September 23, 2020
To say that the year 2020 has been a challenging year thus far is probably the biggest understatement of the century. This new normal seems to offer nothing but headaches, anxiety, and more problems.
On a global scale, the coronavirus pandemic has brought the world to its knees, shrinking the global economy to unprecedented levels.
Individually, people are facing different kinds of challenges on a daily basis, such as physical, financial, emotional, and even mental challenges.
For students, entering into a new academic year has been very difficult. Zoom fatigue, poor internet connection, financial constraints, and never-ending assignments—these are what seem to characterize the new norm of education in the Philippines.
To make matters worse, the government recently declared that our country would be in a state of calamity due to COVID-19 until September 2021! While we’re all hoping for the best, it seems like we’re in this difficult season for the long haul.
Is it over for us? Is it time to wave the white flag and accept defeat?
Before you consider doing so, you might want to keep reading this article till the end. Maybe—just maybe—you’ll find new motivations to finish strong until this crisis ends.
I remember a classic anecdote that I heard in a sermon many years ago.
Two merchants went to an island to sell slippers and shoes. Upon arriving at the island, the two merchants saw that the islanders had no footwear. Everyone walked around barefoot and they all seemed fine with it.
Upon seeing this, one of the merchants packed his stuff and decided to leave. He thought, “I won’t be able to sell anything here, since none of these people see the need to wear shoes.”
But the other merchant jumped in excitement and exclaimed, “There’s a great business opportunity here, since I can sell my products to all of these people!”
The thing that set the two merchants apart was this: MINDSET.
A mindset is a set of beliefs, assumptions, or notions that a person holds true. This mindset acts as a filter that affects our behavior, attitudes, and perception of the world.
Our mindsets are largely shaped by our experiences, family upbringing, culture, and environment. These things act as puzzle pieces that, when put together, influence the way we view life in general.
Mindsets drive our responses to our situations in life. You’ve probably heard this famous quotation from the Greek philosopher Epictetus: “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.”
In this time of pandemic, your mindsets in life will determine how you respond to adversity—and that response will determine whether or not you emerge victorious and finish strong.
Let us look at two pairs of mindsets. As you read, try to assess yourself as honestly as you can. Which of these mindsets are you leaning toward?
A fixed mindset believes that our talents, abilities, personality, and behavior are already constant and can never be changed.
“Ganito na talaga ako. Wala ka nang magagawa dyan.”
“Hanggang ganito lang talaga ang kaya ko.”
“Hindi talaga para sa’kin yan, mahina ako dyan.”
These statements are indications of a fixed mindset. People with a fixed mindset believe that their characteristics—both strengths and weaknesses—are inherent qualities that define their being.
For them, success is a confirmation of their inherent skills. They avoid failures by staying away from areas, activities, or skills they’re not good at. They also view feedback as criticism and personal attacks rather than opportunities to improve. Hence, a fixed mindset discourages discovery and exploration because of the person’s fear of failure.
On the other hand, a person with a growth mindset faces similar criticisms and challenges, but views them as opportunities for growth. People with this kind of mindset thrive in the face of adversity. They use problems as launching pads to explore new territories and develop new abilities.
People with a growth mindset are often creative and agile; they develop themselves through learning and hard work.
This new normal is heavily characterized by uncertainty and new ways of doing things. A person with a fixed mindset will be easily tempted to give up, but a person with a growth mindset will always find a way to adapt and conquer the challenges of the new normal.
Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset? What are some things that might stop you from having a growth mindset?
How do you see a glass that only contains 50% of its capacity? Is the glass half-empty or half-full? Your answer to this question will determine whether you have a “scarcity mindset” or an “abundance mindset.”
People who see their glass half-empty have a scarcity mindset. They always view their situation through the lens of scarcity—what they need, what they lack, and what they can’t have—while completely ignoring what they do have.
Scarcity in provision: “I can’t dream big because I can’t afford big dreams.”
Scarcity in talents or abilities: “I can’t do it. I lack the skills and the intelligence.”
Scarcity of opportunities: “I have limited opportunities because I’m poor.”
This mindset triggers self-pity, insecurity, anxiety, and even depression. Because they focus on what they don’t have, people with a scarcity mindset will most likely give up in the face of challenges. Moreover, scarcity thinkers tend to hoard resources for fear of lack. They find it difficult to share what they have because they see how limited their resources are.
On the contrary, people who have an abundance mindset see a glass half-full. They deeply appreciate what they have, no matter how little it may be, because they know that they can achieve much even with the few resources in their hands.
More importantly, they know how to think beyond the box and are eager to find resources to “refill their glass,” so to speak. Abundance thinkers believe that there are enough resources for everyone, if you know how and where to find them.
Because of this, abundance thinkers are generous with their time, talents, and resources. They thrive even in lack, for they know how to maximize their resources.
Do you view life through the lens of scarcity or abundance? How can you develop an abundance mindset even in the middle of a pandemic?
Romans 12:2 gives us a hint that renewing the mind results in transformation. If you realize you have a fixed mindset or a scarcity mindset, there’s good news—this can still change. You can begin your road toward growth by turning these mindsets.
Recognize your strengths and potentials. Sometimes it’s so much easier to identify our weaknesses and flaws than it is to identify our strengths. Change this behavior by recognizing your God-given abilities. When you know your core competencies, it will be much easier for you to tap into these strengths when adversity comes.
Shift your mindset through your actions. If you notice habits that impede your growth, discard those habits and develop new, healthy ones. For instance, if you realize that you tend to instantly rant whenever problems come, counter that action by disciplining yourself and controlling your emotions.
Resolve to learn. A fixed mindset resists change and uncertainty. When you notice yourself resisting these things, resolve to learn. Embrace change and push yourself to learn the things you don’t know yet.
Share generously. What do you have that you can share with others? Is it your talent? Your resources? Your time? Defeat the scarcity mindset by sharing generously to those in need.
As you begin to turn your mindset and experience transformation, recall that you are not alone as you face problems and adversity.
Remember that we can do all things through God who gives us strength, and we are more than conquerors through Him who loves us (Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:37).