Chasing happiness and success? Your mindset comes first
Let me start with a fundamental truth. We as individual human beings are the product of three things:
1. The thoughts that form in our heads.
2. The words that we tell ourselves.
3. The actions that we take as a result.
Every single one of us has tens of thousands of thoughts a day. We are in a constant daily cycle of feeling, thinking, reacting, behaving and experiencing. These things impact and trigger each other and combine to ultimately define who we are as well as the experience we have of life.
Our non-stop ‘feedback loop’ of thoughts, emotions, actions and reactions triggering and reinforcing each other creates a state of being and feeling which can seem, if not permanent, then almost so embedded and complex to render it impossible to change or unpick.
To give a specific example, if someone labels themselves as ‘failing’ in an aspect of their life, whether that is a new or long-standing thought, that will inevitably become a focus of their attention and the negative energy generated will lead them to feel mentally low, unmotivated and perhaps miserable.
It would also manifest itself physically in facial expressions, body language and the confidence (or lack thereof) which they project to the world, as well as how they subsequently act. The practical results are likely to be continued actual or perceived ‘failure’ which reinforces and deepens the mindset which created it all in the first place.
On the other hand, if you ‘hack’ your mental processes to do the opposite, focusing on solutions and taking control, the confidence boost and feeling of empowerment will instead trigger overwhelmingly positive mental and physical reactions.
The energy, focus and optimism are far likely to lead to actual or perceived ‘success’ occurring where the ‘failure’ once was.
We’ve seen this in countless examples in many spheres – business, entertainment, sport – where almost all elite performers have used nothing more than a positive and resilient mental approach to bounce back from setbacks, failures and loss (many on multiple occasions).
Changing your mindset
It is stating the obvious to say that everyone in the world wants to be happy, if not continuously then more often than not. However, how many of us are actively thinking or behaving in a way which makes happiness (or, as I prefer to say, contentment) our primary objective?
How many of us are actually doing the reverse, allowing critical or unhealthy thoughts and behaviours dominate one or more major aspects of our life? Are we honestly assessing the benefits to us of the thoughts that form in our heads, the words we’re saying to each other, and the actions we’re taking as a result? I would guess that most of us are not.
I believe that if we are to make a genuine and lasting improvement in the quality of our life (in terms of how we feel as well as in more tangible ways), happiness or contentment must be more to us than a superficial concept or aspiration. It must be the focal point of our existence, the thing that drives our thinking and our doing across every facet of our life.
Only then will we be able to make the right big and small decisions for us, to spot and address negativity when it arises (as it inevitably will).