You Have It All – You Should be Happy

Success: it’s all in your mind.

You have it all; everyone sees you as living the life and says you should be so happy! But you’re not. Inside, something is missing and you can’t seem to find happy. Is it you, or the rest of the world?

Mindset is a critical determinant of success and happiness. Much has been made of Dr. Carol Dweck’s theory of fixed and growth mindset, and rightfully so. Dweck has shown the tremendous benefit of those who have a growth mindset, believing in effort and development, rather than a fixed mindset, seeing what you have as static and set, for people to learn, grow, and achieve. I think a positive mindset is essential to being a successful entrepreneur.

The midnight sun in Husavik, Iceland where the skies are always sunny!

The midnight sun in Husavik, Iceland where the skies are always sunny!

So how do you get the right mindset for success?

Having struggled with anxiety and depression all through my life I know personally the challenge of keeping my mindset positive. On the outside it can all look great but inside I am crumbling and doubting. I question everything I do, have done, and might do to the point of being overwhelmed and unhappy. I put a mask on so no one suspects but that takes so much energy. I fall into a darker place.

But I keep trying.

The great aspect of mindset is that it can be changed at any time and any age. Scientists have shown that our brains have the incredible ability of neuroplasticity. Basically we can change our mind through changing how we think and act. It takes effort and deliberate practice and you can move to that positive mindset.

Step back a minute, though, and put your finger on mindset. What is it?

A mindset is basically a set of beliefs that drive your thinking, feeling, and acting. You pick them up through your childhood from family and friends. And you develop them further by the people around you. There are two aspects of your mindset that are key drivers for making changes. One part of your mindset is intellectual: you understand the beliefs. This is likely the easier part. Then comes the second part: the emotional aspect that is about your motivation to act on those beliefs.

To get to a positive mindset you may intellectually understand the incredible benefits and how to get there while emotionally, for whatever reason, you are not buying in. I face this challenge all the time: although I understand the value of thinking, feeling and acting a certain way, I emotionally can’t commit.

The emotional challenge is the result of psychology. And making changes here takes real effort and deliberate practice but, again, it can be done.

To both understand and buy into committing to a positive mindset, there are four parts of the equation:

1.      You need to feel a sense of belonging to a community. Positivity is contagious and supports you to make the changes to develop a positive mindset personally.

2.      You need to believe in your ability to do it. The self-confidence you have will keep you on track with effort to make it happen.

3.      You need to see that the effort you put in will multiply your abilities. You persevere and don’t get caught in expectations and judgment so that you keep trying and through trying you learn to become more accomplished.

4.      You need to feel it matters, it is meaningful to you. You have to want this mindset.

Getting to the mindset that will support you to grow and be happy with your business takes effort. You need to work at it daily and deliberately to both understand and be motivated that being positive is worth it – and you are worth it.

Some days can be tough to see you are worth it. You can help your practice of positive mindset through exercise, music, and meditation. Neuroscientists have found that learning something while using different parts of your brain amplifies the effort.

There is such an emphasis today on the value of being positive. I understand the reasoning, yet with increased focus and attention comes expectations. I should be able to be positive all the time. Actually having a positive mindset means you not only have a positive overall set of beliefs but also that you acknowledge, feel, and handle the negative aspects of life. I just have to give myself a break and set reasonable expectations for my positive mindset. It can’t be 24/7. It’s okay to have some down times while I keep working and practicing at keeping my mind on the positive.

Developing a positive mindset is achievable at any age and stage of life. It takes effort and practice that is well worth it. So don’t expect perfection – look for the progress and appreciate your growth. Be positive with you first. If you’re trying and not always seeing the positive, just like me, keep trying, your mind will follow you.

Tyler Batten