With a beginner’s mindset, everything is possible. There are no mental barriers holding you back from trying something out of the ordinary, because you don’t know what’s ordinary. Everything is a playground. Any project is double.
With a realistic mindset, everything is well thought out. Risks are mitigated. Actions are oriented through process and systems thinking. A project’s success is formulaic and lives or dies by its model. A does of realistic thinking is good and can prevent lost time, money and keep you away from restless nights and headaches. But realism doesn’t always equal originality. Creativity is certainly possible, but the goals reached for in this mindset are much more grounded in what’s probable now, versus the weird imaginative ideas of the beginner’s mindset.
With a negative mindset, everything is impossible. Anything you could do, someone has already thought of it or has done it better. In fact, any idea you dream up has already been made, so why even bother? And project is improbable and likely to fail. (If the negative mind even lets you start.) There is no originality, because originality is too risky. And if a person living in a negative mindset is forced to work on a project, they will complain the entire way through, and self-attack themselves for doing such a bad job, and produce only ordinary.
With an expert’s mindset, everything is within your domain. Tools, methodology, skills are instinctual and lightning fast. You make it look easy for us mortals watching from afar. An expert’s mind has originality on demand, but knowledge is a gift and a curse. The more you know, the less you can forget about what you know. Too much knowing can paralyze you from trying new things or stop you from making wacky moves because you are aware that they are ‘wacky’ in the first place. Wackiness is only wacky because you know better. (…for better or worse).
All types of mindsets, these and more, have good and bad traits:
A beginner’s mind will get you started and thinking differently, but opens you up to failure (failure that you may not be ready for and unable to handle).
A realistic mind will create a plan and validate the probability of success through decisions, but will sometimes dilute the vision and the why behind the metrics.
A expert’s mind gives you creativity on demand, but you’re susceptible to losing the wonder and magic that a beginner has.
Each has it’s risks but the mindset that seems the safest, yet is actually the riskiest (wrapped in a blanket of supposed safety) is a negative mind, which leads you nowhere.
A negative mind can prevent you from failing in the short term, but by not taking risks, only getting your feet wet, or not even trying, you fail in the long term (leaving the successful avoidance of failure in the short term uselessly moot)
(uselessly moot is a great band name)
— Josh Waggoner