Are you an optimist or a pessimist?
Now, there’s a question you’ve probably read or heard a thousand and one times. You probably even answer the question most of the time.
But, why exactly, do people in the self improvement industry find this question to be so vitally important? And why is your answer even more important?
It all comes down to one of my favorite words: Mindset. Consider the definition from Dictionary.com:
mindset – noun
1. an attitude, disposition, or mood.
2. an intention or inclination.
….an intention or inclination. According to it’s own biography, your mindset will, ultimately, carry you to one of three places: In the right direction, in the wrong direction, or in no direction.
[shareable]Your mindset will, ultimately, carry you to one of three places: In the right direction, in the wrong direction, or in no direction.[/shareable]
If we are optimistic and positive, our mindset will take on a “I can do it!… I must do it!…” attitude. However, if we give in to doubts and insecurities and are pessimistic, our mindset will have more ????s than !!!!s – and that’s never a good thing.
I mean that’s never a good thing!!!
Pessimists will be doomed by gloom – unless they recognize the problem and change their mindset.
We are no greater than our weakest thoughts, no stronger than our gravest doubts and we’ll go no further than our chains of insecurity allow us to.
If we are the walking, talking result of our mindset (and we are), how important must it be to get our optimistic thoughts in line?
Grab a pen and two sheets of paper. You guessed it – here comes a self help exercise.
At the top of one paper, write “WHERE I AM” and at the top of the other page write “WHERE I’M GOING.” Divide the “WHERE I AM” page into categories and write one of these six headings in each:
- WRITTEN COMMUNICATION
Without “over thinking,” go through each one and rate your level of confidence. 1 being, “I am all over this one! Seriously, this is my thing.” A 10 would indicate an area where you feel you are extremely weak – an area that makes you want to hide in your room and eat soup.
Don’t try to talk yourself up a number or down a dumber – just go with your gut feeling. I promise not to look.
After you’ve written your numbers down, go to the “WHERE I’M GOING” page. Start with your lowest number: Write the lowest number and its heading down. Then you’re going to brainstorm and come up with ways to make that number higher.
For example: My lowest number was “wardrobe.” I’ve got more confidence in my pajamas than most of my clothes. The reason for this is simple: I’m just not that into clothes. I LOVE purses, jewelry, perfume, but clothes? Whatever. Maybe it comes from being a mother of 3, a cooking addict, or from being such a homebody – I’d just MUCH rather spend money on my girls, cats, kitchen, or pretty things for the house.
When I wrote down my tiny little numberical score for wardrobe, I thought, “Girl, it’s time to start dressing yourself in a way you’ll feel good about.”
When I was in high school and college (pre-babies, pre-kitchen gadgets, pre-throw pillows, pre-astronomical grocery bills…), I loved clothes. I had more Calvin Klein jeans than Brooke Shields, and shoes in every color. Most of the workers in the mall stores knew me on a first name basis.
Back to your second piece of paper – Keep going, until you’ve gotten to the good stuff – your highest numbers. When you get to those, don’t just write, “Keep on keeping on, baby…” Think of ways to challenge yourself to keep growing in that area.
That way, when you start concentrating on bringing up your weak areas, your strong ones won’t suffer.
Example: If you give yourself a 10 for your knowledge, challenge yourself to start reading more than you do now. It could be as simple as one of the following:
- Find an educational program each week on the Discovery Channel or History Channel to watch.
- Subscribe to a great new magazine. My favorites are SUCCESS, Psychology Today, National Geographic, Time, Newsweek, American Heritage, Discover. My husband gets a couple of interesting historical magazines: Civil War Times and America’s Civil War.
- Dig that library card out of your wallet or billfold and let it see the light of day again. Check out a wide variety of fascinating books.. and read them cover to cover.
When you come face to face with a category in which you scored below 6, asking yourself “why?“ will help you figure out what you need to do. If you aren’t as confident in, say, appearance as you’d like to be, ask “Why?” A new hairstyle, new makeup, or new relationship with food may be in order.
The point is… begin moving in the right direction – one step at a time.
In the next post, I’ll write more ideas for higher numbers in the other categories. I have to take my cat, Alexa, to the doctor right now.
Hmmm, now what will I wear?
Part 2: Strengthen Your Mindset