Mindset for success ISN’T made by internal belief, but by external action
There’s this weird thing that happens to me on a daily basis. My mind goes places that are an exact repeat of the day before. I wake, I close my eyes again. I ask Alexa for a repeat of the weather and I contemplate my journey. I ask myself where I’ve been, what I’ve accomplished, how far off is my legacy…
The world says that mindset is the key to success, whatever that may be…and I don’t know if there is legitimately anything that I believe more. It may even mean yours is at a different part of the spectrum…or not even part of the same one as mine. Mindset is and should be unique, dependent on what you’re after. It will include the right WAY to think, but not necessarily YOUR way. Mindset changes everything. It changes our perspective, it changes our actions, and it changes the way we react to the world and all of it’s challenges.
But as all of us know as self-development hobbyists, mindset isn’t an easy change. There is no automatic flip of the switch. The closest thing to that, is completely dependent on how fed up we get, or how traumatic a personal experience may be. And the way to a new mindset in my opinion, is a continuous seeking of finding the truth hidden between the lies we tell ourselves are true.
Does that make sense? We lie so often to ourselves…so convincingly, that we would die on the sword knowing it’s truth.
For me, I have one particular memory that I’ve tested over and over again. A memory that has made me feel shame for all my life, and is embarrassing for me to even mention. It makes me feel so small. Yes, even smaller than my already 5 foot stature. ;)
I used to visit my father in Arkansas. When my biological parents split, I was about a year old. So, since then I had always spent time with my dad every summer. That state in the summer is hot, extremely humid, and not easy to tolerate as an out-of-state visitor used to the dry summers of Idaho.
My dad has always worked extremely hard. He’s always looked for any possible way(albeit inefficient) to make money. And with that effort, he was always highly stressed; miserable and angry at times. I was always working with him. And when I wasn’t, we were off fishing, camping, and canoeing. But for some reason this day, the first thing that I did after getting out of bed was turn the television on as soon as I got downstairs. I think I was 13 or 14 at the time.
My dad had already been outside working. It was an already hot and muggy day; not something I was particularly excited about being in first thing that morning. He came inside two times. Once, to check and see where I was at and what I was doing, without saying anything to me. Secondly, to abruptly threaten to beat me if I didn’t get outside to help him. Something he’d never done.
What a simple memory…
Yet, for whatever reasons, it took my soul and broke it. It not only rattled me, it changed me. Without knowing, it turned into this new belief that if I wasn’t working, then I was useless and should be ashamed. It stole from me the ability to enjoy myself, and to this day makes me uneasy every time I do. It’s a constant mental battle to give myself the space to relax and enjoy myself.
I wasn’t harmed, I wasn’t hurt….not physically anyway. But that day, that moment changed something forever. The odd thing is, that my father doesn’t remember that interaction or that day at all. It doesn’t exist within his memory. Yet, it affected me so deeply, that it changed the way I saw myself, and I had no idea that it did.
The aftermath was definitely a negative compound to the whole situation. When I timidly joined him outside, I remember complaining that it was hot. And this infuriated him. He got angry and told me that I wasn’t going to sit around watching television all day while he worked. So, he led me inside to do other chores. One of them was to do his laundry. Which I had never done before (yes, I made it all the way to 14 without having done laundry).
With advice from my 12 year old overly confident cousin, we added bleach and soap to my dad’s DRY clothes in the washer. I’m going to make the assumption that you know where this goes…
My dad never really calmed down that day. For whatever reason, I had a new fear of him. I always had a boy’s fearful respect for him…but now I truly was in fear of him. Fear that made me feel unsafe and in danger. And the defining factor in this whole experience was the fact that I ran from it. Something I’m not proud of, because after coming back to this memory so many times, I realized I could have changed my fate if I had had the courage to at least speak up against him…maybe get him to second guess his frustration. But, that day I sealed my own fate; I suppressed my own courage, and diminished my own character for years to come.
Angry, my nana called my mom, and my mom called my dad and told him a lie about having an appointment to get me home. He made a correct assumption of the lie on the way to the airport.
I can’t remember what he said on that drive…but I remember silence while he looked back at me; infuriated, disappointed, and hurt. Over and over again, in between sentences of scolding and judgement. I remember being timid and afraid and just wanting to get to safety. To be out of such an uncomfortable situation that I had to bear for a two hour drive. I felt like a mouse in that back seat, curled up to the edge of the door like I was trying to pass through it just so I no longer had to be in that case of metal filled to every corner with thick, suffocating discomfort.
I’ve been fighting this self defeating mindset since that day.
The problem with creating new mindsets for the sake of our goals is that most of us have something so ingrained in us, that when we try to think differently, we secretly(yet convincingly) tell ourselves that it’s a lie. We may think it, we may write it, we may even say it, but without living it, resilient and conquering mindsets can’t exist.
To concrete ourselves, I’ve found that we have to have validation through our actions. Whatever goals we are after, we have to live them. And I don’t say that just because that’s the way to progress. I say it, because it’s also the way to our healing. It has to be continuous, uncomfortable, and a little scary. It’s as if we have to relive those days with our fathers and decide to stand up to him. To transport through time and space with a couple decades of wisdom, and shield ourselves against fury, and lash out and destroy the tyrannical fury purged from an emotional father’s reactive speech…
When do we know we’re making progress? I think it’s when we FEEL it. Which is not to be confused with the motivational feels…It’s the feeling of accomplishment through action. Through discovery of our own power and facing dragons that cannot kill us.
When we start making positive changes, we’re doing it against our own internal judgement and emotional sway. It doesn’t feel right, it doesn’t feel worth it, and we’ll do just about anything to make an excuse to not take action or postpone it….but we’re not here to trust our feelings. Our feelings keep us small, and make us cower in the backseat and wish were somewhere else.
I’ve repeatedly NOT done things that I should do, all in order to prove to myself that I’m not good enough; to repeat the truth in my lies. To show that my worth is only in doing things that I hate…and avoiding happiness. And I’ve spent a bachelors degree worth of years trying to remedy that. A challenge many of us must do for the sake of our own legacy.
Our actions…the real, raw, blatant, potentially embarrassing actions that we take toward our goals are the best ones. The ones that give us flashbacks to our trauma, or flaws, and our failures. To our astonishment they move us forward, and they dissolve the old sticky and silent versions of us. We become free and authentically us.
If I can give anyone one huge piece of advice:
Don’t rely on the books on self-development, the journal writing, and the affirmations to heal you. What these things WILL do, is give you an outside perspective on the world and the possibility that you can be something new. A view of what’s possible…one you may have never been able to see before. What they WON’T do, is solidify your belief on who you are. They cannot transition you into a new life…they can only clear the fog that covers your view to the other side of the bridge. Only your action will help you prove to yourself what you can be.
So, if you want to create what you dream, you have to take all the action that moves you whether you believe in yourself or not. THAT my friends will be your quickest and most therapeutic path toward change.
Love you all.
If you are partial to the athletic view points of this blog, I’m currently studying to become a certified coach. There may be a major influence to my content based off of my new work and experiences as a strength and conditioning coach. See you guys on the PLATFORM!