If there is one thing, I have learned from this is experience with the COVID-19 pandemic (and I have learned many lessons), mindset is critical to the success or failure of any venture. In watching the businesses in my hometown, I have seen some businesses pivot and thrive during this time of uncertainty. Unfortunately, I have seen many businesses fail to adapt to the current climate and close.
Likewise, in treating my patients, I am often surprised by the resiliency of humans. I have clients who experience great losses, such as lost loved ones, unemployment, financial difficulties, and yet these individuals face each challenge with a grace and dignity that is beautiful to behold. I have other clients who completely fall apart with each new challenge by worrying about the protests, the pandemic, and the election, or other difficulties. I am not saying that no one can have down day or a time when they need help. That is part of the human experience. I, too, was a bit anxious waiting for the outcome of the election. So much so, I had to turn off the news channel as I found myself constantly checking the vote count. It was time for me to take my own advice and avoid the news. What it came down to, was that no matter the outcome, I realized that “this too must pass.” I changed my mindset. I determined that no matter who won or lost the election, I was going to be okay and that I was going to focus on the positive things in my life.
This month our Ladies of Justice theme has been “Wrapped In Abundance.” My question to you is this, “What do you see when you look out into the world?” Do you see abundance or lack? Is there more than enough or are you operating from a mindset of scarcity? You see, if your worldview is that there is never enough and you must try to get all you can by keeping others from whatever prize you are seeking, you will operate with a winner takes all mentality. It is that all or none thinking that my clients have when they can only see the negative. “I ate three cookies, I may as well finish the box”, “I relapsed and took 1 drink of alcohol, I may as well go for it” or “Everyone else gets the good breaks, all I get is more problems.” I notice that the clients who are more positive in their thinking, often can come up with a solution for the problems or pivot in a new direction if necessary. It is the client who says, “I lost my job cleaning houses so I am going to start my own business cleaning houses” or “I just went through a terrible divorce but I am going to use this time to grow and go back to school.” What is your mindset? I am not saying that you should not deny painful circumstances in your life and have a Pollyanna attitude. I am talking about a realistic assessment of your circumstances with the conscious decision to place more emphasis on what is going right instead of what is going wrong. It is using the challenges in our lives to make us grow stronger.
John Maxwell wrote in How Successful People Think, “When you believe you can do something difficult—and you succeed—many doors open for you” (p.60). He goes on to say, “No matter what your profession, possibility thinking can help you to broaden your horizons and dream bigger dreams” (p. 61). It is that belief in ourselves and our ability to succeed that is the necessary ingredient for overcoming challenges in our lives.
Joyce Meyer wrote in the Battlefield of the Mind, “Our actions are a direct result of our thoughts. If we have a negative mind, we will have a negative life. If, on the other hand, we renew our mind according to God’s Word, we will, as Romans 12:2 promises, prove out in our experience ‘the good and acceptable and perfect will of God’ for our lives” (p.3). She goes on to say, “Positive minds produce positive lives. Negative minds produce negative lives. Positive thoughts are always full of faith and hope. Negative thoughts are always full of fear and doubt” (p.37). “Practice being positive in each situation that arises. Even if whatever is taking place in your life at the moment is not so good, expect God to bring good out of it, as He promised in His Word” (p. 38).
As I write this, I am aware of the place of privilege from which I operate. I grew up with a loving family, I went to college, and I have a successful career. That may not be the situation in which you find yourself. Your obstacles may be quite different from the obstacles that I have faced in my life. That is okay. Let me repeat that, “it is okay.” You see we each have our own path and journey to take. I cannot wish to be someone else, I can only be me. What I can choose to do, is be the best “me” I know how to be. I can do the things that help me to grow. It is a matter of choice. I can choose to be defeated by the trials that we face, the pandemic, racism, sexism, whatever. These things are a reality. I do not deny them, but I choose to defythem. I am changing my mindset. I choose to see the good in people. I choose to be kind to others. I choose to strive to be a better me. I choose to do it today.
Maxwell, J.C. (2009). How Successful People Think. New York: Hachette Book Group.
Meyer, J. (2011). Battlefield of the Mind (2nd ebook edition). New York: Hachette Book Group.