper mindset you will never be as successful as you could be.


You can follow Sam on Twitter: @SuperTaoInc

The preceding article originally appeared as a guest column on July 22, 2013 here:

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