My kids say I am old. I don’t feel old. I swim almost a mile a day. I feel stronger than ever. So I wonder, what they mean by that? Do they mean that I look old? That can’t be! I think they are faced with what every new generation is faced with: they think I think old. They have all the new thoughts; I have old ones. They are learning so much all the time and probably think that I have learned all I am going to learn. As adults, we now know that learning new things is a lifelong journey, but do we know that thinking new can also be a lifelong journey?
How do you think differently? The answer is to simply think differently. Let’s run through a scenario where by the end of it you will be convinced that you can change your thoughts. Follow these four steps:
- Think about ice cream. Describe it. Cone? Bowl? Toppings? Flavor?
- Think about a car. Color? Make? Model? Type? Function?
- Think about a snake. Length? Poisonous? In your backyard? In Africa? Zoo?
- Think about your job. Been there long? Like your boss? Good friends?
You may not know it, but what you just did was intentionally change your thoughts. No longer can you claim that you do not have the power to change a thought. You can change it on a dime. Of course there were no emotions tied to the scenario above, so it was relatively easy. Now this is not something you should do all the time, but I wanted to use this technique to prove that you can, in fact, change your thoughts on a subject.
That is part one, changing your thoughts, the real work is not just changing your thoughts, but changing your thinking. We are all familiar with the famous quote credited to Henry Ford, “Whether you think you can or you can’t, you are right.” I believe this to be true, and obviously, so did he and a lot of others. There are two different mentalities represented here: the poverty mentality and the royalty mentality. These mentalities are either a foundation of lack or a foundation of abundance. There are several complex dynamics this thinking is based upon. These categories start when we are very young, and once they are ingrained, they are very difficult to reverse. You may have heard the saying “you can take the boy out of the farm but you can’t take the farm out of the boy.” In other words, even when you change your surroundings, this mentality still exists. Raised in poverty? Most people raised in poverty end up staying there. A lot of inspirational stories are birthed out of poverty, but for every Ben Carson, there are thousands of others stuck in that mentality and reality.
The poverty mindset is being jealous about someone else’s success instead of seeing what is possible and using others success as a springboard for even greater success. This mindset says ‘I can’t, because I don’t have enough to get started’ instead of taking what you do have a slowly building over time. The poverty mindset lacks hope for a brighter future. The poverty mindset says, ‘I am risk averse and will not take a chance.’ The poverty mindset says, ‘we always did it this way and we are just fine.’
Well, look around you, is everything in your life just fine? Too pointed a question? Let’s stick with work then. Everything there just fine? No changes needed? No breakthrough needed? For me, I can say that in every area, there is work needed. How do you see the next step? That is really the question that separates poverty from royalty. Poverty doesn’t see the next step, they see the next problem. Royalty sees the next step and understands that in that step is the breakthrough.
How do you think differently? The answer is to simply think differently. How do you change your thinking? That’s easy to, be hungry to make a difference. It’s almost an oxymoron. Royalty thinkers are hungry, hungry to make a difference. There is no pride there, just a hunger to make a difference. Poverty thinkers are satisfied. They completely minimize risk at the expense of advancement. Those looking to protect their careers need not apply. There is no job security here, there is risk. Changing the model is never easy. Those who are looking to make a difference and are willing to take a risk to change the world, please sign up and do so. You can change the way others see the world just by changing the way you see it. Try out the four steps above on a friend and get their feedback.
[This piece was originally published on Culture Infusion, a blog created by Chris Walden and Bill Rieger. Follow their blog on Twitter at @C_infusion.]
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