Happiness is subjective – it can mean different things to different people. What will make one person happy may not make another feel the same way.
However, there are certain universal habits we can all adopt that will help us along in the journey to our own unique happiness and one of them is mindset.
Life has its ups and downs and we are inevitably going to come across hurdles and challenges – this is the reality of life. But how we choose to look at these times in our life can add to, or take away from, our personal happiness.
Mindset affects our responses to a particular situation or can, for example, determine how much effort we put into something and the strategies we adopt. Since we all have goals in life and situations we come across, mindset is particularly important in how we deal with life in general.
When it comes to our happiness, there are two types of mindset we can have – one is fixed mindset and the other is growth mindset.
Fixed Mindset – This kind of mindset damages our ability to experience happiness. A lot of us have it without even knowing and has been ingrained in us from a young age through the people around us.
A person with a fixed mindset believes everything is measurable and focuses on the goal outcome with an expectation of either success or failure with failure being the worst thing in the world. A person with a fixed mindset ignores the learning process, gets depressed and loses self-esteem easily becoming pessimistic (especially in the way they explain the world to themselves) if the outcome wasn’t as expected. They give up easily if a strategy or anything they set out to do didn’t work out for them.
Growth Mindset – This mindset is key to being much happier in our lives and for many is not a mindset we are overly familiar with.
A person with a growth mindset acknowledges that they will always learn from situations, hard times and challenges and be able to bounce back and be resilient. They believe that they are always growing and learning and that success in life (whatever that may be for you) is a continuous development of their skills. They reflect on strategies or situations and try alternatives if they didn’t work out. In essence, there’s no such thing as failure because it’s all about the journey, learning from mistakes and improving themselves.
So how do we adopt a growth mindset?
First of all realise you have a choice to change your mindset. It may not be an instant change but acknowledging you have the power to change your thinking, beliefs and perspectives is key to a happier mindset.
- Look out for your fixed mindset voice, it’ll say things like “What if you fail?”. We all have it somewhere – it’s pesky and undermining us!
- Recognise you have a choice to change it – we are all capable of changing and replacing thoughts to more positive ones (meditation is good for this!)
- Talk back to your fixed mindset with a growth mindset – the key to changing your fixed mindset is to challenge it: “are you sure you can do this?” “I’m not sure if I can do it now but with time and effort I can learn.”
- Act with your growth mindset and accept failure can happen and that it’s okay. It’s a process and a learning curve for growth – learn from setbacks and show yourself compassion.
Happiness is all in our mind and it’s our choice and our decision. It’s also subjective to each and every one of us but for everyone it’s important how we look at our journey to happiness. Bad things happen and it’s part of life, but we have a choice in how we look at them and interpret them.
Life can be challenging but with a growth mindset it’s about embracing your negative feelings and emotions but also not letting yourself dwell too much – understand that it’s an opportunity for growth rather than a setback.
Remember happiness is not luck, it’s a way of thinking 🙂