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positive mindset

The importance of a positive mindset and how you can achieve it

The fear and uncertainty caused by the pandemic has shaken even the most optimistic among us. However, even during the worst of times we have seen people innovate and thrive amongst the chaos – how do these high achievers maintain a positive mindset and unrivalled focus to achieve their goals? And, more importantly is this a skill we can all learn? 

The answer is most certainly ‘yes’, according to Dario Bucceri, founder of the Sensemaker® Thirty Day Sprint Challenge.  The Challenge was inspired by Dario’s own ambition to compete in the Comrade’s Ultra marathon, and the act of a fellow runner who helped him to finish the race at a point when he was about to give up.

In this article, Dario uses his own experience and expertise to create a step-by-step guide to developing a positive mindset. A mindset that will not only increase your success in business but will improve your outlook in your personal life – creating a feeling of balance and positivity that should help everything to become easier.

My positive mindset has helped me to achieve so much in my life, when first diagnosed with Parkinson’s I felt very depressed and found it hard to do anything. However, once I realised that with the right medication I could manage my condition I turned it into a positive. By training my body to be as healthy as it can be, I am not only continuing as I was before but I’m working harder and achieving even more success – including the finish line of a few marathons!

Here are some of the steps that have worked for me and that I reinforce with all my clients:

Decide: A positive mindset is neither a feeling nor is it an event. Instead, it is the result of wilful decisions, the fruit of an approach to life that responds to incoming challenges with stubborn determination, sustained action, and a belief that you can influence the outcome in some way.  

Omit serendipity: Serendipitous events do happen, and people do win the lottery. The odds of either taking place are so small and difficult to predict that relying on one or the other to land good fortune is unwise. It is better to get going with what you have available than to sit back and wait for the Universe to do it for you. By doing this you give serendipity, whether it arrives or not, something with which to work.

Deconstruct: Activate the positive power of what you feel is blocking your success by instead identifying these blockers as signposts to breakthroughs. By deconstructing the challenge to micro problems that have combined to form the whole overcoming them is immediately more achievable.  Develop and test solutions, weaving success into “knowledge-scaffolding” to conquer even the most significant obstacle.  

Act: Congruency between what you say and what you do is critical. Action brings life to words, giving power to your decisions and making them significant. Actions fuel learning as we live in a state of trial, error, and adjustment, patiently building “platforms of understanding” that, in time, will lead to the outcome we seek.  

Think long term: Life takes time. Progress can be slow as we identify blockers, clarify causes, learn our lessons, and apply our learnings. It’s better to set a more extended timeframe and be surprised at better-than-expected results than to aim for a quick win and be disappointed. 

Find a tribe: We succeed because of people, not despite of them. If we associate with individuals who live ethically, relate honourably, think positively, take responsibility, plan specifically, execute consistently, and work efficiently, the chances are good that we will raise our game to become like them. If the people with whom we associate are lazy, unethical, dishonourable, negative, irresponsible, vague, inconsistent, inefficient, and immoral – we will become like them too.   

Daily practice to define and achieve your goals

According to research by the University College of London, it takes 66 days to create a habit[1]. By committing to building positive habits over time we can improve our outlook and productivity, here are a few that I credit with improving mine.

A product of the Sensemaker spirit is self-control. Preparing for and completing marathons is a wonderful place to develop this trait. That said, any exercise, at any level, that empowers you to test your limits, to practise a marathon mindset is, in my view going to be valuable. You certainly don’t need to be sporty or super healthy, I began with the NHS couch to 5km app when I struggled to jog for thirty seconds! 

Treat other people the way you want to be treated. Tell the truth and talk straight. Listen more. Think in terms of outcomes and next steps. If a meeting starts without an agenda, end it. If a conversation becomes unnecessary call it. Make every word and action count. Don’t manipulate. Take time to listen. Empower others to progress. When resolving operational issues, always start with the process.

Something that I ask all my sprinters (clients taking on the Thirty Day Sprint Challenge) to do is to record a daily journal. Journalling is important because without a vision (a picture of a preferred future to aim for), people become like a rudderless ship on a journey that has no destination. Subject to the currents and winds, the ship drifts aimlessly and inevitably finds its way to the rocks 

Similarly, if you have a dream and its fulfilment is delayed indefinitely, they can be negatively impacted too. 

The final piece of the puzzle is this – what I think about is where I will go. 

Let us pull this all together. I can increase the probability of achieving a goal by having one (that seems obvious). I can increase the probability further by writing it down (creating a fixed expression of the goal) and can increase it again by thinking about it. The more I think about it, the more probable it becomes that I will attain it. 

Enter my journal. Once each day, I catch myself doing things right by recording my “Thankfuls”, those outcomes and events for which I am grateful. I remember my goals as I write them reminding myself of the tasks I committed to complete to move them forward as I write those too. I take time to think, to reflect, to develop and enhance what I am doing. 

I write my vision down so that I can run with it, and then I meditate on it often, giving action to my words, making them important, bringing them to pass. 

By developing good habits, giving ourselves goals and the time to achieve them and reminding ourselves of these goals we are much more likely to achieve them.

When life gives you lemons

All this said, even armed with the most positive mindset, life does and will get in the way of your goals – what separates those who will succeed and those who will lose sight of their goals is the response.

Take control of these moments by finding a quiet place and allow time to make sense of what is going on around you. High achievers know that with every mistake and failure you will learn something that makes you more resilient to face future challenges and more thankful and excited for the success that lies ahead.

[1] Sourced from The One Thing by Gary Keller with Jay Papasan

Dario Bucceri