The Greatest Illusion of All

Have you noticed how some tasks are complex and overwhelming when you try them for the first time? And then over time, you completely forget about it ever being complex?

Take Driving as an example. First, you have to look around to see if you have a clear path ahead of you to begin, then you have to press the clutch, put the vehicle in first gear, slowly release the clutch while increasing the amount of throttle. All of this just to get the vehicle moving! I won’t even go into the details of how to keep that thing moving while constantly avoiding hitting others!

However, Luckily, as it becomes a routine, our brain starts to recognize the patterns. It automates them for us to make things simpler. And before we know it, we’re driving while talking to a friend sitting beside, sipping a drink, and if the phone rings, we have no problem looking at it either! That’s the power of habit!

But habits are not always good. We all have and know about our bad habits. We know how these keep us from doing a lot of good stuff we have the potential to do. But we never get around to it because of our bad habits. Today’s topic isn’t about habits though. It’s about something very similar, even more obvious, yet elusive.

Mindset!

Basically the same thing as habits. But the difference is all of us recognize bad habits. But we rarely realize how Mindset is an even bigger yet completely invisible barrier that drives us on daily basis and we don’t even know while it happens.

Just like habits, when we start believing something on daily basis, it becomes our mindset. For example, being lazy is not a habit or a physical medical problem. It’s all up in our head. We keep telling ourselves stuff like:

  • I can’t do that because I’m lazy — You are lazy because you have told yourself that all the time. You have the physical ability to get up and do that thing right now. Without anything stopping you!
  • I can’t go to the Gym, because I don’t want to be like those bodybuilder freaks who raw eggs — You think that because you have an assumption that this is what Gym is all about, while it’s all about being healthy and not all about getting those huge muscles.
  • I can’t talk to that person because I’m an introvert — Being an introvert is a real thing, but not talking to someone or being shy isn’t what being an introvert is about.
  • I’m not the kind of person who does something like that — Who else but you decides what kind of person you are? You are the kind of person you have always told yourself to be. While in reality, you can change that anytime if you are prepared to step out of your comfort zone.

While at the same time, there are good invisible habits as well that make decisions easier for us:

  • The biggest one is education for most people. No matter how much money our parents had, education was a priority for them. They would do anything to make sure we get proper education to get good jobs in the future.
  • Reframing a situation from negative to positive can help us learn a lesson from that failure while at the same time being positive enough to try it again the next time in a different way.

However, all of that is not an absolute truth but a mindset, a belief that you have adopted over time. Either because the people around you told you so, or because you tried it once and you decided it is like that for everyone.

The biggest problem with Mindset is, unlike our physical habits, our Mindset is invisible to us and those around us. That’s why we could live our whole lives without ever recognizing why we behave in a certain way.

Recognizing our invisible habits is the first step towards changing the ones that don’t serve you right.

How Mindset has Helped Me

Since I’ve learned about mindset and how there are invisible mental habits all of us have, I’ve started taking note of some of my own bad Mindset theories. Some of the major mindset shifts that have helped me in my life so far are:

  1. I always thought Gym is for people who want to lose weight because that’s what I was thought. But then I looked it up on Google and decided to try going to Gym for 3 months against my belief. Turned out, the more energy I spent in the Gym, the better my metabolism got. Not only that, I rarely stepped out of my home and because of Gym, I was going out on daily basis. Since I was already out, I would eat something delicious I craved for the day on my way back home after Gym.
  2. Back in 2013, I had learned from the failures of others that most of the “Earn Online” stuff is a scam. However, again, I went online, did some research and decided to give Upwork (Formerly oDesk) a shot since it had some good reviews and there was a whole online freelance industry out there. Turns out it was not a scam and because of that one change in mindset, today I earn all my money online. Not only that, I’ve resigned from a Govt job of being a college teacher.
  3. The more you try out new stuff in your life, the more failures you are bound to face. So, I’m kind of prepared for most of the failures before time by having a backup plan. Even then, the failures still hurt. However, reframing the mindset from negative to positive has allowed me to find the one good thing that has come out from that experiment. Which helps me move on, learn my lesson and then make another mistake later!

That’s not all, however. I’m always on the lookout for a new mindset or finding my old hidden mindset. And I’m always finding new stuff to reframe or to think about in a different way that I had never thought of before.

Action Step: What hidden mindset can you think of right now from the top of your mind? Share it with others in the comments section below.

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