Open up to new ways of thinking and you’ll achieve the positive mindset critical to success.
We’ve all met people who are full of negativity and skepticism, who always second-guess everything and criticize those around them.
Their negative mindset is like a wet blanket, smothering anything productive or beneficial before it can ignite.
A positive mindset is critical to achieving your goals and dreams in life, according to mindset expert Angie Zimmerman, author of 7 Steps to Master Your Mind to Increase Sales and Boost Productivity. This kind of mindset can be cultivated, but only if you are willing to open yourself up to new ways of thinking.
I recently sat down with Zimmerman to discuss some of her observations about what it takes to put your mind on the path to success.
1. Have a growth mindset.
According to Zimmerman, the most important thing you can do is to embrace a growth mindset. This is the mindset that will allow you to dream big and push the boundaries of your ideas to new levels.
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She subscribes to the maxim, “Everything on the way rather than in the way,” which comes from leading educator Dr. John Demartini.
Instead of judging experiences in terms of failures and successes, frame them in a positive light. You will have challenges and obstacles along the way. Recognize that all of them can help you grow and become a better person.
Another mindset expert, Carol Dweck, explained that if you aren’t in a growth mindset, you probably have a fixed mindset, which is dangerous because it will ultimately stifle your ability to reach new achievements.
“A fixed mindset is when people believe their basic qualities, intelligence, talents and abilities are just fixed traits. They have a certain amount and that’s that,” Dweck said.
With a growth mindset, people believe that their talents and abilities can be developed over time through experience and mentorship, so they push themselves and “go for it.”
“They’re not always worried about how smart they are, how they’ll look or what a mistake will mean,” Dweck explained. “They challenge themselves and grow.”
2. No risk, no reward.
“Sometimes you just have to jump off of a cliff,” Zimmerman said.
Do something completely out of your comfort zone and your mind will become more nimble. As a result, you’ll learn to push yourself to new heights. Those who fail to get out of their comfort zone often end up with a rigid mindset.
An unwillingness to take risks stymies progress, and you will ultimately fizzle out.
Just like the high achiever from high school — the person voted “most likely to succeed,” but who doesn’t accomplish anything beyond that — you have to push yourself or you will fail to launch.
“They become afraid of making mistakes. They become afraid of tarnishing their image,” Dweck said.
3. Embrace your mistakes and move on.
Part of taking risks is being able to learn from your mistakes. A blunder can also be an amazing blessing because you can use your misstep as a jumping-off point toward something new.
“The universe gives us gentle reminders of what we need to do,” Zimmerman explained. “However, if we ignore that advice for too long or fail to understand the message and take action, that is where we receive our greatest life lessons.”
Instead of trying to hide or make excuses, consider what you can take away from these experiences as you go forward.
4. Curiosity will keep you thirsting for more.
No matter what your level of education, you should never stop learning. According to Zimmerman, a thirst for knowledge is something that can never be quenched, and should be a lifelong quest.
She explained having an endless supply of curiosity is key to seeing beyond what’s in front of you, discovering what you are truly capable of and keeping yourself in a growth mindset.
“I can honestly say that no amount of knowledge is ever enough to quell my thirst in life to know, have and be more than I am today,” Zimmerman said.
5. Find gratitude, celebrate others’ successes.
“Another important factor is to cultivate gratitude by celebrating and sincerely being happy for other people’s successes,” Zimmerman said.
Acknowledging and delighting in others’ successes will help you shirk feelings of bitterness or resentment, and will allow you to focus on the positive things you have accomplished as well.
“In life, you cannot receive that which you resent,” Zimmerman added. “Therefore, if you resent or are upset about other people’s success, this leads to you being unable to achieve the level of success you desire.”
6. Shun the negative, feed the positive.
As a rule, you reflect the characteristics of the people with whom you surround yourself. As motivational speaker Jim Rohn has said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”
In the same way, your mindset will reflect whatever information you feed it. That’s why it’s key to fuel your mind with positive information on a daily basis.
“Most importantly, you must surround yourself with positive influences that can help you live your best life and become your best self,” Zimmerman said.
7. Be healthy in mind and body.
Don’t discount the importance of both physical and mental agility.
Zimmerman recommends embracing both, since they work together to keep you alert and focused.
She says being fit and healthy creates more positive thoughts than negative and helps you to take the daily action necessary to achieve your priorities.
“What I mean by that is, by staying fit and healthy, you have endless energy and enthusiasm for life, and act in a more loving way.”
8. Keep your energy high.
When you are feeling low on energy and neglect to work out for a little while, your enthusiasm and positivity wanes, which in turn allows negative thoughts to take hold.
Zimmerman likened those negative thoughts to a river of energy running out of your body. “You lose your vitality and you are far less likely to attract all the positive things, people and opportunities that you want from life,” she said.
Energy equals momentum, which is particularly important in business. It’s about having the drive and endurance to manage your daily activities.
“Physical exercise and positive thoughts assist with that, and give you a constant boost of ‘feel-good’ endorphins,” Zimmerman explained. “It all works to make it easier to attract positive circumstances into your life.”