How I Realised My Potential With a Positive Mindset

inspirational quotes pinned up on a wall to promote a positive mindset

Success is never guaranteed, regardless of how smart you are. It’s often your mindset that will bring about better outcomes for you than intelligence alone, but the reality is that this kind of positive psychology is difficult for some people to wrap their head around. I spent a long time doubting myself and my abilities, I was in a rut and didn't know how to get out of it. I'd been in a toxic relationship and felt stuck, hadn't put my uni degree to any use and I used to look around and feel like everyone was achieving things except for me. Sometimes it can feel as though everything is against you and things are out of your control, but I have a secret for you...they're absolutely not. With a positive mindset you put yourself in the best position for success, and the only thing I needed to do to start living the way I wanted was change the way I was thinking. I left the person I was with who made me deeply unhappy, I got my own home, worked hard at the gym and started feeling good about myself again. I threw myself into my business and career and managed to achieve more than I ever thought possible. For me, it took hitting rock bottom to realise I needed to go back up, but my advice is never let it get to that stage. Change your frame of mind and you'll seek opportunities, handle setbacks better and can generally achieve your goals much more easily. Your state of mind is absolutely everything; here's how you can be more positive, and realise your potential. 

Adopt the ‘growth mindset’
Becoming a more positive person is easier said than done, at least for any length of time. Even if you genuinely want to make the change, we can all get bogged down with those old familiar thoughts and doubts that have always held us back. It’s vital to adopt what is known as the ‘growth mindset’ if you want to improve your all-around performance and become more motivated. First, start to understand that there's no quick path to success. There will be many challenges that lie ahead, but it’s important that you embrace these. Be prepared for obstacles and setbacks, as the road to success is rarely a smooth one. In many cases, it's what you're able to learn from your so called 'failures', they're far more valuable than instant success. Learn what went wrong, and be confident in your ability to dust yourself off and try again. Research shows that just by thinking positively, your brain is stimulated to be more imaginative, motivated, empathetic, and broader thinking.

Start monitoring how you think
Get used to noticing when negative thoughts take hold, it’s a lot easier to head them off before they start to spiral. Start taking note of what you're telling yourself in your mind, and change your thoughts when you're not being very kind. When you make a mistake, instead of telling yourself how stupid and useless you are, learn to forgive yourself and realise that perfection is impossible. Make a mental note to do things differently next time. Our thoughts can become a self fulfilling prophecy- tell yourself over and over that you're going to fail because you're stupid and worthless and you've already set up the failure. Tell yourself that you're worthy, you'll do your best to succeed and chances are you will. And if you don't, it goes back to the growth mindset- pick yourself up and try again. With a positive frame of mind you're more likely to see the lesson and give things another go, instead of giving up completely. Journalling is a good way to monitor your thoughts, as is meditation. It sounds like generic advice but it's not, it's something I do myself and can honestly say it's incredibly effective. Even when we're alone, most of us find ways to distract ourselves. We watch tv or scroll through our phones, we play games or read books. Every now and again, take the time to be by yourself and work through the issues in your mind without finding ways to avoid them.

Plan realistically
Setting yourself realistic goals is key to success. You might want to reach for the stars, but focusing on smaller objectives and working up one step at a time is how you'll get there. There's a quote that I love that states 'just put one foot in front of the other, and one day you'll look back and realise you've climbed a mountain.' That's what you need to do, put one foot in front of the other, it's easy to stand at base camp, look up at what lies ahead and be put off by the challenge. But breaking it down into smaller steps will help you to reach the summit.  For example, let’s say that your ultimate goal is to start your own business. Your first step will most likely to be to go to university, get an MBA or degree in a relevant subject. You then might decide to work as an employee in a similar business for a set amount of time after that to gain experience, and then later on, you have all of the experience and knowledge you need to make your venture a success. There's a clear set of steps that you need to follow, focus on each one at a time. Put it this way- if you want to swim the Channel, you don’t just head to the beach and start swimming. You need to train yourself until you're ready, get in shape, and find a guide or trainer that will teach you everything you need to know. Don't try and run before you can walk, come up with a plan and follow the steps to reach your goal in a logical order. 

Take responsibility
Finally, always understand that you and you alone are responsible for your actions. It’s easy to make excuses, you might blame your upbringing or your school, you might blame ex partners for holding you back or an illness or disability that made things more of a struggle. Life isn't fair, and unfortunately we don't all start off on a level playing field. However, if you want to achieve anything, it’s time to put this blame to bed and shift responsibility to yourself rather than someone or something else. It's time to take ownership of your life, work with what you have and play the hand you've been dealt. If you take a look into the history of many successful people, they often haven't had an easy time either. If they can achieve their dreams, why can't you? Get this part of the equation right, and you will be well on your way to realising your potential.

These days, my state of mind is better than it's ever been. I think back to the setbacks I've faced, and know that if I can get through those I can get through anything. Instead of panicking about what could happen in life, and stress about the 'what ifs' (something I was so bad for before) I'm able to take a step back and let things be what they're going to be. I can do this as I have faith in my ability to be able to get through anything. A huge element of it is letting go of control, knowing that things will happen whether you stress about them or not. So why bother?

Have you considered how your mindset could be affecting your potential?

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