The level of the solution is never found at the level of the problem. Knowing this, you can escape many traps that people fall into. What exists at the level of the problem? Repetitive thinking that gets nowhere. Old conditioning that keeps applying yesterday’s outworn choices. Lots of obsessive thinking and stalled action. I could go on. But the relevant insight is that you have more than one level of awareness, and at a deeper level there is untapped creativity and insight.

–Dr. Deepak Chopra


I think that we are all meant to rise. We are all like a hot air balloon, meant to rise off our earthly plain to great heights and to vistas of infinite possibilities.

Yet, at the same time, I think that we experience problems or possess limitations that are like the cords in the picture below, preventing us from rising to greater heights.

Hot air balloon tied down

I believe that if we want to free ourselves from our problems or limitations, we are going to be most successful if we can get to their very root.

Acknowledging this, we should question: What is the root of most of our problems or limitations?

If we can identify such a root, we will be empowered to break free from what is preventing our rise, from reaching our potential.

Getting to the Root of Our Problems and Limitations

If we are going to get to the root of our problems and limitations, we must first acknowledge that we are comprised of different layers or levels.

Level 1

Our top layer is our potential, our outcomes, our success.

Level 2 – Driver of Level 1

What is the immediate driver of our success?

It is our behaviors. The actions we take.

If I want to accomplish a goal, I must put in the effort. For example, if writing a book will enhance my success and help me have the impact I want to have on the world, I must actually write the book.

Level 3 – Driver of Level 2

What is the immediate driver of our behavior?

It is our thinking.

For example, if you think it is safe to go for a run around your neighborhood at night, you will go for a run. But, if you think your neighborhood is not safe at night, you will not go for a run.

If we think we can be successful as an entrepreneur, we will start a business. If we don’t think we can be successful as an entrepreneur, we won’t start a business.

Level 4 – Driver of Level 3

What is the immediate driver of our thinking?

It is how we see and interpret our world. It is our mindsets.

Imagine that you come to a street corner and there is a homeless person there asking for assistance. One potential way to see them is as though they aren’t doing their best (mindset). If you see them as not doing their best, you are likely to think critically of them (e.g., “go get a job”). If you think critically of them, are you going to be likely to help them (behavior)? No! Thus, the influence you have on that person is limited (success).

But, what if you saw them as doing their best (mindset)? This would lead you to wonder, “what has happened in their life that has caused them to believe that living the way they do is the best way to live?” By asking this question, we will start to think empathetically toward them. In this state, we are much more likely to help them (behavior). Then, if we choose to help them, we will be the positive influence we want to be (success).

Mindsets – Our Foundation

Identifying mindsets as being our foundation isn’t just the result of a thought exercise.

It is backed up by cognitive psychology.

Whenever we encounter a situation, the first thing our body and mind does is scan the environment for cues to interpret, helping us to know how to think and behave in order to navigate that environment most successfully. Well, environments carry thousands of cues, and we do not have the time or the capacity to pick up on all of them. So, what determines the cues we pick up and the cues we ignore? Our mindsets.

For example, if we have a fixed mindset and are presented with a challenging assignment at work, we will pick up the cues that suggest that the challenge might lead to failure. We will consider the assignment risky (think), back away (behavior), and miss out on an opportunity to rise higher (success).

But, if we have a growth mindset and are presented with the same challenging assignment, we will pick up the cues that suggest that challenge might help us to learn and grow. We will consider the assignment an opportunity (think), take it on (behavior), and capture the opportunity to rise higher (success).

Rising to Our Potential

If we can awaken to the foundational elements of ourselves that are holding us back from reaching greater heights, we will be empowered to cut ourselves loose.

This means that if you want to rise to your potential, it is critical that you awaken to your mindsets, identify the mindsets that may be holding back your thinking, behavior, and success. Once identified, you can take action to improve your mindsets, improving your thinking, behavior, and success.

To help you awaken to your mindsets, here is a free personal mindset assessment:

This 20-question assessment and corresponding comprehensive and personalized results will not only help you identify what mindsets that you have, but it will give you suggestions for how you can develop more positive mindsets to rise higher.

To read more about the important and foundational mindsets play in our lives, check out these articles: