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How One Empowering Mindset Shift Can Elevate Your Entire Life

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Mindset shift

To become a successful entrepreneur, I had to radically shift the way I thought about myself, my life and success. Taking that long look in the mirror can be a painful process. Most people don’t like what I’m about to say but I need to say it because internalizing this is critical to success. This is the hardest truth I had to face and I imagine it’s going to be tough for you too.

You’re exactly where you want to be, your life is exactly as good as you feel you deserve it to be. Right now – in your career, in your relationships, in your life – you’re exactly where you want to be. “Wait,” you protest.  “But I read articles on successful morning routines and the power of persistence! I want a better life. I want out of this cubicle. I want more money & more freedom.” I know how you feel, I’ve been there too.

The Wantrepreneur’s Dilemma

You’ve probably heard the term “wantrepreneur.” Basically it’s someone who wants to become an entrepreneur – they read about it, they talk about it, they listen to podcasts about it – but they struggle to take any real action. There’s a good reason for this – wanting isn’t enough.

You have to feel, down in your soul, that you also deserve the things you want. If you want more money, more freedom and a better life, you have to feel that you deserve those things too. Because if you don’t know it in your soul, your internal thermostat will kick in and push you right back into your comfort zone.

Escaping Your Comfort Zone

We all know how a thermostat works. When things get too cold, it turns on the heat. When things are too hot, it turns on the air conditioning. A thermostat regulates your environment to keep you comfortable. Most people, however, don’t know that we also have an internal thermostat that regulates the comfort zone of our life. When things get bad, or “too cold,” it kicks in the motivation to get you moving. You take action and solve your problem, which warms you up and settles you back into your comfort zone.

This is great when life is “too cold.” Unfortunately, the internal thermostat also works at the other end of the spectrum. When you earn some success and life begins to heat up, your internal thermostat will cool things off and bring you back down into your comfort zone.

The thermostat’s job isn’t to help you reach new heights of success, it is to just keep you comfortable. Since comfort isn’t what we’re after – we want success and happiness, we need to reset our thermostats.

“To move to a new level in your life, you must break through your comfort zone and do things that are not comfortable.” – T. Harv Eker

How to Reset Your Internal Thermostat for Success

The only way to change your comfort zone is to change the settings on your thermostat. The only way to change the settings on your thermostat is to change your beliefs. It was this realization that I had to change my beliefs, in order to raise the upper limits of my comfort zone – that radically transformed my life.

Let me give you an example of a limiting belief that was holding me back:

“Working hard means you’re working long hours.”

When I was a kid, my dad owned a deli. He left for work at 5:00 in the morning and most nights didn’t come back until after 9:00. Most weeks he worked six days. He often got called in for an “emergency” on his days off. A normal work-week for my dad was 80 hours, easy.

As a child and a young man I thought the way my dad did it was the way it was supposed to be done so the belief that working hard means you’re working long hours was crystallized into my soul, my thermostat was set. A lot of us develop beliefs this way.

When I graduated college, I turned down a 9-5, corporate job to work in hospitality. For over 10 years I worked “in the business” as those in hospitality refer to it. Long shifts, working holidays, weekends, and nights, are all the norm.

I let my limiting belief of “working hard means you’re working long hours,” set a low ceiling on my comfort zone. There was a piece of me, without me consciously realizing it, that forced me to work ridiculously long hours. It wasn’t until I started to explore my limiting beliefs that I even uncovered this and started to raise the upper limits of my comfort zone.

Destroy Your Limiting Beliefs

I never felt so empowered as the day I discovered that my subconscious beliefs were holding me back. The path forward seemed so much clearer, I just had to destroy these limiting beliefs. I encourage you to explore, and destroy, the limiting beliefs that are holding you back. The next time the voice in your head says something like “rich people are selfish,” or “a steady paycheck is secure,” or “you need to be jerk to get ahead” – stop yourself and recognize that these statements aren’t true, they are just your limiting beliefs.

Awareness of your limiting beliefs is the first step to destroying them, and raising the upper limits of your comfort zone. Once you discover a limiting belief, ask yourself – is this always true?

“You begin to fly when you let go of self-limiting beliefs and allow your mind and aspirations to rise to greater heights.” – Brian Tracy

If it’s not always true, then ask yourself why you believe it to be true. And if you can’t discover any good reasons to continue believing it to be true, then challenge yourself to replace your limiting belief with an empowering belief instead. These empowering beliefs could be “Working hard means caring about my clients,” “Rich people worked hard and I admire their success,” or “Helping others makes me happy and proud.”

When those empowering beliefs replace your limiting beliefs as the regulators on your thermostat, you’re comfort zone will expand to include all of your wildest success and dreams. Your internal thermostat won’t be turning on the air conditioning to sabotage your success.

Brian Saemann is a successful digital marketing consultant and the founder of the Digital Agency School. He likes solving problems, learning new things and helping people become successful entrepreneurs. He believes that entrepreneurs are made, not born, and that the biggest problem in the world today is that schools exist to merely produce employees. If you want to explore your own entrepreneurial journey, you can check out Brian’s secrets to success.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Yosniel Romero

    Feb 12, 2019 at 1:31 pm

    Thanks for sharing your insights, you are correct, taking a long look in the mirror IS a painful process, but a necessary one to emerge on the other side.

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Life

5 Simple Hacks to Help You Develop the Habit That Will Transform Your Life

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It’s excruciating when we know what’s killing us but we can’t do anything about it because as you know, it is not easy to pull the brake on a high way. According to Napoleon Hill, “remember this always – the best (and one might say the only) way in which old habits may be removed is to form new habits to counteract and replace the undesirable ones”. (more…)

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Why Do We Have An Unconscious Bias and How Can We Manage It?

