A mindset that is strong and built to last for a lifetime, is a mindset that is built to change, adapt and grow.
One of the reasons that motivation by itself doesn’t lead to change and improvement in the long term is that people get scared when they think about the future. They fear that any change might be too costly in terms of time, energy, money, and social status. They are worried about how others will react when old behaviors change.
“The snake which cannot cast its skin has to die. As well the minds which are prevented from changing their opinions; they cease to be mind.”― Friedrich Nietzsche
We all face challenges every day. Whether it is a simple change in the weather, a change in the schedule, or an unexpected thing that happens. Heraclitus states this when he says “The only constant in life is change”.
To build a long-term mindset, the most important thing we have to start with and work on is our resistance to change.
Change, even when we are aware of all the problems and challenges that needed to be dealt with, seems so dangerous and elusive. Especially when we have to make a decision about the welfare of others. Usually, in this case, stress piles up and we have to deal with strong resistance.
Take a moment and think about the last time you had to make a change. How did you feel?
A mindset that is resistant to change
Resistance to change and growth is normal, but staying the same is very costly.
Every time we deny an experience, we refuse to take one more step or we go back to the old, comfortable habits that we have. We are missing an opportunity for something better. To be able to deal with the resistance, we have to increase our sensitivity to our defensiveness and to take actions that are designed to outflank our psychological defensive mechanism.
We have to simply get out of our comfort zone, experiment a little bit there, and then return to the comfort zone. In time we see that the comfort zone expands and as a result, we grow.
The story of the five monkeys
There is a little wonderful story that shines a light on human behavior through the behavior of five monkeys. The story goes like this.
A group of scientists placed five monkeys in a cage, part of an experiment. In the center of the cage, they placed a tall ladder with a bunch of ripe bananas at the top. Every time a monkey started to climb the ladder, the scientists soaked the others with cold, freezing water. After a while, any time a monkey would start to climb the ladder, the others would simply grab it and beat it up.
After a while, the scientists removed one of the monkeys and switched it with a new one. As soon as the new monkey spotted the bananas, he tried to climb the ladder. The others grabbed the new one and beat it up at once. After several beatings, the new member of the group learned not to climb the ladder. Even though he never really felt the cold water.
A second monkey was changed with a new one and the result was the same. The interesting thing was that even the previous added monkey participated in the beating of the new one. The process was repeated until all the first-generation monkeys were removed from the cage.
In the end, the cage contained a group of five monkeys who had never received a cold shower, but who would beat up any monkey who attempted to climb the ladder.
The moral of the story
The moral of the story is that if we refuse to change, things can’t get better. They can only get worse, and without realizing we are doing the safe choices, just like all the others around us.
So, if the others are not having a strong mindset, we won’t be able to build one ourselves, without improving our resistance to change. Only when we develop a mindset that is built la change, we can say that we have a strong, resilient mindset.
Now it’s YOUR turn
- What was the hardest thing you had to change?
- How often do you change things in your life?
Through this article series, we are helping you build a solid mindset. We are strong believers that once we can understand a subject, we can engage with the idea or refuse it altogether. Both ways are helping us grow and develop our own way of seeing the world.
In the end, everything starts with us, with our mind, our self, and even our stories. Choose to act now on Studylia.