Mindset and Creating a Compelling Future

There is a relationship between the prerequisite patterns for creating a compelling future and the concept in psychology of a growth mindset.

The previous article introduced a process for creating a compelling future. We considered developing ideas, outcomes and intentions that attracted and engaged our attention. The intention was to identify activities and qualities that would contribute to making the future compelling, enjoyable and rewarding.

Exploring desirable outcomes is predicated on a person holding the belief that such things are not only possible, but possible for that person. One of the most important aspects of creating a compelling future is believing it is possible to have dreams, realise them and change the present circumstances to facilitate progress. This is similar to the idea of a growth mindset, which is gaining traction in the business community courtesy of Carol Dweck, the author and researcher of the concept.

According to Dweck’s findings, a fixed mindset assumes intelligence and talent are innate and probably fixed. Therefore if a person is intelligent and talented, they should be successful, learn easily and make continuous and outstanding progress in life. Any failure can become a matter of shame rather than feedback. Children told they are clever or bright can experience huge pressure to live up to their labels and those who identify as being ordinary or less bright can assume they will never do more than just survive.

Conversely, a growth mindset not only allows for mistakes without shame, after all they are a natural byproduct of learning. It also enables people to consider mistakes as feedback and explore them to find what could work better in future. Without feedback, how would we know to do something different? People can become good at anything, provided they engage, learn, practice and take the time to develop skills. Skills, talent and knowledge are products of time and consistent attention, and available to anyone who chooses to apply themselves.

These are not black and white categories, unless you are operating from a fixed mindset in the moment. Some people identify with being of a fixed or growth mindset, but in reality, most people carry a blend of both characteristics with their associated beliefs according to subject matter. For example, someone who knows they can learn any new software they choose to master, may also believe that learning a musical instrument requires innate talent which they do not have. Some people profess an interest and facility in engaging other people and keep learning new soft skills with alacrity. Yet the same people run in the opposite direction if someone takes the back off a television or opens the bonnet of a car.

As well as holding growth oriented or fixed beliefs about their capacity for learning different subjects, people can hold different beliefs about the same subject, though usually not simultaneously. This simply indicates that people change states, experiencing different takes and even opinions on the same event at different times. It is quite common and is a form of state dependent learning, which relates to remembering specific knowledge when in the context where it was learned or where it is relevant and being used.

What this indicates is that most people carry a blend of fixed and growth mindsets, creating a context where even the most enlightened can identify and change beliefs that limit their capacity to learn. This is despite the common belief in those familiar with fixed and growth mindsets that they “are” one or the other. For anyone operating in a fixed mindset moment, the idea that beliefs are changeable is contentious. In a fixed mindset, truth is black and white, unchanging and may be worth fighting and dying for. In a growth mindset, everything is open to question and even the most expensive mistakes can lead to something worthwhile.  

When it comes to creating a compelling future, it helps to approach the possibilities with a frame that anything is possible, and possible for you. If that it too far fetched, the minimum flexibility of thinking needed to engage you in considering what you want is that change might be possible, even if you suspect it is unlikely. If you are certain you cannot have what you want and it is too unbelievable to contemplate, you will not even discover a dream. That is is a major downside to bringing a fixed mindset to the process. If that is the case for you, start simple. Consider the proposal that any belief can be placed in question. When you do that, you become open to the possibility of finding evidence or support for both or all options.

When you begin exploring your creation, do it with a sense of possibility, not requirement. If you find it is not what you thought it was, change it or create something else. Treat your creation as a work of fiction for as long as that allows you to dream it up. If you were writing a story of someone who wanted a future you cannot dream of, your character can. You can create the context for them to imagine what they want and then make it happen. You are not restricted to rule bound, compliance ridden 21st century conditions. Your story could be set in a steampunk world or modern urban fantasy, sci-fi or outright magic. Whatever it takes to enable the characters to have the experiences you want to create for them. As a minimum, you will have a collection of short stories. Ideally, you will hit on something really attractive to you and grow it.

Check our course Creating a Compelling Future

Related articles

Learn more about NLP, read our Ultimate NLP Compendium of NLP

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

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Creating Compelling Futures

Creating futures that are compelling

Creating compelling futures is a topic of ongoing interest, yet a large number of people operate from the assumption that they have no chance of living the life they want. Others believe they are stuck in an ongoing and unsatisfactory present with no way out short of a miracle, while some can’t wrap their minds around determining what they want in the first place. Creating anything seems to be a chancy business. What is the difference between a creation that succeeds and one that disappears without trace?

Successful entrepreneurs come to our attention when their businesses take off, after they have had an idea, researched and realised it and marketed it in a manner that got the attention and customers they needed to succeed. by the time we know about their endeavours, it looks like a TV chef taking a completed example of a complex dish out of the oven with the words; “Here’s one I prepared earlier”.

Rock musicians who make it seem to appear on the scene fully formed, but with some of them, there are stories of the years of effort, practice and day jobs they lived before the song that first got the public’s attention. For example, that the Rolling Stones were just another London rock group playing the college ball and pub circuit until their first hit made them famous, apparently overnight. That gave them the start to success that continued for decades.

A casual observer might be forgiven for thinking talent, skill, planning and execution has less to do with creating a stellar future than luck, given so many examples of someone breaking into public awareness suddenly and apparently overnight. How does one author’s book make it onto the best seller lists when another, at least as worthwhile, sinks into obscurity? What makes a mediocre teacher wildly popular while a skilled and knowledgeable teacher struggles to survive?

