Mindset, as the word implies, is how one’s mind has been set to process thoughts and beliefs. Your mindset is your mental inclination, thinking preference, or frame of mind. Your mindset controls how you make sense of the world, and how you make sense of yourself. Proverbs 23:7 says “As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he”.
A thought is an idea that runs through your mind. You may have thousands of them daily but none of them have the power to affect you until they are deemed true, at that point, they become beliefs. Thus, a belief is a thought that has taken root in you. Thoughts are fleeting and less concrete. Beliefs are perpetual and more deeply held.
Your mindset is formed or shaped by your thoughts and beliefs. Together they form your contemplation habits which affect how you think, what you feel, and what you do. Your contemplation habits can be likened to the process of building a table—you have the legs, then the plank on top. The legs are your references and experiences. The plank is your conviction. According to Tony Robbins, your tables must not be permanent; they can be fortified, renovated or demolished. (We will delve into this later)
Time and time again through the Epistles, we see Paul’s mindset reflected. I consider Paul a great man. He was resilient, brave, tenacious, passionate and undaunted. I wonder how he was wired. He talked about pressing on, fighting to finish, etc. Now, hear him here: I want you to know how glad I am that it’s me sitting here in this jail and not you. There’s a lot of suffering to be entered into in this world – the kind of suffering Christ takes on. I welcome the chance to take my share in the church’s part of that suffering. When I became a servant in this church, I experienced this suffering as a sheer gift, God’s way of helping me serve you, laying out the whole truth. (Colossians 1:24-25)
Paul thrived so well despite his numerous hardships and challenges. Why? Because of his mindset. His was positive. He thought in a particular way, a way that led him to fulfilment and success. What can you learn from him?
1. To focus on the good- it takes the same amount of energy to tilt to the negative as to the positive. Why lean into the undesirable? Keep your attention on the right things.
2. To practice gratitude- this reduces stress and fosters resilience even in very difficult times. The practice of gratitude will make you more thankful and optimistic about the future.
3. To acknowledge purpose- when you know your life is for something bigger than you, you are able to reframe your situation, no matter how bad it is. You can face whatever life brings because you will make meaning out of it.
4. To quarantine negativity- thoughts don’t seek permission to visit your mind, but they need permission to stay. You have the right to isolate and imprison the unhealthy ones. Do it!
5. To pray and depend on God for help- the best thoughts and beliefs to have are that God is with and for you. When that is your mindset and you reach out to Him in prayer, He answers with interventions that ensure you are never stranded in life.
You can develop a positive mindset.