Changing Your Mindset: Living a Life of Choice

It’s 3am, I just put my sandwich in my camelbak backpack, and I’m now trying to silently carrying my bike out the front door without waking anyone. It’s still pitch black outside and I don’t have a bike light so I opt to use a headlamp instead that I wrap around my front handle bars. I pull out my iPod, plug in my headphones, and then start to play the only song I have on there which is an hour and a half long mashup. I’m not off to school, it’s the summer following my high school sophomore year; instead I’m about to go for a 24 mile bike ride.

Who in their right mind would do this, let alone a high school underclassman? Well, that’s the point, I wasn’t in my typical mindset. The summer before this I had broken my arm which prevented me from being able to skateboard for a couple of months and I began falling out of love with the thing I thought I was going to do for the rest of my life. Throughout my sophomore year I felt a bit lost because I was no longer skateboarding, and in a desperate search to find more direction in life I decided to take a different approach to my life and how I viewed it.

The decision to wake up at 3am just to start riding my bike was centered around the idea of commitment. I wanted to make some kind of crazy commitment in my life that I felt was of my own choosing, and waking up at 3am to go bike 24 miles seemed just crazy enough to work.

The most important part of this is that it didn’t make any sense. There wasn’t any real reasoning behind waking up that early, and it was extremely tough doing so. The question remains, if it was so tough and there was no real reasoning to do it then why did I? The simple answer is because I took on a mindset which enabled me to do it. Had I chosen to stick to normality I wouldn’t have followed through with it, but instead I chose to embrace it and look at it as an opportunity. Everyday we are presented with choices, but we take our ability to choose for granted and so we forget they’re choices at all. I could have easily chosen to look at waking up at 3am as pointless or too hard to do. I could have easily chosen to bike at 8am because that’s more reasonable. I could have easily chosen to be just like everyone else, waking up at my own leisure, going through the day-to-day routine, doing what’s normal so not to disrupt my stagnant life and taking the easy way out.

Everyday we are presented with choices, but we take our ability to choose for granted and so we forget they’re choices at all.

That’s exactly it: easy. We constantly resort to what’s easy, but ask yourself, what is easy? It’s a difficult question to answer because easy is relative to our mindset, it’s all about perception. We choose to perceive certain things as easy. The counter argument would state that tasks become easy as a result of gaining a skill; however, the task isn’t what’s changing, your increased confidence to complete that task along with your new found skill enable a mindset to perceive that task as easy. It all boils down to how you choose to perceive it. Waking up at 3am isn’t easy, but to say that’s not easy is a choice. I chose to see waking up at 3am as easy. I chose to view it as an opportunity to better understand myself when no one else was awake. I chose to find excitement in this small adventure of mine.

Because we all have choices, and you can either sit around complaining about the things you don’t want to do/upset with where you are in life or you can choose to view your life from a different perspective. You have the choice to view difficulty as opportunity. You have the choice to view discomfort as a challenge. You have the choice to live a better, more positive and fulfilling life. It all starts with the conscious understanding that our mindset is a choice.

Changing your mindset is difficult, but all significant change in your life will require you to take on a radically new mindset. It will be scary at first. It will be tough. It will go against what you think is normal or right, but that’s exactly the point because following what’s normal will leave you living the same predictable life as everyone else. View life through a different lens—one of potential, of opportunity, of positivity, and ultimately of choice.

All significant change in your life will require you to take on a radically new mindset.

The next step is to take action, but if you don’t know where to start then I suggest reading Do It Now or stay tuned for next week’s post which talks about focusing on actionable steps.