When we talk about a winning mentality, it is easy to imagine first of all an individualistic person whose main goal is to be more competitive than the rest. However, we can also understand this concept in a way that has nothing to do with greed: being a winner can simply mean not giving up on achieving those personal goals that, if one bets on effort, can be achieved .
In other words, having a winning mentality means not being seduced by the many excuses we often give ourselves for not leaving our comfort zone.
Giving up our goals unconsciously
We have known for many years now how prone human beings are to deceive themselves without realizing it. Phenomena such as cognitive dissonance, for example, lead us to embrace unreasonable beliefs simply because they allow us to reduce the discomfort that arises when we notice contradictions in our way of thinking: I could have studied for the exam but I didn’t, even though I want to pass, but in the end it doesn’t matter because that teacher was going to fail me anyway.
In the same way, heuristics, or mental shortcuts in our minds, make us “fabricate” reasons in a matter of seconds for a decision that does not seem very rational. For example, we want to lose body fat but the packaging of a bakery product full of refined sugar seduces us, we may believe that eating it will give us the energy needed to work our muscles in the gym and improve our ability to burn fat later.
These are examples in which obedience to impulses and desires linked to the search for short-term pleasure are camouflaged under a layer of apparent rationality. Believe it or not, human beings can become very creative in giving up their long-term objectives in favor of short-term goals. These little traps that one sets oneself are the main obstacle that a winning mentality must deal with : many of the goals that will give us the greatest benefits can only be achieved with persistence and effort, and we will never reach them without training ourselves in a certain self-discipline.
Building a Winning Mentality
Getting used to maintaining a productive mentality requires adopting new habits and customs. These are some of them.
1. Locating the objectives
Firstly, it is necessary to know what our main objectives are in life or in a specific area of life in which we feel we are not making progress. To do this, it is good to write a list of possible goals, so that we do not forget them after thinking about them for the first time, and then to do a filtering exercise, crossing out the least important ones until we leave no more than 4 or 5. This will allow us to know our priorities and to know better where we want to aim our development strategies in the medium and long term.
2. Detecting excuses
The second step in building a winning mentality is examining one’s thoughts and learning to locate the excuses that keep us stuck . It is convenient to do this without pretending to be very indulgent with ourselves and, if we have doubts, we can always ask for the opinion of trusted people to get a second opinion.
3. Leave the comfort zone
This is the most difficult step, as it involves exposing us to situations that are somewhat stressful but bring us closer to our goals. For this reason it is good to find strategies to “force” us to follow a sequence of very clear and specific actions; in this way we will not be able to justify ourselves with convenient excuses, because the guidelines of what we must do are so clear that there is no doubt about whether we have carried them out or not.
Procrastination, or “I’ll do it tomorrow syndrome” is also a very common refuge among people who are stuck in their projects, and that is why it is necessary to prevent its appearance by making all that matters for a moment is to do what we feel we must do. Similarly, the paralysis of analysis (discussed in this article) is often used to disguise inaction as a productive activity.
4. Keeping the habit
Once we have broken with the dynamics of immobility, it is much easier to continue moving forward , but we must still be careful about what we do so as not to give up on the project.
For this reason, it is good to think of the satisfaction that comes from having overcome the previous difficulties, those that once gave us so much laziness or fear, and to think that many small prizes like these await us. It is also necessary to continue programming sequential action plans in very short and concrete stages, so that at all times we know what to do and use all our energy to execute those actions.
Maintaining a winning mentality will allow us to be warned against the excuses we use to stay in our comfort zone and, at the same time, to see how the objectives we so much fantasize about in the past are being approached or fulfilled, as long as they depend only on us.
That is why adopting this way of thinking by making it part of our daily lives will have a very positive impact on both our self-esteem and the satisfaction generated through effort .