Mindsets Part 2

Last month we looked at several different mindsets that effect life and business - people who tell you what you can and can’t do.

Criticism is the death gargle of non-achievers."

Jensen Franklin

These people can get into your spirit and limit your thinking so you don’t stretch or enlarge in life.

So doing something different or risky becomes a minefield of negativity. When you do things like changing a service, marketing differently, improving customer service, or establishing a larger vision, many people will react negatively to the change. Their mindsets are limited to what they have experienced in the past and they can sabotage your innovations before they get off the ground.

Faced with the choice between changing one’s mind and proving that there is no need to do so, almost everybody gets busy on the proof.”

John Kenneth Galbraith

Continuing from last month - a few more examples of negative mindsets I’ve run into over the years

See if you recognise some of these!

Legalistic mindsets:

Mindsets that are inflexible and see only the letter of the law rather than the big picture.

I have often had experience with people on committees who cannot agree – some are solution-minded and don’t always obey the letter of the law, the others are upset when things are not done by the book. The former get things done, the latter spend all their time writing emails, criticising and generally getting nowhere (although appearing to be actively involved).

In the legal area itself - some lawyers have the mindset that certain situations can only be dealt with by legal action. Far better to avoid this wherever possible.

In the financial arena - there are accountants who don’t think beyond what they have always known.
There is no question we need both accountants and lawyers, they are essential in business today, however we need to:

  • Be pro-active in your dealings with them – looking to the best solutions long term for our businesses.
  • Make sure we get the ‘right’ financial or legal advisor – one who has had real experience in the particular area needed.
  • Ask for input then make the decision. Ultimately legal or financial advisors can only advise & point out the pitfalls

‘Everyone’s Doing it’ mindset:

Who is ‘everyone’?

Your child will ask you for an expensive toy or game. Why? You ask. Because everyone’s got one! Who is everyone? It usually turns out to be one or two at the most.

In business we sometimes introduce products or services because ‘everyone’s doing it’.

Be careful you are not dragged off course, away from your vision and mission by things that may not be relevant or necessary.


  • Is it relevant for my business?
  • Does it fit with your Vision/Mission?
  • Is it actually working for others?
  • Are we innovating or just copying?

‘If it’s not broke don’t fix it’ mindset:

Nothing stays the same in life or in business.

To be a leader, to grow and expand, you need to be innovating, improving and moving forward.

I advise many companies in developing their business plans. One of the questions I ask is
Where do you want to be in three years?

  • Sell?
  • Grow by10%
  • 20%
  • 100%?

The only non-acceptable option is to stay where you are. Why?

Because if you stay the same your business will stall, costs will continue to increase, customers will lose interest and leave – your business will eventually fail.

The same thing will happen in your relationships and your life if you are not moving forward.

‘I have everything I need’ mindset:

Do you find yourself saying, “I have enough to do what I want, pay the bills, educate the kids, feed the family, why do I need more?”

Think for a minute – this could be a selfish attitude! Maybe you could generate more, be able to give towards those in need, generate more jobs, help your local community.

Nowhere does God say He wants our businesses to fail, our churches to fail or our relationships to fail. He wants us to grow in our relationships, our faith and every aspect of life.

… I pray that in all respects you may prosper and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”

3 John 1:2

When you decide to do something – and, after much consideration you are convinced this is the way forward. Don’t be surprised at the mindsets you will have to confront, and often within your own organization!

The Way Forward

  • Set the course: My wife & I discuss each year the vision for our relationship, family, church involvement, and business. We don’t seek other people’s mindsets but what we believe God wants in these areas.
  • Mix with positive people: Those with a ‘Can Do’ attitude. Stay away from negative, bottom of the pile thinkers, don’t let them influence your decisions.
  • Understand that problems obstacles and difficulties will always come. As we resolve each one, we grow, and our businesses, relationships and lives improve as a result.

Be prepared to face the negative attitudes positively: Be excited by the possibilities of life (view the alarm clock as an opportunity clock).

  • Learn to bring people on the journey: Make the time to encourage and inspire (it doesn’t just happen in a busy schedule).
  • Demonstrate problem-solving ideas & give your people the freedom to work through their own solutions. They will grow and the business will improve as a result.
  • There will be some who will not make the journey with you. Don’t be discouraged, or judgemental, simply give them the grace to move on.
  • Be aware that you too will have mindsets on some things, be honest with yourself and prepared to change.

Peter Irvine
Peter is Co-Founder of Gloria Jean’s Coffees, author of "Win In Business", speaker and business consultant.

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