Over the years, I have found that there are certain belief systems that can either help or hinder your quest to build mental resilience.
Sometimes a mindset shift, or new angle of approach, may be exactly what is needed to move the needle and increase your motivation to overcome challenges and stick with your goals to the very end.
With this in mind, let’s explore five positive mindset shifts that can significantly improve your mental resilience:
1. Pursue failure, instead of avoiding it
Your view of failure sets the tone for how you deal with disappointments in life. A vital lesson I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that the degree of failure you experience in life is a reflection of the amount of effort you’re putting in. I particularly resonate with a quote attributed to Albert Einstein, which states that “If you’ve never failed, you’ve never tried anything new.”
A positive mindset shift occurs when you see failure as an opportunity to learn, collect ‘data’ from your mistakes, and gain experience that could potentially help you leapfrog into success. Although failure can feel defeating in the moment, over time I have observed that great success is built on great failures. Now I eagerly look for opportunities where I could potentially fail, because there’s always more to the experience than failure itself.
2. Seek to understand emotions, rather than pushing them aside
A key mindset shift occurs when an individual changes their perspective on the value of emotional expression. People often think that emotions are useless and that they are the polar opposite to facts and logic. However, studies have consistently found that emotions have a beneficial effect on logical reasoning and play an integral role in efficient decision-making.
Emotions enable us to adapt to sensitive situations and cultivate meaningful relationships with others. People who view emotions as helpful are generally reported as being happier and having more social support than those who view emotions as a hindrance. Viewing emotions as something that can be controlled is the first step towards developing emotional intelligence. Such a mindset can help you recover better from emotional upset and prevent you from falling into depression and anxiety.
3. Anticipate change, instead of dreading it
It can be crippling to constantly live in fear of change. An avoidance approach to change can mean that when a task doesn’t go to plan, it could start to affect your self-belief. A subtle danger arises when a person inextricably links their self-confidence to their ability to solve certain problems in the same way every time. If the terrain changes, such a person may find that their map no longer works, and may immediately shrink away in defeat.
Mental resilience is built on the premise that change is the only constant in life. An anticipatory approach to change acknowledges that change is inevitable, but how you handle it is up to you. Rather than hoping that change doesn’t occur (which it always will), I’ve learned to prepare for the worst and diversify risk – while hoping for the best.
4. Learn self-sufficiency, rather than seeking mass approval
A self-sufficient person is confident, independent, and does not require the validation of others to stay motivated. Rather than just following the crowd, such a person has strong goals that are clear in their own mind.
Realizing that we will not always be everyone’s cup of tea is a powerful mindset shift that can build mental resilience. Sometimes peers will drag you down simply because you’re the first to achieve something within your age or social group – a concept often referred to as crab mentality. Having your own criteria for success enables you to find fulfillment and joy in your work without being disrupted by the negative opinions of others.
5. Realize that you can be the exception, not just the rule
One of my favourite quotes is by AOL founder Steve Case: “You shouldn’t focus on why you can’t do something, which is what most people do. You should focus on why perhaps you can, and be one of the exceptions.”
In order to be positive about the future, you have to believe that you are capable of working towards and achieving your goals. Rather that habouring self-doubt, direct your energy into working hard and increasing the likelihood of your success. Even if you have few role models in your field, don’t get discouraged. You can be the exception – and then pave the way for others.
Many behaviours that we display on a daily basis are deeply rooted in our personal perspective of the world, including what we believe about ourselves and those in our community. By embracing the positive mindset shifts above, you can build a level of mental resilience that will help you confidently navigate challenging times.