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Radical thinking, mindset shifts

Have you ever been in a place where you feel totally overwhelmed by life’s challenges on every side? Every time you want to lift your head up for a breather there seems to come yet another heavy load to weigh you down and bring you back to the bottom?

Inspiration with Cynthia Hakutangwi

Whenever you try to move forward you feel as though your legs are shod with heavy iron fetters? Even worse when you open your mouth to call out for help your mouth feels gagged and your voice seems to disappear into thin air? What do you do in such times of darkness, misery, heaviness and despondency? How do you shift your circumstances? Who and what can you engage to get you out of that miry clay? In 2004, I came across a famous quotation that totally changed my perspective on life and the way that I think. It was during a conference where one of the speakers shared what has become one of my favourite quotes by Albert Einstein, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.”

Can you change your mindset?
Many of us stunt our growth and stop ourselves from getting what we want by having a fixed mindset. In spite of the challenges we face at personal, family, community or national level, we must understand that we all have the ability to change our mindset. To change our core inner beliefs upon which we base our view of ourselves and of the world. Changing our beliefs is not an easy thing to do. Most people find changing one small belief extremely difficult, let alone a whole range of self-supporting beliefs based on negative pre-conditioning. We need tools that enable us to rapidly install new thought patterns and positive mind-sets. Fortunately, our mind-set regarding certain aspects of our lives are malleable and are based on our choice of meaning we give to things. Your mindset is the sum of your knowledge, including beliefs and thoughts about the world and yourself in it. It is your filter for information you get in and put out. So it determines how you receive and react to information. Developing the right mindset is then the way to learning something new and strip out the most relevant information. Then you develop the beliefs that are most helpful for where you want to go or how you want to be. This belief-system is then your mindset.

Do you believe you can do it?
If we lack belief in ourselves and our capabilities, our self-esteem suffers. This results not only in a sense of worthlessness but also helplessness and even hopelessness. This in turn makes us feel inadequate and see everything as pointless. It is easy to stop trying to achieve because there is simply no point. We are defeated before we even begin. That’s why the correct self-confident mind-set is crucial to all other mind-sets we may adopt. First we must tackle the root. When we have empowered with the confidence and belief in ourselves then we will be better able to accomplish the things we are already good at and also to learn how to do the things that at present we cannot. This is usually made possible when we have a strong spiritual anchor, values and faith based principles from where we draw our strength and identity. Accomplishing our goals and objectives becomes much easier. We are empowered from the inside out. And the results we can achieve reinforce our beliefs and boost our self-esteem and confidence even more.

Are you armed with determination and perseverance?
No one can go through life without failure. The difference is the reactions and meanings we give to those failures. If we take a failure as meaning, we are wasting our time and react by giving up then often we are not realising our true potential. Of course some failures are met to let us know that this is a goal that is unreachable. But knowing the difference is all important. Part of the positive mindset is knowing that we will experience failures along the way and that that is normal in life and we should not put undue importance on some failures. Being able to evaluate correctly what went wrong and why and to see failure in the light of positive thinking and empowerment to perhaps try harder or by tackling the problem in a different way is essential. It is the acknowledgement that very few things worth having are so easily attained. A positive mind-set is conscious of the fact that one failure is not the end of the story but just one way it didn’t work. True failure only comes when we stop trying altogether.

How do you interpret your challenges?
How you interpret challenges, setbacks, and criticism is your choice. You can interpret them in a fixed mindset as signs that your fixed talents or abilities are lacking. Or you can interpret them in a growth mindset as signs that you need to ramp up your strategies and effort, stretch yourself, and expand your abilities. It’s up to you. So as you face challenges, setbacks, and criticism, listen to the fixed mindset voice and talk back to it with a growth mindset voice. The correct positive mind-set leads to proactive positive action. Even when we are unsure or unable to proceed because of lack of knowledge or skill, a positive mind-set allows us to research and acquire those skill sets until we are able to achieve the actions we already know are necessary and important to succeed. A person’s core inner beliefs and thought patterns are what lead to their feelings of potentiality, action and results. Simply by changing your mindset, it is possible to change not only our outlook in life by also the actual results we obtain in life. To deal with ideas, problems and solutions we need to think radically. We need to think radically because we want a lasting effect. The term radical from the Latin radicalis means root… It means getting to the root of the issue or problem. So if we want to understand more about what is going on around us sometimes we need to apply some radical thinking.

What are you going to change today?
Pick one thing you want to change today. It can be one attitude, one belief or one perspective. Although your beliefs most likely formed when you were young, you are an adult today and you have the power to affect change in your life. Monitor your self-talk. Positive self-talk or affirmations repeated consistently are the tool that allows us to focus our mind on what we do want rather than what we do not want. The fastest way to change your mind-set is to feed your mind the one you want. Begin to get the best information, role model the best people, examine your current beliefs, shape your mindset with vision and goals, find your voice and protect your mindset against the naysayers around you.

l Cynthia Hakutangwi is a communications and personal development consultant, life coach, author and strategist. She is the managing consultant of Wholeness Incorporated. Her newly published book is entitled Destination Wholeness – Going Beyond Brokenness. Previously published titles include, The Whole You – Vital Keys for Balanced Living and Intelligent Conversations: A Mindset shift Towards a Developed Africa. She is co-author of Success Within Reach.

E-mail: Facebook: Wholeness Incorporated. Website:

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