I am constantly amazed by the impact of a mindset. I see it in business. I see it in with my friends. I see it in rugby all the time. Often success is a result of the view we have formed of ourselves and our norming behaviour ( behaviours that move our outcome up or down towards our expected outcome).
In business it’s seen in the can-do attitude of for example a Saleperson, in Rugby the reaparrance of a bogey team that we lose to again and in some friends their refusal to “go for it” feeling they are not good enough.
This is of course not a new idea. Henry Ford is famous for many things especially his production line processes that brought motoring to the masses in the US. One comment he made is well quoted – “whether you think you can or whether you think you can’t you are right”.
A friend of mine Declan Coyle who gives courses which involve internal change often says to his class “If you think this is Pop Psychology – you will probably prove yourself right!”.
I came across a very nice story recently told by Tony De Mello:
A man found an eagles egg and put it in the nest of a barnyard hen.
The eaglet hatched with the brood of chicks and grew up with them.
All his life the eagle did what the barnyard chicks did, thinking he was a barnyard chicken.
He scratched the earth for worms and insects.
He clucked and he cackled. And he would thrash his wings and fly a few feet up in the air.
Years passed and the Eagle grew very old.
One day he saw a magnificent bird above him in the cloudless sky.
It glided in graceful Majesty among the powerful wind currents with scarcely a beat of its golden wings.
The old eagle looked up in awe. “Who’s that?” he asked.
“Thats the eagle, the king of the birds,” said his neighbour.
“He belongs in the sky. We belong to the earth – we’re chickens”
So the eagle lived and died a chicken, for thats what he thought he was.
If we think about it we can see that this behaviour is entirely internal and therefore a choice. We may have been listening to those voices who point to our flaws and never our brilliance or who continue to tell us why we can’t do something they never will. These are the people Teddy Roosevelt called those that “dwell in perpetual twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat”.
Because its a mindset matter its internal and therefore under our own control. Positive thinking and a reset of our norm can bring great results. First however we need to wake up to its existence and to observe it in action. Once again awareness is critical. Its easier of course for those of us with confidence but its just a longer journey for those who don’t.
My mother always told me I could do anything. I believe her!
First Published Feb 2008