The Relationship Between Mindset & Choice


The inspiration behind today’s post is courtesy of Viktor Frankl: “Everything can be taken from a (person) but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” 

Frankl hits the nail on the head— the ability to choose is something so simple, and yet so meaningful. Choice gives us a sense of freedom, power and autonomy in our lives. Having to choose between two (or many) options — i.e. what’s the best job for me, where should I go next, what do I want, etc. — can be stressful or anxiety producing to be sure, yet having the ability to make that choice in the first place is empowering. 

People often think they have no choice by default and talk about their lives with a victim mindset. When I say "victim mindset," I mean that they speak of life events as things that have happened to them and that they can't do anything about. When it comes to transitions and change in our lives — especially at work — it’s far too easy to talk about certain events (bad bosses, frustrating deadlines, etc.) this way, but it causes us to get lost in what is happening around us. We lose sight of what we have within, and we forget that we still have skin in the game. We get so distracted that we don’t take the time to turn inwards and get clear on what we want, what we need and how we can move forward. 

We forget that we have a choice. 

I’d be lying if I told you that we have a choice or say in everything that happens in our lives. No, we can’t magically get rid of or prevent certain things from occurring (if only, right?). What I CAN tell you, however, is that this doesn’t mean we don’t have *any* choices available to us. No matter what happens, we have the ability to choose how we see the event that takes place and, in turn, how we respond to it. 

Take being let go from your job, for example. One way to respond is to get angry and feel slighted. Another way to respond is to acknowledge this as an opportunity for you to explore what else is out there and find a job that’s really the right fit for you. Either way, the event hasn’t changed. The way we think about it, however, creates wildly different outcomes.

In other words, our mindset both determines and creates our reality.

As a Mindset & Leadership Coach, I’m a firm believer that the value lies not in our life experiences themselves but rather in the way we think about, talk about and choose to see them. It is possible to take back control and feel like the creator of your life rather than the victim.

If reading this article makes you realize that you’re sacrificing or ignoring your ability to choose when it comes to your life and career, don’t beat yourself up about it. It happens to everyone, and I’m here to tell you that –

the road to change has already begun: awareness is the first step.

From there, just ask yourself: How can I see this differently? 

I bet you’ll be surprised with what comes up.

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