There was once a man who lived by the side of the road and sold hot dogs. He was hard of hearing, so he had no radio. He had trouble with his eyes, so read no newspapers. Moreover, of course, he didn’t watch television. However, he sold delicious hot dogs. He put up signs on the highway telling everyone how good they were, he stood on the side of the road and cried out to all that past, “Buy a hot dog, they are the best in town.”
So people bought his hot dogs, and he increased his meat and bun orders. He bought a bigger stove to take care of all the extra business. He finally got his son to come and help him out with his business.
Then something happened, his son, who had been well educated, said, “Father, haven’t you been listening to the radio or reading the newspapers or watching television? There’s a big recession happening right now. The current business situation is terrible in this country — we have problems with unemployment, high living costs, strikes, pollution, the influence of minorities and majorities, the rich, the poor, drugs, alcohol, capitalism, and communism.”
At which point, his father thought, “Well, my son’s been well educated, he reads the papers, listens to the radio and watches television, so he ought to know.”
His father cut down on his meat and bun orders. He took down all his advertising signs and no longer bothered to stand by the side of the road to promote and sell his hot dogs. So his hot dog sales fell almost overnight.
“You’re right, son,” the father said, “We certainly are in the middle of a recession.”
Mindset drives our behavior
The above story underscores that intelligence is not equivalent to wisdom. However, it also highlights the power of mindset and thoughts. If we condition our mindset for something, we almost always drive the outcome, and that is very powerful if done correctly!
If our mindset is conditioned for something, we almost always drive the outcome, and that is very powerful if done correctly!
There is a peculiar learning cycle our intellect uses to adapt and grow.
As an infant, we do not have any pre-set mindset, and therefore, not much of a thought process can happen. This limitation results in either some random behavior or directed behavior as guided by our parents. However, an exciting thing happens when we see an outcome of that behavior. We absorb that as some cause-effect model in our mind, which seeds our mindset.
As we grow, our mindset starts to take shape, and it incites various thoughts. Every thought has the potential to drive our behavior in a certain way. This behavior then results in some outcome, which then either reinforces our mindset or breaks it and sways it to the contrary.
This constant cycle one of the significant contributors to creating our personality.
Our mindset formulation process has a significant impact on our lives — whether that is personal, business, or social. Eventually, it can result in positive or negative outcomes for an individual, company, or society in general.
Understanding how our mindset impacts our life can put us in better control.
Components of the behavioral cycle
We can divide our behavioral cycle into four stages, starting with our mindset.
Mindset: Our mindset is a direct function of (i.e., the result of the) culture we follow, attitudes we appreciate, and personalities we rever. Some of that may also come from our genetic memory; however, there is no evidence to confirm that yet.
Thoughts: The surrounding social environment and some form of data (in the form of news, conversations, books, et al.) feed this mindset, which then makes us think in a certain way. That means we form our thoughts. These thoughts are also significant contributors to our ability to do something.
Behavior: Now comes to an exciting part — behavior. According to B. J. Fogg, a behavior scientist at Stanford University, our behavior is a direct function of motivation, ability, and trigger. Fogg’s model eloquently explains this relationship, as shown below.
Outcomes: Every behavior is set to produce some results. These outcomes mainly depend on the social norms of the society where we exhibit this behavior and associated rewards (or penalties). For example, in highly populated countries, coming very close to someone when speaking in a public place is not an issue as the population density is quite high. However, the same may be a privacy invasion in countries where population density is low.
Our operating environment often dictates our performance, and it can accelerate or decelerate this behavior cycle.
If we were to succeed, we first succeed in our mind and then in reality. If we were to fail, we first fail in our mind and then in reality.
Everything that is a result of our behavior happens first in our mind, makes our mindset pliable to that outcome, and then results in reality.
Which means, understanding how our mindset impacts our daily behavior and our life can give us significant insights. It can help us in better controlling our mindset as well as behavior.
Remember, our mindset can have a significant impact on our lives, and therefore it can also be conditioned to drive required outcomes.