3 Unexpected Things Causing You Mindset Rot

“No matter what your ability is, effort is what ignites that ability and turns it into accomplishment.”
― Carol S. Dweck, Mindset: The New Psychology Of Success

3 Unexpected Things Causing You Mindset Rot

Mindset is a funny old thing. You can’t touch it or see it, but it is undoubtedly the most important thing to master when it comes to reaching your goals and getting what you want. I honestly believe that success doesn’t come down to natural talent, your education, background, or whether your parents can bail you out if things go south… mindset is key.

When I say mindset, of course I mean one that is positive, a growth mindset, a mindset primed for success.

Stanford psychologist, Carol Dweck, who is an expert in this and writes about a ‘growth’ mindset, shows us through her research that growth-minded students employ better learning strategies, experience less helplessness, exhibit more positive effort, are less likely to place limits on their lives and more likely to reach for their potential.

See the power of the mindset!

However, there is a big BUT…

Your mindset is malleable and can unfortunately be easily knocked or shaped by negative experiences, even from other people or things you take in subconsciously. This is why it is so crucial you work on your mindset. It is like a muscle; you have to cultivate it daily and work at it to make it strong.

Protect your mindset so you can minimise the negative things that invade it and cause “mindset rot”.

When it comes to developing a strong ‘success mindset’ there are so many things you can do, from positive affirmations to working with a coach. However, you need to be aware of these three seemingly harmless “mindset stealers”. Sure, they look harmless but if you don’t watch out for them, they will slowly chip away at your mindset and do long term damage.


Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach London UK holding up her negative self-talk sign

You have to mind your language and negative self-talk

One: Your language

The problem with your mindset is that it is with you every day. This means it is tuned into what you say (out loud and to yourself) ALL the time. There is no ‘off’ button. It will pick up what you say whether it is positive and supportive, or negative and detrimental. You have to mind your language.

What are you saying to yourself?

Do you casually berate yourself, or actively talk yourself out of action? Do these kinds of phrases ever make its way into your vocabulary?

  • I’d never be able to pull that off!
  • I’d love to be able to be someone that could [insert desire]…

Minding your language also includes self-deprecating humour. I think Brits love a bit of that, but it can quickly turn from a joke to negatively impacting your mindset. I have an amazing friend who came to one of my workshops on how to squash limiting self-beliefs and had a realisation that she needed to stop joking “the fat b**th is going for another biscuit” because this kind of language isn’t constructive despite it being ‘a joke’.

Your language creates your thoughts, and your thoughts inspire your belief and action.

Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach London UK Mood hoover poster with vacuum cleaner hoovering up positive energy

Mood hoovers are the people in your life that despite you loving dearly, suck at your positive energy.

Two:  Mood hoovers

Mood hoovers, energy vampires, drains… whatever you want to call them, these are the people in your life that despite you loving dearly, suck at your positive energy. You know who I mean!

The family member who’s well-meant “oh, you sure that is going to work dear?” just puts self-doubt into your career plans, or the friend who’s life is like an episode of East Enders and she likes to whinge about it constantly.

Now, I am not saying you should give them a call, tell them that they are a mood hoover and you no longer have room for them in your life. But if you are serious about improving your mindset, then do be aware of them and protect your mind! It will depend who they are and the dynamic of the relationship but there are some things you can do to improve the situation of the mood hoovers in your life from sapping all that success mindset goodness.

  • Politely call them out on their negative language because perhaps they are not even aware of it themselves
  • Enjoy time with them but leave out the conversations around your big plans and goals which they might poo-poo on
  • Limit the time you spend with them and make sure it is on your terms and when you feel positive enough to deal with them
  • Do the ‘politician thing’ and casually deflect any probing questions you don’t want to answer
  • Set times of the day you will look at your messages, e.g not before a big sales pitch where you need your mindset to be bullet proof
Alice Dartnell Life Success Coach sat eating celebrations christmas xmas chocolates and looking guilty

Everything not a win/lose situation. Don't tell yourself you have failed and to give up

Three: All or nothing attitude

Maybe, like you, I am an “all or nothing” person. Seems harmless right, and what does it have to do with mindset? Well, a lot!

The trouble with an “all or nothing” attitude is that it is too black and white. It is too win/lose. When it comes to success, you need a growth mindset - remember what I said at the start about Carol Dweck’s research.

Growth and success are about progress, practice, learning from mistakes. It isn’t about trying it once and completing is first time. Can you see now how an “all or nothing” attitude can impair a positive mindset. There is no room for learning, progress, baby steps forward or improvement.

If you are like me with a “I have had one biscuit, the diet is ruined so I might as well have the whole packet” type, be aware that this kind of behaviour impacts on your mindset. You’ve told yourself you have failed and to give up, because you see everything as a win/lose situation.

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Carol Dweck fascinating book Mindset

Conclusion - Watch the Mindset Stealers 

As Carol Dweck points out in her book Mindset, your mindsets can and does change. Like any other habit, practice gets you the mindset you want. You have to set your mind to it until the right mindset becomes routine. My blog 4 Insanely easy ways to create good habits explains the simple truth that  habits are what gets you success and teaches four insanely easy ways to start creating good habits.

Keep a watch out for these three, seemingly harmless but detrimental, mindset stealers! Remember your life is only as good as your mindset, and you deserve an amazing life.

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This article is written by Alice Dartnell, life and success coach of Alice Dartnell Limited. Alice empowers busy professionals to be successful, transform their lives and achieve more by improving their confidence, mindset and time management.

For more information please see www.alicedartnell.com.

Copyright 2020 Alice Dartnell Limited



This blog is published solely for educational and entertainment purposes. The author and publisher are not offering it as legal, accounting, health care or other professional services advice. While best efforts have been used in preparing this blog, the author and publisher make no representations or warranties of any kind and assume no liabilities of any kind with respect to the accuracy or completeness of the contents. Neither the author nor the publisher shall be held liable or responsible to any person or entity with respect to any loss or incidental or consequential damages caused, or alleged to have been caused, directly or indirectly, by the information contained herein. Every person and company are different, and the advice and strategies contained herein may not be suitable for your situation. Alice Dartnell or Alice Dartnell Limited is not liable for the contents of any external internet sites listed, nor does it endorse any commercial product or service mentioned or advised in this blog. You should seek the services of a competent professional as appropriate. You are responsible for your own choices, actions, and results. Always consult your own General Practitioner if you're in any way concerned about your health.