Having the right mindset is the first step on any path to a successful and happy life. Not having the right mental model for thinking can be a drain on our energy and emotions. Our belief systems are the filter through which we see the world so we must choose carefully what we believe about ourself and how reality works. Many self-fulfilling prophecies are created through self-sabotage and beliefs leading to the behavior that creates the outcome that was believed would happen.
While the right mindset is not a guarantee of success the wrong mindset usually leads to eventual failure. Thinking must be combined with the right work and the right goals. However, our mindset is the one thing we have the most control over. No one and no circumstance can make us feel or think in a certain way unless we let them. Our mindset is our most important asset and the following books can help us make it positive, constructive, and focused on what we want to attract into our life.
This book explains the concept of the Positive Intelligence Quotient or PQ as the percentage of time your mind acts as your friend rather than as your enemy. Increasing your PQ will lead to higher performance, more happiness and less stress. The key principle is to make smart decisions by using a positive mindset as your primary filter and not let mental saboteurs like negativity lead to emotional or egoic decisions that lead you away from your goals.
Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the 3-to-1 Ratio That Will Change Your Life by Barbara Fredrickson
This books explains that creating a life where 75% of your words are positive can improve the quality of your marriage, career, and social connections dramatically. She cites studies that shows it takes 3 positive interactions to offset 1 negative one and keep a relationship tipped to a positive one. It takes a positive mindset to keep the majority of your interactions with people constructive, instructive, and complimentary but it pays dividends in quality of life.
The author’s definition of not giving a f*ck is not about being indifferent, but being comfortable with being different than the majority of people. To not care about something, you must first care about something more important. We have the power to choose what to care about and what we don’t find important. The book is saying to choose what we care about carefully and not to care about things that do not really matter to us. The mindset of focus frees us from giving a shit about the vast majority of things that really don’t matter to us. Choose what is most important to you and don’t care about the rest.
This book is the definitive guide to breaking bad habits and adopting good good habits in four steps:
- Make it obvious.
- Make it attractive.
- Make it easy.
- Make it satisfying.
It shows you how small, incremental, and consistent everyday routines compound in growth and momentum into big, positive change over time. This book can change your mindset over what habits really are and how to manage them.
Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
This book explains that one common element of success that people she studied had was grit. The author defines grit as the combination of a deep, enduring knowledge of what you want (passion) and doing the hard work with resilience (perseverance) to achieve the end goal. Grit is about moving in the right direction toward your purpose and goals with consistency in action and endurance in attitude, with a clear inner compass guiding decisions and actions to the endgame.
Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Carol S. Dweck
This book explains the difference between a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset:
A fixed mindset is the belief that the current abilities of intelligence and talent are fixed just the way they will always be for a person. It is the belief that people are born and destined to be at a certain level of ability. A fixed mindset accepts their current level of performance and intelligence as fixed and do not try to improve and grow. They believe people are born with talent that enables success more than effort. They believe performance is inherently fixed and static.
A growth mindset doesn’t believe that abilities and intelligence are limited to their current levels but instead can be developed and improved upon with study, work, and goal setting. A growth mindset looks at future potential and strives for growth in all areas of life through work, education, exercise, entrepreneurship and self improvement.
The Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale
This book explains to readers that the roots of success lie in the mind and teaches how to believe in yourself, break the habit of worrying, and take control of your mindset and life by managing thoughts and changing attitudes. This book explains in detail why positive thinking is the right mental model and is an edge in life with the energy and mindset it creates.
The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
The book teaches how readers don’t need exceptional intelligent or to be special to achieve the success they want, the path starts with thinking in a way that creates success. Thinking big can be motivating enough to cause you to improve your business or career, earn more money and achieve more happiness and fulfilment in life. The core process is that thinking about big goals can create the motivation that leads to the energy and drive to go after them because you are driven by the vision, passion, and the prize.
Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
This book is about the mental construct people use for self-image, how it’s created and how it can drastically affect happiness and success in life. The author uses a mechanical perspective of the brain and body’s activity to create a new system of thinking and behaving. The core of his teaching is to create a positive self image of who you are as a person.
Here are his core principles:
- Free yourself from the fears of past failures.
- Believe you have the ability to change yourself for the better.
- Trust the mind’s natural control and management system.
- Visualize a positive version of yourself.
- Do not wait for happiness at some future date; be happy now.
As a Man Thinketh by James Allen
The author explains that the power of our thoughts is the primary thing shaping our reality. While we think that we are victims of circumstance in our life, the majority of the time the truth is our thoughts, actions, and habits create the situations we dislike. Managing and creating better thoughts by stopping negative ones and allowing more positive ones can help prune the way we think and improve our lives just like we would tend to a garden.
The book was inspired by the first part of this biblical verse:
“For as he thinketh in his heart, so is he.” – Proverbs 23:7 KJV