We believe that the proper mindset is crucial for success in all areas of life. We do not claim to be experts in this area, but one thing we are, is committed to constant self improvement--especially with regards to mindset. For this reason, we will be dedicating a whole section on our blog to mindset. In this section, we will highlight everything from our guiding philosophies, to practical and actionable steps you can take to not only set your mind up for success, but also to help your children develop the proper mindset. Within our mindset approach, we love Ryan Holiday's 3 main categories of Stoicism as he sees them--perception, action, and will. Having the proper mindset starts with aligning your perception with reality vs. what you want reality to be.
Here is an example. Our oldest, Desmond, is generally a happy person. He is, however, challenged often by his younger brother who is more emotionally complex. Both of our boys enrich our lives and each other's, because of their differences in personality. Desmond has had to develop patience after being the only child for over 3 years, and adjusting to his brother. He gets upset and understandably loses control when his brother pushes his buttons. We have tried to prepare him mentally to deal with these challenges. One example would be the breathing practices we engage in to try and quiet the mind, and get back into parasympathetic mode when his brother encroaches on him physically or verbally. Desmond has told us, "I hope that over time, Dean notices how I am acting with him and is nicer to me." This is an example of a perception that may not be aligned with reality. Being virtuous, being a leader, and doing the right thing always (which is how we have defined integrity for him) does not guarantee a pay off. Dean's behavior could very well never change, and it is unrealistic to expect someone to change because of how you treat him or her. What we can control, however, is our reaction to all the things out of our control. We should not have unrealistic expectations.
Having the right perception will inform our actions in a way that makes us effective at handling anything life throws at us. It is possible that these actions may change external circumstances, but that is not the point. What is certain is that a warped perception will lead to ineffective action. Another aspect of 'action" is the importance of doing vs. talking about doing. Action is what separates the doers from the dreamers and procrastinators. This is why we try to put our boys in difficult situations to challenge them and give them the opportunity to act quickly and decisively. If they fail, that's okay. Like we always say, "winners do not lose, they learn." Everything in life is a learning experience.
Lastly, there is the will. Having the will to continue to do the right thing always, means being process oriented vs. outcome oriented. Consistency is what separates the great from the mediocre. Life is about challenging ourselves and growing--always. We are never done in this regard. There is no finish line, and there should be no expectation of one. There are only goals, the daily process it takes to reach those goals, and then after action reviews of our accomplished goals. Once we have taken away what we need from that experience, we move on to the next goal. This all sounds complicated and rigid, but it really is simple. There is a lot more to mindset, as you will see in our blogs, podcasts, and videos, but this is it in a nutshell.