Imagine you’ve decided to run your first Marathon. An understandably intimidating challenge. Besides 26.2 miles (42.2 kilometers) is a long distance to cover—by foot! In order for you to get across that finish line, it’s likely you’ll be faced with a number of obstacles that will put you to the test. You’ll be tested physically, pushing your body’s strength, stamina, and endurance to an extreme limit. You’ll be tested mentally, your levels of willpower, self-confidence, and self-discipline will be revealed. And, you’ll also be tested emotionally whereby, you may experience feelings of anxiousness, exasperation, or even regret. To achieve something of such significance can be an extremely painful but also incredibly rewarding experience. The same of which can be said for many other challenges we encounter in life. If there’s one skill that can help you get through whatever life serves you, one skill worth mastering in your lifetime—it’s to master a winning mindset.
Why a Winning Mindset Matters
Your Mindset, whether you believe it or not, has the potential to determine your life’s path. Jon Gordan, author, and speaker on the topic of Leadership agrees with this sentiment. In his blog article, “The Power of a Positive Mindset”, Jon illuminates the critical importance of having a winning mindset. He explains that, if we look throughout history, “every great leader and team had to overcome adversity and challenges to define themselves and their success.” If this is anything for us to go by, it’s, therefore, important to remind ourselves that:
Those who tend to expect failure often fail and those who are determined to succeed often do.
Going back to our Marathon runner example. Although seasoned pro runners don’t ‘see’ the finish line, they know they are in complete control over their outcome. They take responsibility for what they need to do to prepare and understand, their results are a direct reflection of their efforts. Granted, you might think that to be best prepared for the day, you would need to train to build endurance, lift weights to build strength, and invest good money in buying the right equipment. But, did the mental aspect cross your mind? Any high-achiever, whether a marathon runner, professional athlete, high-performing executive, or successful entrepreneur, knows that having a winning mindset is vital to their success.
“Mindset matters. The difference found between the victorious and the envious, the successful and the haters; is mindset.”
― Steve Maraboli
Mastering a Winning Mindset
While many seasoned marathon runners know they dictate their outcome, the reality is, however, few people take control over the outcome of their life. What then, is the secret to managing outcomes? Simple. It’s mastering a winning mindset. Understand that learning how to switch and channel your mindset can ultimately change the course of your life. “No matter what, people grow. If you choose not to grow, you’re staying in a small box with a small mindset. People who win go outside of that box” says actor and comedian Kevin Hart. Anyone can learn and master a winning mindset. All you need to do is to put into practice a few key aspects. So, here are the 5 most important aspects you need to forge a winning mindset.
“There are no limitations to the mind except those we acknowledge. Both poverty and riches are the offspring of thought.”
― Napoleon Hill
1. Focus on a Goal
Establishing a goal is virtually putting your innermost desires into words. According to the website Keep Inspiring Me, having a goal is the first step towards forming a winning mindset. It helps you focus on what is most important to you and, also helps to reframe overwhelming tasks into something more manageable. Plus, it helps to provide direction and solidify your commitment to holding yourself accountable for failure and success.
2. Layout a Plan
According to Tia Albright of EXOS, successful people make a plan and they stick to them. Any good plan covers what to do, to get you where you want to be. It also helps to prepare you for any foreseeable difficulties that may crop up along the way. Having a plan with timelines, milestones, and key actions is unquestionably an important factor towards developing a winning mindset.
As an example, your goal might be to become a doctor. Your plan would then include: obtaining acceptance into a good pre-med program. Doing well in your Bachelor’s degree. And, applying to medical school. A good plan will not only help lay the roadmap but also, help provide focus, clarity, and confidence in where you are going and what you are doing to get there. All bellowing characteristics of a winning mindset.
3. Have a Positive Attitude
Without a positive attitude, a winning mindset cannot exist. We all hit obstacles along the way. It’s part of the journey. As the old adage goes: success is a journey, not a destination. Without a positive attitude, how can we enjoy the journey? And if we can’t enjoy the journey then what does success matter? Although a gentle reminder, the adage is also a good reason why a positive attitude is essential to a winning mindset.
Needless to say, among many of its undervalued benefits, a positive attitude is a great way to keep your mind on track. To keep believing and having faith that you can and will achieve great things. Did you know that many of the most successful people throughout history and around the world today tell themselves that they are capable every single day? You better believe it! Such successful people, regardless of what they say themselves, more often than not are ingrained with having a positive attitude. An attitude that fuels a winning mindset.
4. Be Adaptable
While having a plan is vital, being able to accommodate changes in the plan is just as critical. Let’s look back at the goal of becoming a doctor. You set out a plan that includes going to med school upon completion of your bachelor’s degree. But, what will you do if you don’t get accepted into Med school? Will you change your goal or, do you adapt to the change in plans? Would you take the time necessary to better prepare yourself? Could you retake any classes that you scored low on? And, will you look to get more relevant work experience?
See also: How to Motivate Yourself and KEEP Yourself Motivated.
Tia Albright, in her article posted on EXOS, is right on the money when she wrote: “adaptability helps you stay the course, even when the road is bumpy and unpredictable.” We have to keep in mind that, although we know what direction we’re heading in and have a plan to get there, sometimes things don’t always work out the way we want them to. When that happens, the best thing we can do is to make the most of the opportunity we’ve been given—regardless of how dire it might seem. Besides, those who can quickly adapt to this ever-evolving world of uncertainty and surprise are often the ones making a difference to the world and the people around them.
5. Practice Affirmation
Many of the most influential people in the world today have total control over their inner dialogue. The constant thoughts that flow through their mind every day. Think for a moment. What’s the internal dialogue you’re having with yourself every day? What are the constant thoughts that flow through your mind? Are they thoughts such as: “I’m never going to make it.” Or, are they thoughts more like: “I’ll achieve more than I’ve ever imagined in my wildest dreams.”? A daily dose of self-affirmation might just be what you need. Give it a try and find out how incredibly valuable it is towards forging a winning mindset.
Begin from Within
Whether your inner voice tells you, you can or you can’t—it’s always right. It’s up to you as to what you tell yourself, and it’s up to you as to which you decide to listen to. Learn to control your inner voice intentionally. Replace disempowering thoughts with empowering thoughts that make you feel like you’re already a winner—in every sense of the word! In the words of Manu Bennett:
“Anyone can train to be a gladiator. What marks you out is having the mindset of a champion.”
Remember; you can, if you think you can. So, put what you’ve learned here into practice—and start your win, from within.