This article is going to help you expose some of the Mindset Traps that maybe you don’t even know that you have. Identifying the traps is always the first step to overcoming them!
So, what are Mindset Traps? They’re often the results of our upbringing or of impactful life events. These are not ‘top-of-mind’ thoughts that we have, but deep beliefs that live in our subconscious. And, very importantly, they are not accurate representations of our reality!
Now the mindsets we’re going to talk about don’t have hard lines. Many of them overlap and blend into one another. There are, however, subtleties within each mindset that are worth exploring and thinking about.
Take your time going down the list and jot down anything that jumps out at you. Try to reflect back on the past couple of days. Are there any examples of times when you slipped into one of these mindset traps. Be kind though – identifying the slips is the first and most important step!
Remember, the following mindsets are common – certainly most people (including very successful people) struggle with them daily.
1. Fixed Mindset
The Fixed Mindset is all about unwillingness to step out of one’s comfort zone. It’s kind of like living in a bubble. Anything you want to accomplish or create is framed by what you’re familiar with – what is in sight and what you already know.
This trap is inherently unambitious. Your vision – in life or for your business – will be constrained with little room to expand.
When you come across a roadblock, or some situation that you don’t understand, how do you usually respond? Do you stop and back track? Or, do you take to learning and search for the way through?
The opposite of Fixed Mindset is the Growth Mindset. Needless to say, Growth Mindset is all about potential and expansion. You can always learn more, grow stronger and increase your effectiveness. Now the things in your way – any kind of resistance – have become lessons and training for improvement!
Fixed and Growth Mindsets were coined by Professor of Psychology, Dr. Carol Dweck and is the core subject of her book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. I highly recommend if your interested in the subject.
2. Limiting Beliefs
Oh Limiting Beliefs…everybody has them. I’m talking about the times we say or think things like “I can’t…” or “I’ll never be…“. We mistake the things that require extra effort or risk as impossible. The truth is, often times those ‘impossible‘ things really aren’t.
It stems from a fear of failure and a lack of self confidence. Instead of stepping up and facing a challenge, we simply rule it out as an option. We think that we can’t fail if we don’t try and so we create Limiting Beliefs in order to cope.
Do you find yourself saying or thinking Limiting Thoughts? Sometimes it can be difficult to see it in yourself. But here are some very common examples:
- I can’t do X
- It can’t be easy because X
- I’m not worthy
- I could never make it work
Just have a pause and gently push back on the things you’ve said or thought about.
The idea is to ‘step back’ from your thoughts and observe them objectively. Really challenge the things you’ve labeled as ‘out of reach’. I think you’ll find that often times those thoughts and labels don’t hold up. Look for proof as to why it’s not true. It’s such an empowering realization and reframe!
3. Imposter Syndrome
Our next one on the list is a biggie. Imposter Syndrome is an extremely common phenomenon that affects people in all sorts of positions, both men and women alike. In short, it’s that deep feeling you get when you’re insecure about your ability. You feel as if you’re not intelligent/experienced/able (etc.) enough to be doing what you’re doing.
As a result of Imposter Syndrome you may find yourself demotivated or reluctant to show yourself to the world. You’ll feel timid and you will lack the authority that we really need to have an impact.
Do you ever feel as though ‘successful’ people have something special – something that you lack? Do you ever downplay any success that you’ve achieved? Are you ever scared that you’re going to be discovered as some kind of fraud?
Once again, the reality is very different from how our minds are interpreting our situation. Truth is, everyone has a unique perception, unique abilities, and unique experiences which are valuable. Practice self-love and feel confident that what you do matters. Give yourself credit when it’s due.
Perfectionism is one of those things that, at a quick glance, sort of looks like a positive attribute. Only good things can come from obsessing over the tiny details and putting forth nothing short of your best work…right?
The major problem with this is time. Maybe you’ve spent far more time than the project (or whatever) really warranted. This leads to procrastination – you delay and delay and justify it by telling yourself that it’s not perfect yet.
Also, you’re relying on only your idea of perfection. If you’re not putting yourself – or the things you make – out there, you aren’t going to be receiving important feedback that will help you improve.
