If mindset is so important to the outcome of our lives, why don’t we do a better job of thinking before we speak when its comes to our mindset on aging?
A recent Facebook post by an acquaintance who is considerably younger than me was quick to catch my attention and had me thinking about the mindset of old age. The guy posted a picture of himself, sitting in an armchair with a walker in front of him watching television.
He was recovering from a running mishap and clearly frustrated. What really caught my attention was his closing remark “Man, it really sucks getting old.” I cringed at the sound of that statement.
Our mindset is established and reinforced each moment of the day with the internal dialogue we choose to have with ourselves. Internal dialog will make comments on each and every thing that surrounds us.
Paul Walsh, an executive coach, best explains the necessity for a more positive dialogue with ourselves for this reason alone: “It is non-stop and continually shapes your world how you see it. Depending on what your internal dialogue says at key points in your life will determine not only how you feel about certain things, but also what you believe about yourself and things around you. And this will determine to your body where best to spend your energy.”
Mark Twain once said: “Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.”
Mindset of Aging
Do not make age a factor. Example: I want to try and do three push-ups but, I mumble to myself, ‘I can’t.’ At that moment, your self-fulfilling prophecy will come true: See, I told you I was too old to do this!
We simply need to do a better job of listening to ourselves talk and our internal dialogue. Try this instead: I know it’s been a long time since I have done even one push-up, but I know if I give myself time I can complete three in a row!
A few years ago, my mentor noticed I was using a considerable amount of negative self-talk. He challenged me to pay attention to the internal dialogue I was having with myself. It was not good, not good at all. I was very negative and condescending.
So, I made a deliberate effort to change the way I talked to myself, which in turn changed my thinking, my outlook and ultimately my results. My internal dialogue turned into a positive conversation with myself. Easy to change, no way. But was it well worth the time and effort to work deliberately and purposefully on my internal dialogue, you bet it was.
Power of Fixed vs. Growth Mindset
In a ground breaking book The New Psychology of Success, Carol Dweck manifests the differences between a fixed mindset (seeing everything with blinders on, limiting our beliefs, focusing immediately on what we can’t do) versus a growth mindset (approaching everything as a new challenge and with a sense of exploration.) With the right mindset, we can reach our goals and achieve great accomplishments.
To make significant changes, slow down and start to listen to your internal dialogue.
- Do you use negative words? Example: You spill something in the kitchen and you use harsh language about yourself (“I am so #%&&&# clumsy!”). Your subconscious will remember. And every time you have an accident, the same words will repeat. Instead, when you spill something say, “Well, it was just an accident. I won’t let that happen again.”
- Speak positive affirmations: “I feel great today.” Despite how you feel, the body responds favorably to positive words. Studies have shown that it will change your chemistry. So, speak and think positive.
- Surround yourself with positive and uplifting people. The old saying “Misery loves company” is so very true.
- Use your imagination and dream again! Envision yourself as you want to be each day. Apply a bit of action moving you forward and expecting positive results.
As for my Facebook friend, I ran into him a couple of weeks later, and he was back at his running and working out like nothing ever happened.