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What role does mindset play in your life? What are the best books to change your mindset and help you cultivate a more positive outlook?
Your life outcomes stem from your mindset. This is because your mindset influences your actions (or lack thereof). When your mindset is strong and positive, you make better choices, enjoy healthier relationships, and are resilient in the face of adversity.
Here are Shortform’s picks of the best books to change your mindset.
The Power of Mindset
Your mindset affects what you want in life and whether or not you get it. Understanding and adjusting your mindset can change your finances, your relationships, and your overall life satisfaction.
However, changing your mindset is easier said than done. It requires you to unlearn the entrenched, dysfunctional beliefs and thinking patterns you’ve developed and replace them with more positive ones.
One way you can start cultivating a mindset conducive to happiness and success is to read books to change your mindset. Reading can help spur a change in your outlook through a relatable story or simply through inspiration.
In Mindset, psychologist and researcher Carol S. Dweck argues that the way you think determines the course of your life, starting as early as your preschool years. You learn one of two mindsets from your parents, teachers, and coaches: that personal qualities such as intelligence and ability are innate and unchangeable (the fixed mindset) or that you and others can change and grow (the growth mindset).
In The Power of Positive Thinking, Norman Vincent Peale says there is no problem or obstacle you can’t overcome with faith and a positive mindset. This self-help classic outlines the practical techniques of applied Christianity to help you take control of the events in your life rather than be directed by them.
Many people suffer from learned helplessness: the belief that they don’t have the power to make positive changes in their own lives or in the world around them. Martin Seligman’s Learned Optimism will teach you how to break out of that pessimistic, powerless mindset and replace it with an empowered mindset of optimism and confidence.
Many successful leaders and businesspeople are lauded as “great geniuses,” but psychologist Angela Duckworth argues that talent and intelligence matter less to success than grit: the personality trait behind perseverance, hard work, and goal-setting. In Grit, she explores what grit is, where it comes from, how it drives success, and how you can develop it.
During his 20-year career with the Los Angeles Lakers, Kobe Bryant’s unrelenting drive and commitment made him one of the best basketball players in NBA history. From a young age, Kobe wanted to be a great basketball player, and, in order to achieve that, he was willing to work harder than everyone else and make sacrifices that others were unwilling to make. That, in essence, is the central premise of The Mamba Mentality.
We are surrounded by people who seem more successful than us and who earn more money than we do. We may think, “What do they have that I haven’t got? Are they just smarter?” In The Magic of Thinking Big, David J. Schwartz says it’s a matter of mindset. Successful people “think bigger” — they believe in themselves, have a grander scale of imagination, and see bigger possibilities. And they behave accordingly — they have magnetic attitudes, prefer action to waiting, and learn from every setback.
In The Big Leap, Gay Hendricks argues that, while we all have an innate call toward our most successful and fulfilling life, even highly successful people are often unable to achieve beyond a self-imposed limit. He refers to it as the “Upper Limit Problem.” Hendricks explains how our self-imposed limits are established early in life and offers practical advice for applying this new knowledge to your life and relationships, in order to take the “big leap” into living your best life.
A cult classic among professional athletes, The Obstacle Is the Way is a guidebook to solving any problem preventing you from achieving ambitious goals. It’s based on the tenets of Stoicism—an ancient Greek philosophy promoting calm rationality in any situation. Ryan Holiday argues that by choosing to view your obstacles in an empowering way, you can turn them into your greatest assets.
Psycho-Cybernetics is based on the theory that your mind functions according to cybernetic principles—you can program your mind to achieve success and happiness in the same way that you’d program a machine to achieve the results that you want. Maxwell Maltz suggests a number of methods to help you raise awareness of your current self-image, build your self-confidence, and increase your ability to achieve success.
In The Chimp Paradox, psychiatrist Steve Peters outlines a mind management program that can help you manage your “inner Chimp”—the part of your mind that primitively reacts to the world and spurs you to act emotionally, impetuously, and irresponsibly. If you’ve ever struggled to stay in control of your urges, succumbed to temptation, or sabotaged your own success, your Chimp has probably taken the reins for a bit.
Think and Grow Rich is a guide to success by Napoleon Hill, which was first published in 1937 following the Great Depression. Many people still find its philosophy of positive thinking and its specific steps for achieving wealth both relevant and life-changing. Hill contends that our thoughts become our reality, and offers strategies for transforming thoughts into riches, including visualization, affirmation, creating a Master Mind group, defining a goal, and planning.
Most of us assume financial success depends on education and intelligence. But in The Psychology of Money, finance expert Morgan Housel presents an alternate hypothesis: The key to financial success lies in understanding human behavior. Housel posits that when you understand how your emotions and mindset influence your financial decisions, you’ll make better financial decisions.
In Secrets of the Millionaire Mind, T. Harv Eker reveals the difference between the way rich people and poor people think about money. Eker argues that if you’re not happy with the state of your finances, it’s because your unproductive mindset about money holds you back from financial success. According to Eker, you can dramatically improve your finances by adopting a rich attitude that will inspire you to take new actions that lead to your financial success.
Radical Acceptance is a meditative practice wherein we acknowledge what we’re experiencing—positive or negative—and welcome it. It’s a powerful tool that allows us to be fully present in each passing moment. It helps us avoid getting stuck in our own heads.
Tara Brach, a practicing psychologist and devout Buddhist, discusses how we can use Radical Acceptance to live our lives more fully by always bringing our full attention to the present moment and accepting it for what it is. You’ll learn how we get trapped in the stories we tell ourselves, and how Radical Acceptance can bring us out of the trance.
Many people are trapped in negative mindsets that prevent them from going after their dreams and even from dreaming in the first place! If that sounds like you, reading books to change your mindset can prove a way out of the negativity trap.
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