Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Four Mindsets that Keep Us Stuck

Cover of "Who Moved My Cheese?: An Amazin...
Cover via Amazon
 Life is like a bicycle, to keep your balance you must keep moving. Albert Einstein

One of my favorite books is Who Moved My Cheese?  I especially like the children's version with it's colorful pictures and clever text. I read the story in classrooms and discuss the behavior of the four characters with children. It is the story of two mice, Sniff and Scurry and two little people, Hem and Haw who are camped out in a maze in the midst of an abundance of cheese.  They are all enjoying the cheese, however there is a dramatic difference between the mindset of the characters in the story.

Are You Hem and Haw or Sniff and Scurry?

Sniff and Scurry think ahead and  plan for the obvious;  the cheese won't be around forever.  Even before the cheese is gone they begin preparing to move forward and look for more cheese.  They develop a strategy and begin the difficult task rather than waiting for the inevitable to happen.

Hem and Haw have a different mindset.  Not only do they not realize that the cheese is dwindling down but they also have an expectation that someone else will replace the cheese and continue to supply it once it is gone.  They are oblivious to the problem looming on the horizon and are taken by surprise when they arrive one morning for their daily nourishment and find that there is no cheese to be found.  They are furious and distressed over their situation, yet they continue waiting in the same spot day after day for more cheese to magically appear.

Do you see yourself in this story? Are you expecting that status quo will stay status quo?  Are you resisting the changes, the transitions in your life?  Or are you developing a plan and mapping out a strategy?  At the end of the day, will you say, "I'm glad I did" or "I wish I had"?  While getting started is an action step, many times it is our internal mindset that prohibits us from taking that first step.

Four Mindsets That Keep Us Stuck

The first mindset that can become a roadblock and keep us stuck is:

• Not knowing what we want. If we haven’t yet set a goal it’s hard to achieve one. Many times we distract ourselves by identifying so many possibilities that we are overwhelmed with the choices. We say things like, “I could do anything…if I only knew what it was that I wanted to do.” Not pinning down a goal can become an excuse for not moving ahead, for not taking action. Pick one or two ideas and put 100% of your effort into achieving it. Sniff and Scurry knew exactly what they wanted and unlike Hem and Haw they took action.  Hem and Haw however had a different problem...

• We know what we want but we are afraid to go for it. We are afraid we may fail. We have a desire, a goal, but we are afraid we may be turned down, rejected or embarrassed if we don’t achieve it. We may put forth a small effort to no avail. We say things like, “I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.” We are actually cheating ourselves with this one.  The resources in our lives are often available, if we will only recognize them and make use of them. Failure is not an indication that we can't reach a goal.  It is only an indication that we may need to take another path.  Sniff and Scurry tried lots of different paths to the new cheese before they found the right one.  Sometimes it isn't failure that we're afraid of though...

• We are afraid of success. Just as fear of failure can paralyze us, so can fear of success. What if we don’t really know what to do, how to act, how to perform? What if we are overwhelmed with the responsibility of success, the amount of time and energy that it requires? What if we are successful and it turns out not to be what we expect it to be? Again our internal voice is paralyzing us with what if questions. We may say, “What if I succeed and they expect me to know everything and then find out I don’t?” We fail to recognize the flexibility, the power and the control that we have in any given situation.  Finally...

• We know what we want but we don’t know the steps, the path, and the way to achieve it. This is a research question. There is always someone who has gone before us in all that we do. In this digital age there are resources available everywhere, we just have to goggle it!  We need to find a role model and connect with them to discover how they were successful. We can then design our own way.

Sound like a daunting job? It is difficult but not impossible. Roadblocks can be challenged and the road paved for success. Don’t let fear of success or failure, lack of a focused goal or lack of knowledge keep you from making that first step forward.

It doesn’t matter if you are on the right track. If you are sitting still, you will get run over.  Will Rogers

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1 comment:

  1. I've never read "Who Moved My Cheese?" - it sounds like a winner!
    Such a great post today, Lynne!