Formally defined, mindset is a set of values, beliefs, and assumptions that determine the way you think and, therefore, the way you act. But when people generally use the “term” mindset, they mostly refer a person’s perception — how they see the world.
Your perception of the world around can differ from seeing everything as positive, negative, or anywhere in between. And the way you perceive situations will be the driving force behind how you behave and react to them. Your outlook affects not just what decisions you make in life, but what you do when life makes decisions for you.
To help me illustrate my point, allow me to provide you with a short origin story of a fictional character which I believe encompasses the strongest mindset – Batman.
THE GOGGLES OF REALITY
Bruce Wayne is only eight years old when his parents are murdered in front of him. He kneels down in the blood-soaked pavement over his parents’ corpses, feeling powerless. He’s overwhelmed with sadness and despair. But not for long.
At that moment, Bruce decides he is willing to sacrifice his future and his life for a higher cause. He doesn’t want anybody else to suffer through what he did and will do everything in his power to stop it. He never wants to feel so powerless again.
And thus, Batman is born.
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A terrible crime had been committed and your only family in the world was taken away from you. You feel alone. You are an heir to a multi-billion dollar empire, but no amount of money can compensate the loss you feel. You believe the world played a cruel joke on you, even though you didn’t deserve it.
We’ve all felt like this at some point in our lives. Hopefully, you didn’t have to experience a tragedy like this, but we all felt cheated.
There will always be times when the world will open up and shit on your head like a vengeful pigeon. You will not see where you’re going, you will trip and fall down, but no amount of blind cursing and waving your hands around will change the fact that it happened – and there’s nothing you can do about it.
Some people will blame the world, the pigeon, God, demons, all holy and unholy deities, the government, the Masons, the Illuminati, whoever and whatever they can think of. Others will break down, start crying and wonder why me?
We’ve all been there and it’s normal. But constant sorrow, feeling sorry for yourself, and playing the blame game isn’t going to help you recover. Whether you like to admit it or not, life goes on regardless of what happens to you. If you die tomorrow, your friends and family will be devastated, but the rest of the world won’t even blink.
In 150 years, all people around you will be dead. In 150 years, people won’t care about the problems you used to have. Hell, most people today still don’t care about your problems; everybody’s got their own stuff going on.
Might seem cruel, but it’s how our society works. If you think what I’m saying is just observational and not factual, check out this Vsauce video by Michael Stevens where he breaks it all down from a scientific perspective.
Everybody deals with loss in one way or the other life. You can either accept it and deal with it, or you can let it destroy you. Avoiding it isn’t a plausible option.
Miracles happen everyday – change your perception of what a miracle is and you’ll see them all around you.
— Jon Bon Jovi
Bruce Wayne chose the harder, but a more rewarding path. Although he didn’t become actual Batman for more than a decade, the mindset and determination of Batman were born that night in the alley.
He took what would break most people and used it as motivation to become stronger. The core principle of who Batman is shows you that no matter how bad life can get, you can always turn it around and use it as a strength.
But I somehow think that you may be thinking: “But it does not apply to me. My situation is soooo special”.
THINK YOU’RE AN EXCEPTION? YOU’RE FULL OF SHIT
One of my closest friends was born with a physical disability. Although most people don’t even notice it, he was really self-conscious about it for a long time. After a while, he decided that he wasn’t going to let things he can’t control dictate his life. He used those thoughts as a drive to become better; he started playing table tennis at the age of 20 and, within just a few years, he was the holder of both national and international gold medals.
His mind is set on becoming the best player in the world, which is why after working 8-hour shifts throughout the week, he trains for 2-4 hours every evening. Instead of feeling sorry for himself or expecting special treatment, he chose to become a winner and now kicks my ass every time we play.
Another person I know had a mother who was dying of cancer. She had to take care of her mother, in addition to caring for her little brother, studying at the university, holding down a steady job, and volunteering at the local fire department. Despite being in a situation where most people would feel hopeless, I have never seen her without a genuine smile on her face and positive vibe all around.
She’s not only one of the most optimistic people I know, she is concrete proof that when life wants to bitchslap you across the face, you can grab it by its wrist and break the joint.
There is no excuse.
It only takes a moment to change your life. Not because you’ll instantly feel the change and solve your problems by thinking, but because a change in your mindset will change your behavior. Instead of wasting your time wondering why a problem has occurred, you will start focusing on finding the most optimal solution.
And the problems will keep on coming. “Why” isn’t important. The question that really matters is – what next?