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When I hear someone using my name once in a while throughout the conversation we are having, I cannot stop myself thinking “this person must have read Dale Carnegie’s books or must have been influenced by someone who read them…” Have you just recalled a similar moment and it felt nice?

As Dale Carnegie famously said, “Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and the most important sound in any language”. Why did Dale Carnegie highlight the importance of an individual’s name to that person in his “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book published in 1936?

Each and every one of us wants to feel special and unique. I guess he recommends using the person’s name in the conversation because that is one of the easiest ways to grab that person’s attention so that we can enhance the chances of getting our point across. However, I am more interested in this from the other side; hearing our names directly addresses our individuality, our need or desire to feel special and unique.  

Let’s park this one for now and we will come back. 

Categorization is essential to our survival

There is countless scientific research telling us about how our brains recognize similarities and put things into categories, which has been crucial to our survival in evolution and still helps us with a lot of things from learning new things to coping with the continuous influx of massive amounts of information through our senses. 

The continuous influx of information is mostly handled by our subconscious mind rather than conscious. It is estimated that our brains receive about 11 million bits of information every second through our senses, of which only 40-50 bits can be processed by our conscious mind. We process more information than we are aware of. The magic here is the subconscious mind.

An example is when you are at a very loud party where you hear a lot of words flying around without you recognizing each one of them, then suddenly, you immediately catch it when you hear your name. Your subconscious had been processing all of those words, without your awareness, but informed your conscious mind when your name was out there because it was relevant to you.

In order to most effectively process this much information and inform the conscious mind with only the relevant ones, our subconscious employs categorization as one of its strategies.

When our ancestors encountered some deadly predators in the African savanna, their subconscious prompted their conscious mind to immediately fight or flight by categorizing the information gathered through their senses into “predator / life threat / take action”. Most probably we are not descendants of the ones that were frozen rather than fighting or flighting! 

Although it is a completely different situation, the same strategy applied in remembering lists. Let’s look at the below two lists.

  1. lion, eagle, shark, leopard, hawk, whale, panther, falcon and dolphin 
  2. lion, leopard, panther, eagle, hawk, falcon, shark, whale and dolphin

The second list is easy to remember because it is reordered into relevant groups even though the content of the both lists are identical.

Subconsciousness is the magic and categorization is one of its key strategies. It is essential to our survival, learning new skills and processing information as well as bringing back the information we had processed and stored. 

This amazing skill has its drawbacks

As a result of our brains’ categorization strategy, we also categorize people, especially if we don’t know them as well as our closest ones.

Imagine I am sitting at the table next to yours while you are having your favorite coffee and working on your computer or reading your novel at your neighborhood coffee shop. I stand up, very calmly grab your bag, and start walking away. Your reaction might be quite different depending on my outfit. It could be much more vocal and harsh if I have a dirty T-Shirt and a pair of torn jeans on. However, if I have some navy colored, 3-piece suit and well-pressed white button up shirt on, you might even say something like “Excuse me, you might have picked up my bag by mistake”. (There is an experiment done by social psychologists which reported similar results)

Similarly, I would not be surprised to hear that my co-worker’s spouse is very skilled and knowledgeable in English grammar and literature because he is an English teacher. However, I would not expect it from my co-worker herself because she is an outstanding chemical engineer.  

This is defined as unconscious bias or stereotyping, as a result of our subconscious brain’s categorization strategy. The outfit I have at the coffee shop impacts your response to my action, because it puts me into a different category in your mind depending on my outfit. My co-worker’s and her spouse’s backgrounds make me put them into different categories, which might mislead me sometimes.

Just like we categorize things, it is very natural that we categorize people.  

The key question here for me is; how do we truly treat people as individuals so that they feel unique, just like as they would want, while we know that our brains categorize people

We can overcome unconscious bias 

Leonard Mlodinow, in his enlightening book “Subliminal”, suggests that “if we are aware of our bias and motivated to overcome it, we can.” That doesn’t mean that we need to fight our brain’s categorization strategy. We just need to employ our conscious mind more when we are working or dealing with individuals. 

Our unconscious bias might tell us scientists are bunch of technical nerds who cannot understand abstract concepts that marketers are talking about or it might say that marketers are some daydreamers who need to be grounded by scientists to the real world all the time. I am an engineer and I love thinking in abstract terms and I worked with quite a lot of marketers who thought primarily in factual and concrete terms. 

Spending some effort to learn more about individuals will help overcome unconscious bias. Gathering more information and qualities about them will make it easier for us to treat them as individuals rather than a member of the category we put them in our minds. 

The moral of the story here is to recognize the fact that our brains do categorize, and it is essential; but also, to recognize that every individual wants to feel unique. When we appreciate these two and keep reminding them to ourselves, we are one step closer to figuring out our own way to overcome unconscious bias and treat people more like individuals. 

What was the most interesting part of this article for you? Share your thoughts below!

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The Problem Is Not Actually the Problem: Here’s Why

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With my understanding of the Three Principles, which is deepening month-by-month, I’m becoming more curious about whether the ‘problem’ that we think we have, is really a problem. Not for one second am I dismissing a persons’ experience; I’m human after all and I encounter challenges and what I think are ‘problems’ just like the next person. (more…)

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5 Things You Can Do to Fend off Boredom and Stay Focused

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Curiosity is human nature and it’s only natural that humans will lose interest in a topic after a while. This has been a topic that has been extensively explored among children, teenagers and adults by a psychologist with similar results being reported from each of the categories. Human’s minds are therefore prone to boredom, making it important for each professional to spend some time to understand the factors that drive boredom and strategies the individuals needs to use to overcome boredom and focus on their profession and development. (more…)

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