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  • Writer's pictureCalvin

Fickle Mindset

I go through phases when it comes to reading books. A couple years back, when I first started working in the family business, I was really into sales books.

That was my preferred function when working at my dad’s company. Sales and business development always sounded more fun than operations and back-office administrative work.

When that phase settled down, I got into reading negotiation books. What is the right way and wrong way to negotiate, so that both sides can make some money and come together for a compromise?

Then, when I started going to my local temple to meditate, I started reading spiritual books on philosophy and the meaning of life. Pretty deep, I know.

My mindset has changed throughout the years. And it feels like there is no one specific mindset that “works” or is “it” in terms of the “right” way to approach life.

Mindsets come and go. Sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t.

Like at Toastmasters, when I go into the meetings with a mindset of just “winging it”, I feel more relaxed but then I realize that I don’t speak as coherently as I’d like to.

On the other hand, if I approached public speaking with a more “structured” mindset to help the members understand whatever it is I’m trying to convey, I realize that I speak more coherently and appropriately (in that specific setting at least).

So, it really depends. Mindsets are just ways that we can get through this material world and this material life. They work in some cases and don’t in other cases.

But, whatever mindset that you use to approach your life, just realize that it can change in an instant or over a matter of years.

Back in Tsinghua, I usually approached life with a mindset of “contributing value” to whomever it is I am connecting with or speaking with. It is a noble mentality and not wrong in any way.

But for whatever reason, after a few months went by, that mindset didn’t work anymore. I grew tired of trying to purposely go into public networking events with the intention of “contributing value”.

It felt forced and quite tiresome. So, I discarded that mindset and just went along with the mentality of just “winging it” when I talked. This made me feel more relaxed and in the zone.

But, when I went back to Toastmasters to give more structured public speeches, the mentality of “winging in” didn’t cut it anymore, and I had to switch back to the more “structured” mindset.

All this judging and switching mentalities from here to there can get quite tiring. And if you switch too often, it sometimes leads to anxiety. Because you don’t know which way is the “right” way to approach life.

Everyone has their own mindset that they use to approach the current circumstance. To tackle life and come out victorious. But, whatever mindset that they are using, try not to judge them for it.

They are simply trying to get by the best they can. That’s what most people are doing. Since we are all human and we’re all in this together.

Kind of a cliché, but it certainly feels like it given the times and the virus spreading around in NYC. The focus has been on survival now (instead of self-development or other more luxurious mentalities).

The supermarket shelves are empty today and there is no more bread nor rice at our local grocery store. My dad and I had to start buying microwaveable foods like Hot Pockets.

These are hard times indeed.

But just know that this mentality of survival will pass too. Once the virus situation gets more in hand, people’s mindsets will gradually change from just getting by to thriving.

Commerce will resume. Our world economies will be back on the upturn. The stock market will bounce back (sooner or later). And life as we know it will return to normalcy.

The million-dollar question is just when will that happen? Either way, this too shall pass. Mindsets and mentalities will change. Times will change.

Whether it be for better or for worse is simply in the eye of the beholder. Whatever mindset you use to get through the day, I hope it helps in these times of worry and distress.

I’ll try not to judge. Because that mindset does not define who you are. You are more than that.

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