Success starts in the mind.
Dreaming big is great, but without the right mindset, it’s so much harder to reach your goals.
Some simple but powerful mindset shifts can help us live happier, healthier, and more successful lives.
1) Do it for the right reasons
The right reasons are essentially your own reasons.
It might sound obvious but success isn’t success if it’s someone else’s version of it.
Yet the truth is that so many of us end up chasing other people’s dreams and not our own. Whether it’s your parents, your peers, or simply society itself.
We’re told what makes us happy from such a young age:
- Getting that promotion
- Winning awards
- Earning lots of money
- Being seen as “somebody”
We are so often sold what success should look like, that we don’t stop to really think about our own unique recipe for it and whether it will fulfill us.
Achieving success will bring nothing to your life unless it’s focused on what matters most to you.
That means using plenty of self-awareness to get better acquainted with your core values. They can be your guiding compass for figuring out what you actually do want out of life.
2) Don’t wait until you feel ready
Fear has a habit of trying to buy us more time.
We tell ourselves that we will make a start “when”.
Often it’s when we have more time, when we know more, when we’ve learned more, when we have more money, etc.
But the chances are, you will never feel ready.
I suspect if you ask any parent in the world if they felt ready to have kids, they will tell you hell no.
Some things we have no choice other than to learn on the job as we go along. Because the truth is that you don’t have to have it all mapped out.
You don’t need to know every step you will take along the way. You just need to know your next step.
Start from there, and take some all-important action.
3) Stop talking and start acting
I know plenty of people who talk a good game. But that’s where it ends.
I’m not sure if they’re trying to convince themselves that one day they will get around to everything they’re talking about.
But as we all know, actions speak louder than words.
Those actions certainly don’t have to be huge.
Pick out three small steps that you can take this week which will bring you closer to success.
Then do them.
And when you do, know that they don’t have to be perfect.
Not everything will work out the way you thought or hoped — and that’s no big deal.
4) It’s ok to change your mind or start again
A plan is something to work towards, but it’s flexible rather than set in stone.
I got a lot better at giving things a go when I stopped putting so much pressure on myself.
When you see your ideas and actions as an experiment, an opportunity, or an adventure, it allows you to approach them with curiosity rather than expectation.
It’s true that success often requires determination, but that doesn’t have to be single-minded.
It’s equally important to adapt in order to stay resilient. That means you can always change your mind and start again.
There isn’t just one shot at happiness or success. There are infinite routes.
5) Remember that success is not linear
In life, there really isn’t actually an end goal.
It’s not a video game where we can reach the top level. We don’t suddenly reach the finish line where we are crowned as “winners”.
There is no pot of gold waiting at the end of the rainbow. It’s not a movie where we’re working towards our happy ending.
Along whichever route you take, there are always going to be bumps along the way. On that journey, the terrain is going to look very different each day, week, month, and year.
It may feel like your levels of “success” in life fall for a while. But that doesn’t mean they won’t rise again.
Success isn’t going to be linear.
For most of us, it’s more of a rollercoaster ride. But we need to learn to ride out those troughs as well as the peaks.
6) Failure is an important part of success
I’m yet to meet a person who enjoys failure.
It can shake our confidence and hit our self-esteem. But it can also toughen us up and help us learn important lessons.
There’s no getting around the inconvenient fact that success and failure are often inseparable.
It’s the failures along the way that allow us to tweak and correct our course, which leads us to greater success.
Every screw-up teaches us what we don’t want so that we can get a better understanding of what we do want.
7) It’s never too late
A lot of people give up on their desires for life because they’ve created a mind-made expiry date for success.
They tell themselves they’re too:
- Out of shape
- Out of luck
- Stuck in their ways
But in the words of George Eliot:
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been”.
The reality is that whilst there is still breath in your body then you always have the potential to learn, grow and expand.
Having a growth mindset compared to a fixed mindset is like rocket fuel for success.
The difference between the two ultimately comes down to your belief system.
8) Belief is powerful
“Man is what he believes” — Anton Chekhov
The false beliefs we hold are silently pulling our strings behind the scenes.
They’ve been in the making most of our lives and we probably don’t even think about:
- Where they’ve come from
- Whether they’re even true
But they still hold us back regardless.
They tell us stories about ourselves and the world that feel very real (whether they are or not).
Unfortunately, they may tell us very unhelpful lies too. Your brain decides that it won’t work, without even trying.
It’s even thought that as much as 97% of reported pharmaceutical side effects are down to so-called “nocebo” effects.
The brain is expecting the worst — so that’s what it gets.
Getting to grips with your beliefs and choosing the ones that serve you can make a fundamental difference in your life.
As can the next mindset hack on our list…
9) Don’t forget what you already have
I truly believe that striving for more is a part of human evolution.
Expansion and growth are wonderful. But we shouldn’t neglect what we already have.
Because the truth is that nothing is ever enough if you cannot recognize what is right in front of you.
Gratitude helps us to get into the frame of mind of abundance rather than scarcity.
Far from being just a cheesy sentiment, there is stacks of scientific evidence that highlights the practical benefits of embracing more gratitude.
We’re talking about things like:
- Improved sleep
- Better moods and feeling happier
- Reduced risk of disease and stronger immunity
- Better at handling adversity
- Stronger relationships
And there’s no denying that these are all things that contribute to our successes in life.
10) Remember that you miss all the shots you don’t take
Some of us are naturally better at taking risks than others.
And that’s fine if you’re content with that. As we said in the beginning, everyone’s idea of a successful life is different.
But if you feel stuck, want something different, or are craving more, then learning to get out of your comfort zone is essential.
Because as I’m sure you’ve heard before:
Nothing changes if nothing changes.
But I know that doesn’t make it feel any easier to do.
I am very much a play-it-safe type. What helps me is asking myself:
- What’s the worst that can happen?
Now, this probably doesn’t sound like the sort of positive mental attitude that I should be preaching.
But when fear kicks in, it needs to be soothed. And this question can put your fears into perspective.
Because 99.9% of the time, it’s not so bad.
- a) Consider what your worst-case scenario could possibly be
- b) Then ask how you would deal with that
…it can build your confidence to remind yourself that it will all be ok.
11) Choose to be a glass-half-full type of person
Yep, it really is a choice.
Optimists are not born, they are made. It’s just ultimately a thinking pattern that you reinforce.
Life is always going to be a mixture of the good and the bad. There’s no getting around that fact.
But we can either choose to make things worse for ourselves by looking for the negative and dwelling on it.
Or we can make things better by actively looking for the silver lining and choosing to grow from our life lessons.
It’s not about trying to whitewash over the bad that happens. It’s just about adopting an empowered attitude rather than remaining a victim of circumstance.
Because despite what we often tell ourselves, happiness is rarely defined by what we have or don’t have in life. It’s far more of an inside job.