Elite athletes compete for honours that mean a lot to them. The differences in capacity and performance at the very top are reputed to be minimal. The difference we hear about is; “You have to want it more than anyone else does”. This proposes that those who want to be first most, push that little bit more and maintain the desire consistently and for longer than everyone else.

The capacity to do that is predicated on the athlete’s beliefs, their state and how they imagine their future in the short to medium term. They have to believe it is possible and possible for them. They have to generate continuing motivation to train, refine and practice their skills to peak at the right time. They have to produce the quality of attention that will enable them to train effectively over time and perform at their best on the day and the next and the one after that.

Cathy Freeman and Elon Musk are household names. They both rose to prominence for having ideas, dreams, the ability to engage appropriate skilled help and unwavering belief in themselves and their capacity to realise their creations. The biggest difference between them is not subject matter, gender or intellect. It is that Elon Musk always has a dream beyond the current project and Cathy Freeman had nothing in place to motivate her beyond the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games.

According to the publicity, Elon Musk’s dream beyond the dream is to create a colony on Mars. Earlier iterations include building the transport and infrastructure to take people to Mars safely and enable them to stay there long enough to make a permanent habitat and renewable resources. He wants to create a back up for humans in case Earth becomes uninhabitable.

“I think the most important thing is to create a self-sustaining city on Mars, That’s, I think, the critical thing for maximising the life of humanity; how long will our civilization last.”
– Elon Musk

Musk’s current endeavours include Tesla, making fast, responsive, long range luxury electric cars and battery packs for storing electricity, Spacex, which manufactures and deploys cost effective rockets for commercial applications, Sun City solar energy and now the Boring Company for making tunnels deep underground for transporting vehicles. All of these align with Musk’s desire to increase sustainable resource use and infrastructure on earth as well as contributing to the likelihood of his Mars project. No doubt, as the Mars project becomes closer, Musk will extend his dream beyond the dream.

For Cathy Freeman, the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games represented the pinnacle of her ambition as a runner. It took place in front of her home crowd, she was at the top of her game and there was nowhere more important to race after that. Training and preparation took up all her attention for several years and somehow, what would happen next or later was overlooked. In a runner’s career, there is always another event to prepare for. Until they retire from racing, the future is handled. At the Sydney Olympics, Freeman won gold and was given additional honours. She was picked to carry the flag in the opening and closing parades and to light the stadium Olympic Flame. Then nothing.

How to create a compelling future

Creating a compelling future is a process and it starts with discovering or determining what you want in your future. It is important to be willing to consider any options that really attract you, even if you think they are impossible for you at this time. The turn on factor is vital. You do not want to pursue something that leaves you cold, however worthy. 

If you know what you want, you are ready to consider what you want it for. This is something people often leave out. Yet the intention for having what you want can increase the compelling nature of the desire. It also opens up more paths to achievement. If you don’t know what you want, “I wish I could be, do or have something” may be a useful starting point. Even if the wish is not that good on closer inspection, there is an intention for having it. That intention is probably worth having in its own right and the intention for something with a turn on factor will also have one. Another starting point is; “If I had this resource, I would be able to have that experience”.

As an example, let us consider financial independence. This will involve different sums of money for different people, but it works as a concept. Financial independence can provide peace of mind, a sense of security, freedom, choice and access to a range of experiences without reference to anyone else. Do you want your own house, or a new car or a boat? Would you like to retire from work with a comfortable income stream? Would you like to travel for extended periods in comfort? If you had any or all of these, what would that do for you? What other experiences would open up through having financial independence?

Do you immediately discover objections to achieving financial independence? What if you believe on reasonable historical grounds that your earning capacity is not up to it? What if your normal way of creating income is being eroded through structural changes in the economy? What if you have fallen foul of government intervention that wrecked your prospects? This is where discovering the intention for having what you want can be valuable.

Back to the example; if financial independence initially seems too hard, go to the intention. Let us say you want financial independence to experience freedom in your life. If you believe you can only have freedom through financial independence, that will dictate your next move. However, if you are aware that freedom is a sense that comes from within, that is not predicated on external circumstances, you can approach it through this class of exploration. At this point, you can argue that if you continue to live life as it is currently, and you have not been experiencing a sense of freedom, then to experience a sense of freedom in your current context would be delusional or require resources which would take years of self discipline to obtain. Not so; it requires access to internal resources of which you are not aware yet, combined with the capacity to suspend your disbelief for a few minutes.

The intention for exploring financial independence and freedom as above is to flush out some common, very plausible limiting beliefs that stop some people from even considering the possibility. In the Classic Code of NLP, the obvious next step would be to change the beliefs directly. This is not a good idea. What we do is create an experience as if you had financial independence. You can explore your outcome as if you were there for real, standing in it with the context unfolding around you, life size in all senses. The experience is; “This is what it is like to live financial independence”. From this you can refine it, discover longer term benefits and any costs you might have overlooked and find your own intention for having it.

The exploration process is called, “Outcome, Intention and Consequences” and it enables people to discover what they really want, to have a living experience of it and then to explore the intention for having the outcome. You can repeat the process with higher levels of intention to discover a broad, overarching intention that will support all the lower levels. Then, when you return to a practical outcome, which may be different from the original outcome, you will have something you can plan, believe in and find very attractive. This is the first stage of creating a compelling future.

Check our course Creating a Compelling Future

Related articles

Learn more about NLP, read our Ultimate NLP Compendium of NLP

(Note: If you would like to learn more about the New Code of NLP you can get a copy of  our latest Kindle book ‘AEGIS: Patterns for extending your reach in life, work & leisure’ by Jules Collingwood, NLP Trainer. For only $4.99 here).

If you found this article useful, please share it!