If you feel like a mindset novice, before reading this article, you might find value in reading these two articles:
- What are Mindsets & Why are They Foundational to Our Success?
- Research-Backed Benefits of Possessing an Outward Mindset
These articles lay the groundwork for why we need to focus on developing more of an outward mindset.
Inward and Outward Mindsets
We possess an outward mindset when we are seeing others as people. Their needs and wants matter just as much as our own.
We possess an inward mindset when we see ourselves as more important than others, causing us to see them as objects.
I believe that it is impossible to live up to our ideal self and have the positive influence we want to have if we have an inward mindset.
Developing More of an Outward Mindset
To understand how to develop more of an outward mindset, we must understand what exactly mindsets are. They are neural networks in our prefrontal cortex.
You see, our senses (e.g., sight, taste, sound) send their signals to our prefrontal cortex. Because our senses send more information to our prefrontal cortex than we can effectively process, we rely upon our mindsets, or specific neural networks, to filter out information that our mindsets deem to be most important. The information that our mindsets absorb is then interpreted in ways unique to our mindsets (e.g., different ideas are a threat vs. different ideas are an opportunity to see more optimally). Once the select cues are interpreted, it activates different elements of who we are (e.g., personality, goals, self-regulation) for further processing and action.
This means that when we talk about developing more of an outward mindset, we are actually talking about strengthening the neural connection in our prefrontal cortex associated with an outward mindset.
Strengthening Our Outward Mindset Neural Connection
Our neural connections in our prefrontal cortex are not too different from muscles. The more they get exercised, the stronger they become. And, the stronger they are, the more we rely upon them when filtering information.
So, if we can exercise and strengthen our outward mindset neural connections, we will rely upon them more when filtering the information our senses absorb.
But, just as going to the gym once doesn’t make one strong, exercising our neural connections intermittently will not lead to us consistently relying upon our positive mindset neural connections. If we want long-term improvements in our mindsets, we have to intentionally and consistently work out our more positive mindset neural connections.
We should expect that as we strengthen our outward mindset neural connection that we will naturally see people more and more as people, and value them as such.
Exercises for Our Outward Mindset Neural Connection
Swimming is one exercise that strengthens a number of different muscle groups in our body.
One global exercise for developing an outward mindset through meditation, as it is an exercise that strengthens our different positive mindset neural connections.
Meditation, over time, improves our (1) cognitive flexibility to move away from our more dominant negative mindset neural connections, and (2) cognitive capacity to explore relying more upon our less dominant positive mindset neural connections.
If you are a meditation novice, I think the best tool to get you started is the Headspace app, which comes with a great free introductory series.
The following are various examples of specific exercises that have been proven to improve our mindsets:
- Learn more about outward mindsets
- Read Success Mindsets by Ryan Gottfredson (Hey, that’s me)
- Read Leadership and Self-Deception by The Arbinger Institute
- Read Bonds that Make Us Free by Terry Warner (warning: this book will change your life)
- Read Anatomy of Peace by The Arbinger Institute
- Read The Outward Mindset by The Arbinger Institute
- Read this article: Unlocking Greater Success by Developing an Outward Mindset
- Read this article: When I Read This… It Immediately Changed My Life
- Frequently ask yourself the following introspective questions:
- Am I being inward or outward?
- Am I seeing them as a person or as an object?
- Who am I being that their light is not shining?
- Do you love yourself in the theater or the theater in yourself?
- If you could select one of the following pictures to be on the cover of your life’s book, which would it be?
- You are surrounded by your admirers, with you as the focal point?
- The people you love and are most concerned about
- Every day, identify people you are grateful for and why
- Watch videos that promote an outward mindset
- Talk to others about outward mindsets
- Questions to ask or answer:
- Do we see each other people or as objects?
- When do we tend to see each other as people/objects?
- What are ways we can ensure we see others more as people?
- What is the difference in how
- When are times when we are more concerned about avoiding problems than reaching goals?
- Are we more concerned with maintaining the status quo than engaging in deep change?
- What characteristics do we need to develop now to be successful 5, 10, 20 years from now?
- Questions to ask or answer:
The more you regularly engage in these activities, the more you will exercise and strengthen your outward mindset neural connection, and improve your ability to see, interpret, and respond to your world in more successful ways.
If you haven’t gotten my book yet, now is a perfect chance. Click below: