Mindset

Radical Mindset Shifts to Upgrade Your Life

mindset shifts

Did you ever stop to think that maybe it’s not your challenges that cause problems in your life, but the way that you’re thinking about those things?

It might be all in your head. I guess that’s what I’m saying.

I struggled with low self-esteem, anxiety and all the typical challenges of ADHD for most of my life – until I made a shift in my mindset, as I articulated in this post and in this one. I know what it’s like to fight against myself, to feel like I’ll never get caught up let alone get ahead, and to feel like there’s something wrong with me right down to the core.

It doesn’t matter if I had good reasons for feeling that way. I just did. Until I didn’t anymore.

You might think you have a lot of good reasons to feel like a piece of shit. It doesn’t matter because there are no good reasons. There are just feelings. Feelings can be changed.

Now, I’m not going to sermonize the nitty-gritty details of how I managed to break free from those struggles. But I am going to share with you a few curious and absolutely far-out-there mindset shifts I made – shifts that accelerated my growth because I learned to embrace radical self-acceptance. And that, as they say, is what made all the difference.

 

1. Nothing is As It Seems

I walk around this world with an over-talkative roommate in my head, who feels the need to comment about everything. She never shuts up. And she’s sooooo annoying. She’s like that guy who’s been to Cancun once and thinks he knows everything there is to know about Mexico and the people who live there.

I’ve learned to disregard half of what she says. I accept that my verbose roommate might not be the most accurate narrator.

As Michael Singer says (in Untethered Soul):

“There is nothing more important to true growth than realizing you are not the voice of the mind – you are the one who hears it.”

 

2. You Don’t Have a Right Not to Have Challenges

Why me? Why can’t I just be normal?

I wondered that endlessly too. Until I thought… why not me? Why should anyone else have these struggles instead of me? And … God-forbid… what if I had someone else’s struggles instead of my own? Life could be a whole lot worse.

I have a right to live. That’s it. I don’t have a right to be stress-free, wealthy, fit, or any other condition I might covet. Those are things I have to work for. Read more about this in Mark Manson’s counter-intuitive book on living a good life – The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F!*$. It’s in my top 5 favourite non-fiction books. In fact, its tied for the number one spot.

 

3. Normal Does Not Equal Correct

ADDers struggle with this a lot. They think there’s something wrong with doing things differently than other people.

Normal isn’t the same as good. It’s quite normal to waste a lot of your work-day chatting to colleagues, responding to never-ending email threads or watching Youtube. Millions of white collar workers get up to that tomfoolery every day. That doesn’t mean it’s effective.

If your way is weird but effective, so be it.

 

4. You Have Very Little Control over What Happens

Bad things happen to good people. And vice versa. Some people work hard and get nowhere while other people have their fortune handed to them in a silver sippy cup. It’s not what happens to you that matters most – it’s how you deal with. So deal with it.

More on this… read Ryan Holiday’s The Obstacle is the Way. It’s also in my top 5 favs, tied at number one. (I read it 5 times – back to back!)

 

5. Things Will Get Worse, but Then They’ll Get Better

You know when you walk into the bathroom of a nightclub to preen yourself and suddenly the bright lights illuminate just how horrid your skin looks and yellow your teeth appear? (Maybe you don’t look as fugly as I do when you’re intoxicated. Lucky you!)

When you shine a spotlight on your challenges, they will look worse. A lot worse. Before – you didn’t notice your ADD getting in your way. Now you’re noticing it all the time, and it looks like a freaking mess. That’s okay. You gotta see it first before you can begin to clean it up.

“The first step towards change is awareness. The second step is acceptance.”

Nathaniel Branden

 

6. It Aint about Happiness

We all want to be happy. But happiness isn’t a place. It’s not even a situation or a condition. It’s a feeling. One that comes and goes. So collect as many happy moments you can before you die. You can cultivate a happy moment from watching your dog fetch a stick out of the lake or from sitting alone with a good book and a cup of chai. You don’t get happy, you make happy. So enjoy it when you make it.

On the other hand, happiness isn’t really the point of life. Growth is. You can’t be happy every single moment of your life, but you can grow – continuously and endlessly – if you choose to.

 

7. Success is Measured in Moments not Miles

If you tally your life and see that you have done more good than bad, you are a success. End of discussion.

Success, however you define it, is impermanent. Quite simply because one day – you’ll die and it’ll all be over. Your legacy is not what you leave your children, or the world for that matter, it is the culmination of moments – whether you were washing dishes or starting a multi-billion dollar company. So put some effort into each moment.

“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

I won’t pretend that I invented these mindset shifts. But I slowly imbibed and adopted them as part of my paradigm, making them my own. Through doing that I saw radical shifts in my life. Not in what I was able to achieve, or how well I did in my endeavors, but in how felt about (and enjoyed) the simple experience of being alive.

I’m more curious about your radical mindset shifts  – tell me how you’ve changed your thinking (or plan to) and what effect it is had on your life in the comments below!

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4 comments on “Radical Mindset Shifts to Upgrade Your Life

  1. A stuck mindset is like your imprisoned inside yourself while frantically in a panic trying to escape to release anguishing feelings of fustration and helplessness.
    Screening mercifully for the earth to quake, in which will cause my mind and body to cooperate in incision. Only then can I shift into the gear of knowledge, understanding then wisdom (verb).
    And, just when I think I’ve got it in gear the check engine light comes on. The check engine light (bening my critically negative judgemental family). That means THIER SHIT just hit my fan setting constantly backwards into a CLUSTERFUCK. Therefore, with a impulsive quickness I through MY SHIT right back at them.
    Responsibility, yes. Responsible, no
    And, I’m tired of say I’m sorry and ask9ng for forgiveness .Tired of doing time that’s not mine.
    Bottom line is sometimes ( most of the time) those without ADHD (mainly family) that need be shift in mindset or nothing radical ever going to happen.
    EDUCATION=KNOWLEDGE=WISDOM

    1. I agree – its difficult for us when the people in our lives won’t shift their mindsets whatsoever. Difficult for us to feel free to be ourselves, but not impossible. You hit the nail on the head when you acknowledged that its their shit, not yours. Which ultimately means, you get to be you and how they respond to it is their own thing to deal with.

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