If you are not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you’ve launched too late.Reid Hoffman, founder of LinkedIn
The answer is to adopt a healthy relationship with mistakes and errors. Accept that perfection is an unrealistic goal. You will fall short sometimes and that is precisely how you will learn and progress. Progress beats perfectionism every time.
5. Employee Mindset
The name Employee Mindset needs to be understood in contrast to its opposite, which is the Entrepreneurial Mindset. It’s not meant to pick on all of the employees out there! This mindset can also be thought of as a follower/leader comparison.
Do you catch yourself being passive and reactionary? Do you struggle to make (or avoid making all together) the big, ‘life-directing’ decisions? There can definitely be a comfort in following the rules/ the norms/ the herd. You are separated from direct responsibility, there is predictability, and you may sleep better at night.
By doing and thinking as most people do, you need to expect the results that most people get. I don’t know about you but words like ‘average’, or ‘normal’, or ‘the usual’, don’t get me excited when talking about my life and work!
Very few (if any) self-made successful people achieved their success without stepping into a leadership role and setting their own path.
It’s about developing ‘muscles’ for things like initiative, vision and decision-making. When you’re running the show, you can’t be waiting for someone to hold your hand and show you the way.
6. Closed Mindset
The Closed Mindset is similar to Fixed Mindset, but has a a number of distinguishing features. Closed minded people tend to be set and confident in their ways and beliefs. They see contrasting views as flat-out wrong. When things are really gray and ambiguous, they only see black and white.
An easy way to identify a Closed Mindset is by the amount that someone talks and answers, rather than asks questions.
Do you ever find yourself inflexible in your beliefs? Do you put forth ideas or make decisions with a complete unwillingness to compromise? Have you surrounded yourself with people who only think similarly to you?
Having a Closed Mindset can lead to blind spots and bias. You might simply overlook something because you haven’t given enough thought about things that exist outside of your world-view. Needless to say, this can be dangerous and inefficient.
Practice Open Mindset instead. Ask questions to people who disagree with you and try to see the issue through their eyes. Question your own beliefs – the longer you’ve held the beliefs, the more you should scrutinize them.
Open Mindedness isn’t about not taking a side and remaining neutral in everything. Rather, it’s about acknowledging that you just might be wrong and someone might just know better.
Important: When reflecting upon yourself, a completely Close Minded person would never see themselves as Close Minded! Really dig in and question how receptive you are to things that challenge your beliefs.
7. Scarcity Mindset
So much of our lives revolves around money – no way around it! As a result of money’s importance we have developed a variety of good and bad relationships with it. Scarcity Mindset is all about feeling lack – not having enough. This extends far beyond dollars and cents, however, money is a major part and makes a clear example of Scarcity, so let’s focus on that to begin.
Do you struggle to part ways with your hard earned dollars? Do you feel that money is a necessary evil in this world and it has a chokehold on you? Or do you feel that all of things you want are perpetually out of reach? These are all symptoms of a Scarce Mindset.
We must cultivate a healthy and positive relationship to money. One thing we can do is practice an Abundant money mindset. Be deliberate, but generous on how and where you spend your money. And, know that money is simply a tool and a neutral, unlimited resource – it doesn’t define who we are.
Invest in yourself! Whether its education, or access, or in some r & r, or anything that’s going to make you stronger in the long run. There is no greater use of your money! It’s an investment, not a cost.
Let them go…
Our subconscious mind is all about survival. It prioritizes our safety, not our growth and prosperity. All of the Mindset Traps we just discussed live in your subconcious and not in the real world! If we’re always running on autopilot, and not being deliberate/present in our thoughts and actions, we can fall victim to these Mindset Traps. These mindsets only serve to hold you (and your business) back from your full potential.
Identifying your own Mindset Traps is the first step to getting beyond them. Write down examples throughout the day. Reflect on them and dissect them. If they don’t serve you, get rid of them!
If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten.Tony Robbins
You have the power to change your life!
If you ever have any further questions about Mindset Traps, please reach out to email@example.com or write in the comments below!