Reading Length: 10 minutes
We all know mindset has the power to literally shape and change your life. That’s why it’s so important to get into the right and positive mindset in order to create the life we want. So let’s get into the 10 mindset habits that changed my life.
1. Watch your inner self talk.
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.”– Jack Kornfield
We are our own worst critic. Our mind has thousands of thoughts in a day so we’re bound to have many negative thoughts. In fact, there’s a term “negative bias” which is why we tend to remember negative things more than positive things. It’s like how I remember so clearly the time I got whooped from my parents as opposed to all the other happy moments.
I’ve learned that we need to watch out to how we speak to ourselves. Can you imagine saying the things in your mind to someone else? We’re literally bullying ourselves! So I’ve learned to acknowledge whenever that negative inner self talk comes out. What has helped me is seeing my mean brain as a separate person trying to put me down and knowing that my brain can be wrong. Just like that hater or troll online, we can treat their hateful comment like trash.
2. Compare yourself only to your past self.
“Comparison with myself brings improvement, comparison with others brings discontent.”– Betty Jamie Chung
There is always going to be someone smarter, prettier, richer, stronger, and kinder than you. There’s also always going to be someone dumber, uglier, weaker, and meaner than you. So what’s the point of comparison if everyone is completely different? It’s especially easy to do this comparison game on social media. A game of let’s feel crappy today about ourselves today! I believe that the best way is just to compare yourself to your past self. Instead of saying “Why can’t I be like XYZ?”, I’ve learned to say “How have I improved and changed from who I was yesterday, a month ago or a year ago?”
3. Take out the trash.
“Without doubt, the most common weakness of all human beings is the habit of leaving their minds open to the negative influence of other people.”– Napoleon Hill
I noticed that many times I would start off with a decent mood but by the end of the day, I’d feel drained, exhausted and low in energy. It took me years to finally discover that it was because of the people I was surrounding myself with and the negative content I was consuming. We really don’t need to put up with or hold onto any crap that is handed to us. Dump that garbage away or throw it at someone you hate. That’s you, Karen. No, I’m kidding. Regardless, that’s why I’ve taken out the garbage by cutting off all the negative influences in my life.
4. Make mistakes often.
“Even a mistake may turn out to be the one thing necessary to a worthwhile achievement.”– Henry Ford
School has wired us to fear making mistakes. When we get those red marks on an exam, we feel a crisis erupt. But we need to keep making mistakes. It’s necessary. No, I’m not asking you to purposefully answer every test answer wrong. Stupid rebellious me did that in elementary school. But I’ve come to see the connection between making mistakes and growing.
For example, in my workplace, when I was first starting out, I made A LOT of mistakes. And these types of mistakes were actually quite serious, especially since I work in healthcare and I have to help a lot of patients who are seniors. At first when I made those mistakes, I would probably curse at myself and cry for a few hours. Afterwards, I get to reflect upon these questions: “What went wrong? How can I fix it? How can I prevent the same mistake from happening again?” If it wasn’t for those mistakes I made, I wouldn’t have gotten where I am today. A failure. Kidding, again.
5. Don’t be blocked by perfectionism.
“Tomorrow becomes never. No matter how small the task, take the first step now!”– Tim Ferris
I know that you perfectionists out there can relate to this because I’m the same way. A lot of times you postpone something because you don’t think you’re ready. You think it’s not good enough. But the question is if it’s not good enough now, then when exactly is it good enough. Are you going to wait years before you do something? If so, welcome to the club of “analysis paralysis.” I’m your host.
Something that a perfectionist like me needs to learn is that an opportunity or anything in life will never be good enough. We just need to accept the imperfections and move forward or else we’ll just stay stagnant forever.
For example, my ultimate goal for learning Spanish is to be able to have a full-blown conversation with a native speaker. So I knew that the next step to improving was speaking to a native speaker. But I just kept postponing for months. I was an excuse machine, repeatedly making excuses about why I wasn’t ready. One day, the truth hit me that I’ll never be ready. So I finally went on Reddit, found an exchange partner and scheduled weekly Spanish calls. Right now, my speaking skills still sound like I’m speaking in squirrel language or something. But I’m making faster improvements every week now.
That’s why, us perfectionists need to find acceptance in just being maybe 70-80% ready. Afterwards, we just need to go for it!
