There is only one way to build a stronger mindset. Head on. Square up to the difficult situations and all that is to experience them. Have you experienced a certain situation that resulted in stress, heartbreak, embarrassment, fear? Perhaps a job loss, death of a loved one, divorce, injury? Or the opposite! A positive experience such as winning a sports event, climbing up to a 1000m summit, passing an exam, finding the one? Although you may not be able to see it at the time, these stressful events whether positive or negative, allow huge spaces for growth and adaption- and in time will bring resilience to your future.
- Experience leads to knowledge.
- Knowledge to preparation.
- Prepared leads to efficiency.
It takes courage to place ourselves into positions that gain experience, we grow outside our comfort zones, you cannot gain knowledge without experience. The best lessons are the lessons learnt the hard way. But once we have the know-how we can be prepared for future situations, and share our learning with others. From being prepared we are more efficient and can be better prepared for situations outside our comfort zones. In every experience positive or negative we can learn, grow and share our experiences.
To be able to strengthen our mindset, we have to learn to acknowledge the experience and actively seek to appraise our situations and challenge ourselves to alter our responses and how we handle ourselves.
Activate fight or flight mode.
Regardless of the situation good or bad, our body’s natural response is to fight or flight. It is a hormonal or physiological response that helps us fight a threat or flee to safety.
Usually we have spilt seconds to react, instantaneously. Whilst we flee to safety, flight mode allows the time to reassess the situation and return later to fight the situation. We can learn from our experiences to take flight, use our knowledge to prepare ourselves to act. I’ve mentioned before I took a few attempts at passing military training; during my first attempt- I allowed myself to be affected by another. I went through a relationship breakup, and it distracted my mind from training. I decided to take flight and l couldn’t continue training, I left the military. I took the time to reassess my situation and since have fought my way back.
A settled method of working that requires little effort and yields only barely acceptable results.
“A ship is always safe at the shore but that is not what it is built for” -Albert Einstein.
Taking steps towards the edge of your comfort zone should feel scary, that’s the whole point. Being challenged is scary, being in this state of mind is a safe place to be but nothing can grow there. So, when you are faced with difficult situations, practice the thoughts that make you aware that this can improve you. During my time coaching swimming in Dubai, I was invited to the school’s sports award evening and asked to give a speech in front a few hundred people including parents, teachers and students. At first, my heart was raced, body temperature rising and quite worried. I was entering flight or fight mode! Yet I took the step of courage and decided that this was an opportunity and chance to gain experience- to be out of my comfort zone and this acknowledgement of ‘I will be stronger for this’ helped me remain calm and deliver my speech.
“Acknowledgement is possession. When you acknowledge, think or have conviction in something, it actually will come true” -Stephen Richards.
Acknowledgment is the acceptance of the truth, the factor that brings both of the above together. Once you understand fight, flight and your comfort zone you can choose when and how to use them. On the other hand, this doesn’t mean you will always choose the correct decision, if you are face with a difficult situations and the results aren’t what you expected then it is an opportunity to practice acknowledgement again. Accepting what went wrong and how you could improve the outcome.