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3 Mindset Shifts Adults Can Learn from Watching Disney’s Zootopia

Simple Shifts, Big Impact

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Have you ever watched a children’s movie and walked away feeling inspired in ways you weren’t expecting? 

I recently watched the Disney movie Zootopia again for the first time in a few years. I was flooded with memories of seeing it when it was released, which was a time when I was experiencing some setbacks in my life and business and was being pretty hard on myself. I took my daughter to see the movie, and I think I probably loved it more than she did! I walked out feeling inspired & energized, both by the movie characters and by Shakira’s uplifting song, “Try Everything.” Seeing the movie again reminded me of the powerful messaging.

I have listened to the words of this song over and over again. I sang them out loud and off-key until their meaning seeped into my spirit, tapped into my resilience, and reminded me it was time to get back in the arena. Seeing the movie again reminded me of the determination, perseverance, and grit that the little bunny, Judy Hopps, had in the face of seemingly insurmountable challenges.  She insisted on staying in the arena to live her dream of being a decorated police officer, even when everyone around her insisted it was impossible. 

Being like Judy Hopps and choosing to embrace the challenge, ignore the naysayers, and not give up requires us to believe that success comes with effort. For many, this is a mindset shift.

What is Mindset?

Your mindset is your conscious and unconscious thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, and ideas that have been programmed into your mind through social and cultural conditioning. From the moment you are born, your brain takes in information, and your mind interprets the data to make sense of your world. Your thoughts and beliefs then create your sense of reality and trigger emotions. So, every interaction with parents, teachers, siblings, family, friends, stories in books, religious leaders, and media leaves an imprint. 

Over time, a person’s mindset becomes deeply ingrained as neuropathways create habitual thoughts and behaviors that affect all aspects of their professional and personal life.

Is Your Mindset Working for You or Holding You Back?

How you answer the following questions will give you some insight into how your mindset is focused. 

When faced with new challenges, how do you react? Do you respond with confidence, knowing that you can succeed with time, effort, and practice? Or do you find yourself questioning your skills, motivation, or abilities? 

Are you afraid of making a mistake? Do you view failure as a normal part of the journey to success? Or do you avoid challenges to save face?

When you encounter setbacks or criticism, can you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and persevere? Or do you get frustrated and give up?

I know for me, rewiring my brain to unlearn the thoughts, beliefs, and attitudes that stopped me from being in the arena required an intentional shift in my mindset.  

If your mindset is deeply ingrained and thinking like Judy Hopps doesn’t come naturally to you, how do you change it? 

Here are three simple ways to begin:

1.      Change starts & ends with me.  Realize that you are entirely responsible for your thoughts, beliefs, and actions. Your emotions are your guide to what is going on. If you want to be different, be willing to create new habits, new thoughts, and challenge your old thinking. Identify your successes and believe in your capabilities. Develop your self-confidence by taking steps forward and trust in your ability to achieve your goals.

2.      New ideas come from failure. Failure is part of the journey to success; accept it. Many people are conditioned to avoid mistakes, believing that failing makes them look stupid. But this is so wrong. Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, often tells childhood stories of when her father would ask her and her brother, “what did you fail at today?” Thus, Sara grew up believing that failure was how innovation happened and was not afraid to try new things. Setbacks, challenges, and obstacles will occur and are your most significant opportunity for growth and learning. Embrace them and seek solutions. 

3.      Take imperfect action. Many say perfection is the nemesis of done! Get started. Make an effort and be open to tweaking your project as it moves along. Each imperfect step moves you further along the road to success than not ever starting at all. Believe in yourself and your dreams, even if no one else does. Each day is a new beginning, a unique opportunity to start and try again. 

And, if nothing else works, put Shakira’s “Try Everything” song on your favorite playlist, learn the lyrics and sing it loudly over and over again. Keep singing this song until you realize that, no matter what, you learn something each time you fall and get back up. And, even though you might fail, keep your heart and mind open, be determined, build your self-confidence, and take that leap of faith.

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