Whether we realize it or not, our mindsets (the mental lenses that we use to view the world) are foundational to everything we do.

For example, how do you typically react to constructive criticism?

When I ask this to groups, most say that they get defensive (or some variation of that). But, there are some that say that they seek to learn and grow from it?

What explains how two different people can encounter the same situation, but think about it and respond to it in completely different ways?

You got it, our mindsets!

While many may understand that our mindsets are important, few know what mindsets we need to have to process and operate.

That is why I wrote my book, Success Mindsets. I wanted to help people gain clarity on what mindsets they need to possess to unlock greater success across their lives, work, and leadership.

The mindset sets that I focus on are based upon 30+ years of academic research.

If you don’t want to take the time to read my book to learn about these different sets of mindsets, check out this blog post for a quick overview: The Four Sets of Mindsets.

Bringing These Mindsets to Life

I assume that most reading this are already familiar with my mindset framework involving the following four sets of mindsets:

I did a little thought experiment that I found interesting and thought it might help bring these mindsets to life for you.

Here is how it went: I looked at these different sets and tried to arrange them in a 2×2 matrix in a manner in which I might be able to put labels on each of the axes.

Here is where I started:

Then, I went to work to put labels on each of the axes. Here is what I came up with…

Negative Mindsets

  • Prevention & Fixed = Fear

Avoiding problems and challenges, respectfully, is all about being fearful.

  • Inward & Closed = Ego

Seeing ourselves as more important than others and thinking we know best, respectfully, is all about our ego.

  • Prevention & Inward = Preserve Self

Seeking to ensure our comfort and wanting to get ahead, respectively, is all about preserving our self.

  • Fixed & Closed = Protect Self

Focusing on looking good and being right, respectfully, is all about protecting our image.

When we are fearful, stuck in our ego, seek to preserve our self, and seek to protect our image, the effect that we have on the world around us is a deteriorating effect. While we don’t recognize it, we tend to suck the life out of the situations we are in.

Introspective Questions:

  • If you have taken my mindset assessment, which of these axes are you higher on: fear, ego, preserve self, and/or protect image?

(If you haven’t taken my mindset assessment, take it here: Personal Mindsets Assessment)

  • Why do you think you are higher on the axes you identified?
  • How is this holding you back?

Positive Mindsets

  • Promotion & Growth = Courage

Approaching problems and challenges, respectfully, is all about being courageous.

  • Outward & Open = Humility

Seeing others as being just as important as ourselves and believing that we might be wrong, respectfully, is all about our humility.

  • Promotion & Outward = Contribution

Seeking to fulfill a purpose or goal and wanting to lift others, respectively, is all about contributing to a greater good.

  • Growth & Open = Enhancement

Focusing on learning and growing and exploring new ideas, respectfully, is all about enhancing our ability to elevate the work we are engaging in and the people we are working with.

When we are courageous, humble, seek to contribute, and seek to enhance, the effect that we have on the world around us is an elevating effect. We tend to bring life to the situations we are in.

Introspective Questions:

  • If you have taken my mindset assessment, which of these axes are you higher on: courage, humility, contribution, and/or enhancement?

(If you haven’t taken my mindset assessment, take it here: Personal Mindsets Assessment)

  • Why do you think you are higher on the axes you identified?
  • How is this helping you get ahead?

Further, considering both sets (negative and positive mindset) of matrices, what do you want to be more of? Does this help you get clear on the shifts in mindsets that you need to get there?