6. Step out of your comfort zone.
“What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do.”– Tim Ferris
I was terribly shy. Actually, I’m still shy. If you see me in real life, please don’t think I’m cold and unfriendly. I’m just shy. I was terrified of going to big events or even socializing with people in general. But I realized I was unhappy living a life of constant fear and hiding. So I started to get out of my shell a little more by accepting more friend invitations, networking with professionals and attending some events. But quarantine sort of made me go back to my shell again so I will have to restart this whole process. Thanks, a lot virus. Regardless, I’m still glad that I got to experience that feeling of stepping out of my comfort zone. Because I know it gives you a feeling of confidence. If got me thinking, “What are other areas in my life I can step out of the comfort zone?“
7. Embrace the journey. Celebrate small wins.
“If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”– Anatole France
As highly ambitious people, we’re so focused on the future to the point we’re always looking ahead. But we never stop to appreciate the present moment. So we forget to celebrate the small wins along the way. This is me in a nutshell. I often get so caught up in publishing the next post or finishing up with the next assignment to the point I don’t take a moment to appreciate the small wins I’ve accomplished. I realized that if you don’t stop to appreciate the present moment, you’re never going to love the journey and you might even become miserable. You’re always looking to do the next big thing instead of appreciating everything that you’ve done so far.
8. Don’t seek approval from others.
“The person who seeks all their applause from outside has their happiness in another’s keeping.”– Dale Carnegie
It’s a sad way to live when you live your life wanting to please others and waiting for their approval. This type of mindset is bound to lead to a life of misery and pretension. This is especially true with our parents. I discovered that I was doing a lot of things I didn’t even want to do because I wanted to get approval from them. The same goes with our friends. We always fear what others think of us and want to be liked by everyone. In the end, it’s still your life so you get to decide what you want to do and who you want to be. So please don’t let others dictate that for you.
9. Stop living too much in the future.
“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.”– Gautama Buddha
As ambitious and hard working people, we tend to worry and think too much about the future. We plan our path endlessly and worry whether or not we will get there. We worry if we can even survive this upcoming exam, let alone a full-time career and life. On the other hand, we also tend to “live” in the future to the point we forget to appreciate life in the present. Before we know it, life passes before our eyes. You may be young now but time flies by so fast. Even the time you spent watching this video, is gone. So make the most out of this short life you have. I sound so cliché, I’m sorry.
10. Life isn’t all about work.
“Working gets in the way of living.”– Omar Sharif
If I had my own autobiography, it’d be titled “workaholic.” As hardcore workaholics, it’s so easy to get consumed in work and forget about everything else in life. We’re always so wrapped up in school work and in our careers to the point we forget to enjoy all the other parts of life. At some point, I think I was seeing my bosses and professors more than my parents. It was strange.
I think my greatest fear is one day realizing that life had passed by me before my eyes and all I’ve ever done was work. So I urge you guys and to myself to not let work dominate your entire life. Don’t neglect other aspects of your life like your family, friends, health, spirituality, self care etc…I also made a post on work-life balance to help address this issue which you can check out here.
- 1. Watch your inner self talk. We tend to focus on negative things more than positive things. We need to ignore the hateful comments in our mind and recognize it can be wrong.
- 2. Compare yourself only to your past self. We’re all different so there’s no point of comparison. We should only reflect on how we’ve improved from our past.
- 3. Take out the trash. We need to dump out all the negative content and influences in our life.
- 4. Make mistakes often. Mistakes are a link to growing as a person. Learn and reflect upon the mistakes made.
- 5. Don’t be blocked by perfectionism. Don’t wait for the right time. Be satisfied with being 70-80% ready and take action.
- 6. Step out of your comfort zone. We need to do more things we fear to get a feeling of confidence.
- 7. Embrace the journey. Celebrate the small wins. We shouldn’t get so caught up in the future and in being busy. We need to stop to appreciate the present moment.
- 8. Don’t seek approval from others. This applies especially to family and friends. We shouldn’t let them dictate our life.
- 9. Stop living too much in the future. We shouldn’t focus too much on the future but enjoy the present moment.
- 10. Life isn’t all about work. Don’t let work dominate your entire life. Don’t neglect other important life areas like family, friend, health, spirituality, self care etc…
Like I said before, your mindset has the power to shape and change your life. That’s why we need to throw out the negative influences and embrace the present moment the best we can. We need to focus on changing and improving our mindset for a better life. With a positive and growth mindset, who knows where we will end up in life?
Thanks for reading! Let’s keep learning and growing!
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