3 Mindsets That Can Change Your Life
These 3 mindsets changed my life because it introduced freedom, power, and choice back into my life. A lot of the times we live our lives as part of routine, by default we are always on autopilot. That autopilot allows us to move throughout our days without much worry and without fail because we continually invest in habitual habits that allow us to live our lives in a state of neutrality.
Most of us are not aware of this of course; our autopilot lives in our subconscious. If these habitual habits were to be made conscious, would we be happy? If our autopilot suddenly turned off and life demanded us to be present, who would be? Or would our identity cease to exist because we disturbed our long-lived state of neutrality?
What if we decided to wake up and become present? To be present is to live in the only moment that truly exists. It demands for us to ditch the autopilot and put ourselves back in the driver's seat. So let’s take back our own power and remember that we are solely responsible for how we choose to live our lives.
#1 I Am Not My Mind
[Note: In the context of this mindset, I refer to the Mind as a separate individual. I do this because the key to this mindset shift is to separate our Mind from our identity. I believe that we can have a relationship with our Mind just like we can have a relationship with others. However, it is up to us to decide what that relationship will be.]
Our Mind is quite a powerful thing. It can ride a fine line between friend and foe, with the deciding factor being us. What kind of relationship will we choose to partake in? Friend or foe. Ally or enemy. Aid or hindrance.
To be able to have a positive relationship with our mind we must first become aware of our own negativity bias. Our brains are hardwired to become more stimulated by tragedy, trauma, misfortune than joy, happiness, or bliss. This means that negative events in our life tend to pack more of a punch in our memory than positive ones. This trait served us well in the early days of our existence for the whole “fight or flight” thing, but in the context of today it just means our mindset is naturally inclined towards the negative.
Now I’m not saying that we are walking around being pessimistic all the time, but by becoming aware of our instinctual thought pattern, we can regain the power in what we choose to think, believe, and pursue by first separating our Mind from ourselves.
Assess the validity of the statement: I control my Mind more than my Mind controls me.
For most of us, we probably have never considered this statement nor have we ever thought of our Mind as being separate from ourselves. However, treating our Mind as a separate individual can make it easier for us to reject the thoughts that the Mind creates.
The thoughts that first come to mind are impulsive, leaving them susceptible to our negativity bias. If we are not conscious of our bias, our thoughts can go from predicting the worst about the situation to creating a whole narrative about why that catastrophic outcome is plausible and then before we know it, we have fallen down the rabbit hole of negativity.
However, by consciously making a decision to separate our Mind from our identity we become the observer of our thoughts instead of the slave.
When we become the observer, we no longer place emotion or labels on any one of our thoughts. This allows us to approach our Mind like an unbiased third-party and in doing so, we are able to observe our thoughts without placing judgment. Our thoughts will continue to occur but we, as the observer, do not have to give our energy, time, or even belief to any thought that does not serve us in a positive way. We can simply allow the thought to exist but pay it no attention.
By doing so we sever the notion that we are our thoughts.
We sever the notion that we have no choice but to become our thoughts.
We sever the notion that we are powerless against our thoughts.
This mindset shift allows us to regain control by not identifying with our Mind. It reminds us that we do have a choice in what we choose to believe. It places the power of choice back into our hands and this is the key to our freedom.
#2 Happiness IS a choice
When I was in one of the darkest places of my life and continued to cycle negativity around me like a merry-go-round, some people would tell me “Happiness is a choice.” And when they would tell me this, I would be so astounded. “They make it sound so simple. Of course I would choose happiness if that was an option for me.” Then I would walk off all hot and bothered, completely shocked at their level of insensitivity.
What I failed to realize in those moments is that I was so concerned with only my pain and emotions that it blinded me to what they were truly trying to say. Saying that “Happiness is a choice” is not someone trying to diminish the hardship that you have gone through. It is not insensitivity towards your pain or your struggle. It is not someone trying to tell you that you have no basis to feel the way you do.
You are entitled to feel however you want to feel about whatever you want to feel it about. We do not have a choice in whether or not we experience unpleasant events in our life. However, the decision of whether or not we have to suffer is still up to us.
We cannot control external life events, no matter how hard we try to plan for the unexpected. When these events occur our body reacts naturally with a whole slew of emotions. If these emotions are of anger, sadness, and despair, then so be it. We can still feel all of these emotions and still make a conscious decision to be happy. We can still strive to seek happiness in our day.
Happiness is a choice. It does not mean that you feel nothing but happiness, but instead it means that in spite of everything else that you may feel or experience, you are still choosing to find happiness wherever you can. Happiness is always an option, just like sadness.
Happiness takes effort. There are moments, which I like to call gifts, where happiness is brought to us. However, in most moments it is choosing to see the light amongst the chaos. There are times when happiness gets harder and harder to find, but it is always there, even if it is just for a moment.
Every moment of every day is an opportunity to find, feel, and create happiness for ourselves. The choice is up to us.
#3 The Past is Gone
“The past is already gone, the future is not yet here. There’s only one moment for you to live, and that is the present moment”
The past can hold memories of trauma, tragedy or negative events that are linked to emotions of regret, fear or sadness. Due to our brains hardwired negativity bias, we are not only more inclined to remember negative events over positive ones, but we also continue to relive these negative life events over and over. I’ve written about this topic previously (here) and the main takeaway is that instead of choosing to keep ourselves in a constant state of pain by reliving the past, we can reprogram our brains to go against our hardwired negativity bias.
We can make a choice to think in a different way. When the past come up, instead of diving into the painful memories, we can instead move forward by acknowledging and accepting that the past is gone.
No matter how much we wish, plead, and beg to change the events that have already transpired, it is not physically possible to do so. Well, not yet at least. And until the power of time travel exists, the only moment we truly have is now. If we choose to exist in the present moment only to live in the past, we will never move forward. The past is gone and however sad that can be, we can also take a great amount of freedom from it.
Free yourself from the past. We cannot get it back nor change what has happened. While the past may weigh heavily in our hearts and minds we can choose to not let the past affect the now. The past is not a predictor of what today has in store for you, only you can decide that.
Treat everyday like a new beginning. Forget about yesterday and do not even concern yourself with tomorrow. Live today, be present, and continue to walk forward with the knowledge this moment can be however you want it to be.
You have the power. You have a choice. You have everything you need to have a great day, every single day.