By Dr Denis McBrinn

"Whatever you believe about yourself on the inside, is what you will manifest on the outside."  John Assaraf.

Our underlying habitual thoughts, about ourselves and others, are often described as our "Mind-set".

The things we do or don't do in our lives originate as inner thoughts and beliefs, within our mind. Then the action or inaction that follows from our thoughts, characterise our predominant mind-set.

If we wish to make any change in our lives, it begins with our mind-set.

All of us have aspirations to grow and develop in some way.

It is one of our most basic needs as we journey through life.

While part of us longs to change and grow; another basic instinct, survival, may tend to resist.

Because real growth involves risk and uncertainty, it initially makes us feel uncomfortable.

The fear of the unknown alerts our survival instincts to stay safe and stick with "the devil we know".

There is a natural part of us that is afraid of change and wants to protect us from threats and danger.

Psychologists call this our "Fixed Mind-set".

Our survival instincts tell us that because we have survived so far, it is safer to keep doing those same things rather than risk the uncertainty of change. But if we listen all the time to our "Fixed Mind-set" we limit our potential to grow and better ourselves.

If we have a dominant fixed mind-set, we risk believing that we cannot grow or develop any further in life.

A fixed mind-set will convince us that the skills and abilities we are born with are set in stone.

Over time, it causes us to become "risk averse" and we fear making mistakes or receiving criticism.

Whereas, a "Growth Mind-set" believes we have a responsibility to develop our potential. And with sufficient hard work, commitment, determination and perseverance we can live our best life.

With a growth mind-set we embrace challenges as opportunities to learn and develop. We are open to receiving constructive criticism and feedback, without taking it too personally.

Most importantly we realise that mistakes and failure are part of growing, as long as we learn the lessons.

Both of these important aspects of our nature contribute to our "Mind-set". And both "Fixed" and "Growth" aspects of our nature need to be considered and respected.

It is often a question of balance.

We all experience the inherent struggle between our "growth" and "survival" instincts.

Our growth mind-set likes to push the boundaries and our fixed mind-set favours the status quo.

It often feels like a "tug of war" raging within us.

The challenge is to acknowledge both aspects of our nature and develop in a balanced way.

At times we may feel inspired to grow in health, wealth, intellectually or spiritually. But when the pace of change is too great, our survival instincts become anxious and we hesitate.

All of us can have a combination of "Fixed Attitudes" and a "Growth Outlook" in all aspects of our lives. And like the seasons, there are times to step back and consolidate and times to push ahead and grow.

Give yourself some time now to focus on your potential to grow and develop.

How will you grow and become the best version of yourself in a way that is challenging and exciting, but also measured and protected?

Have a pen and notebook handy to write down thoughts that come to mind.

Think on this:

"We cannot have a positive life with a negative mind-set."  Joyce Meyer

Our predominant mind-set has a huge impact on our academic, social, and working lives.

It influences how we feel and how we act on a daily basis.

The things that we consistently think about and feel strongly about tend to eventually show up in reality.

When we are in a positive mind-set we tend to feel more confident, optimistic and happy.

When we are in a negative mind-set, we can feel lethargic and anxious about the future.

We have more control over our mind-set than we might think.

Getting into the right mind-set can be as easy as starting the habit of writing in your gratitude journal, or reading some uplifting, life enhancing words and listening to relaxing and calming music.

Don't let feelings of frustration and negativity creep into your head and slowly take control. Get into the habit of actively watching your thoughts throughout the day.

Stop and actually challenge your mind-set:

"Is this really a productive or positive way of thinking or talking?"

It is like having a security guard on your mind-set.                                    

Ultimately it is up to us as to what thoughts we let into our mind and what we dwell upon.

We can choose between either a "growth" mind-set or a "fixed" mind-set.

Only 20% of success is down to the natural ability we are born with. Qualities such as courage and hard work are not fixed and can be learned and developed. These are often much greater factors for success than our natural abilities.

The challenging and difficult experiences of our lives present us with opportunities for growth. Often it is in the “Classroom of Adversity” where we learn the most important lessons.

Our lives and the world we live in are constantly changing.

Having a rigid, inflexible approach to unexpected and changing events is not a good survival strategy.

An adaptable mind-set is the ability to think and act flexibly in the face of changing circumstances.

It is the opposite of a fixed mind-set and in evolutionary terms has been a key factor for survival. An adaptable mind-set helps us to accept things outside our control.

Adaptability enables us to use the difficulty and learn from mistakes. It allows us to create solutions and to transform the hurt, pain and disappointments in our lives.

We learn to rise above those negative thoughts and feelings that threaten to keep us stuck in the past. The potential within us is far beyond what we can imagine.

We have greatness within us. All of us have unique gifts and abilities. But if our mind-set is too fixed or negative we will never achieve our best life.

We have a responsibility to develop our skills and maintain a positive mind. The more we begin to know and trust the power within, the more we connect with what we can be.

A life truly worth living is within us and we can connect with it. In doing so, we grow and enrich our lives and the lives of others.

It begins with our mind-set. 

Be mindful every moment of your life. Good luck.

This has been Mind-set by Dr Denis McBrinn: Copyright: Mindcool Productions. Visit our self-help audiobook website: