A person can be into a lot of things: poetry, running marathons, playing drums, coding, making flavored chocolate. Besides these hobbies, a person can be into a lot of mindsets: the entrepreneurial mindset, the humanitarian mindset, the hedonistic mindset… In other words, you can have a person that’s all about doing business and earning money BUT ALSO about helping other people through charities BUT ALSO about eating a lot of good food and smoking weed. All the same person. If you’re reading this blog, you too probably have completely unrelated or almost conflicting interests and mindsets.
It’s important to have the meta-understanding that you cannot be into a lot of things simultaneously. You cycle through your mindsets, but you don’t have them all at the same time. What is important is how often do you cycle between these mindsets and what this frequency does on a general level to you.
So, let’s take some of my mindsets to illustrate. There is the Zen-Nihilism mindset that says “Don’t worry, nothing is really important except of what you yourself make important, notice things around you, be present”. Then you have the action mindset: “Just do things, don’t overthink, finish your projects, create plans, make 80/20 analyses”. Then you have the entrepreneurial mindset “How can I make this profitable?” Then there’s the comedic mindset in which you try to find humor in every situation, its narrative being “Life is so ridiculous sometimes, and I am so ridiculous, let’s pull a prank on that guy, let’s make a witty comment on what that other guy said”. I guess there are a lot more other mindsets, like the hedonistic mindset “Let’s just eat and drink a lot, sleep, yawn, rest, not do anything.”
It is important which mindset you are in. Chances are, you have several of them and you cycle between them. If you’re totally into comedy and making jokes and puns all the time, you will not produce good business plans, and vice versa, you will not be funny or enjoyable when creating business tactics.
What I used to see in myself is the need to find the right mindset. You know, the right one, the one you should be in. When you’re totally serious and all tactical and strategic ‘n’ shit, there’s no chance in hell you’ll crack good jokes. And then someone will say to you something like: “Hey man, why are you so serious, relax”. And then you might go into comedy-mindset because it will seem that you shouldn’t forget about laughing either. But then a business situation will arise and you will have to snap out of comedy, because you shouldn’t forget about doing business either. But then stress will come up and you will go into hedonism-mindset, because you shouldn’t forget about enjoying life either. But then you’ll start feeling like shit because you’re not accomplishing your goals, so you’ll go to strategy-mindset, because you shouldn’t let your life just happen to you either. But then you’ll start overthinking, and you’ll go to the Zen-meta-mindset because the basis is still being present, noticing things. And you’ll just cycle and cycle and cycle, only occasionally being in the appropriate mindset.
It is important to understand these two things:
- You cannot be in all your mindsets at once.
- There is no right mindset to be in.
There is no right mindset, only appropriate or inappropriate. The catch is, sometimes the mindset you’re in decides on what’s appropriate and what’s not. Sometimes the businessman in your head will decide that things A, B and C are important, and it will decide that it itself (the business-mindset) is appropriate for this.
I do not know which rules underlie all our mindset changes, and I do not know if it is something we should (or we even can) influence. If we can though, that’s totally meta and I have no idea who it is in my head that decides upon the mindset.
That being said, I feel like I sometimes get “stuck” in one mindset. In other words, I feel something pleasant when I’m reminded (by an old article or someone saying something) of a mindset I used to be in. For example, if I re-watched One Piece now, I would TOTALLY feel the adventure-mindset (travelling a lot, improvising and NOT planning under any circumstances, meeting new people). For some time now, I’ve been mostly into strategy-mindset and business-mindset. I haven’t done Wim Hof’s breathing exercises for a week now. And then I watched the beginning of VICE’s documentary on him and I did some of the breathing and said to myself “Hey man… But this is who I want to be.” And it was a genuine feeling. I imagine I will soon conclude that I want to be someone else: someone strategizing and being an active agent in his life; someone that’s focused on earning money and building a business; someone that’s focused on learning and reading books; someone that’s focused on lifting weights and sleeping and eating a lot. I will genuinely want to be that type of person, and then I will genuinely want to be another type of person.
Some personal coaches and authors will insist that you must adopt the one right mindset. Dan Pena comes to mind with his business and action mindset. But the problem here is that it’s his business and action mindset that states that a business and action mindset is the only one needed. But what about relaxing and reading and eating? According to him, that’s being wimpish. Is it? I’m not sure it is.
I think you should regularly remind yourself of all your mindsets. Cycle through them more often. Don’t get stuck in hedonism for two weeks. Don’t be only about business for seven years. Cycle. Remind yourself. Rest, but work. Work, but rest. Strategize, but meditate. Meditate, but strategize. Cycle through all your different personalities. I think that’s the best way to live life.