Sunday, July 21, 2019

The mindset that can make or break you

Jun 24. 2019
Arinya Talerngsri, chief capability officer and managing director at SEAC
Arinya Talerngsri, chief capability officer and managing director at SEAC
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YOU VIEW the world, people and situations in a certain way based on your beliefs, values and experiences – this is your mindset.

Your mindset acts as the lens for your eyes. Whatever you see, your mindset translates to your brain and then you react.

As human beings, we all have our own set of experiences, values and beliefs that shape our mindset. When different people face the same situation, each may react quite differently from the others. And the more we face different experiences, the more our mindsets are shaped.

But as humans, we also face those moments where we wish that the situation had not gone a certain way or that the other person had taken better responsibility for what transpired. We want to be able to change all that is around us, all that we see that is wrong in our world. 

The reality is that you cannot change other people, nor can you change the environment around you that easily. The only thing you can change is your own mindset and inevitably the way you react towards others. In other words, your mindset and how you react to situations can either make you or break you.

This brings us to mistakes and failure. You may already know that failure is an important part of our journey towards success. When we make mistakes, they become great lessons for us as we move towards perfecting our own craft. We learn what to avoid but most importantly, we learn how to tackle the same mistakes better should we face them again.

Failing is inevitable if you step out of your comfort to grow. Mistakes and failures are great teachers, but we must be able to see them in that light. We can fail for many reasons but one way to fail in a way that signals a critical end to our growth and ambitions is through our own mindset. If we don’t see it this way, and assume our mistakes led to our downfall, it surely will go towards that path.

Our mindset is the reason we can learn from these failures, grow to become better and achieve greater heights of success. But, when further along, the very same mindset that helped you succeed could also cause your downfall. 

The reality is that there are some situations we face that don’t go our way, even when we try so hard to make sure it does. How we react to these circumstances depends on us and the mindset we have nurtured. This is when we rise towards success or fall back. Because of this, we need to understand ourselves better and avoid falling on the wrong side. Below are some steps to do this.

The first step is to become more self-aware. Self-awareness isn’t just important for understanding yourself better; it also helps you understand how you affect others through your reactions.

To become more self-aware, it is important to go the extra mile in trying to listen to what you say or observing how you react towards certain people in certain situations. One of the many obvious signs that tell you that your mindset is leading you towards your downfall is when you begin blaming other people, or any other external factors, even going as far as to blame yourself when problems arise. Understanding this helps you avoid walking towards your downfall.

The second step is to determine where your mindset tends to fall along the spectrum from negative to positive. This isn’t about being overly optimistic or pessimistic. Rather, it’s about the negative or positive effects that you and your reactions have on other people and the situation.

For example, when you blame yourself or others for the problems that arise, you fall more toward the negative spectrum. Meanwhile, you fall into the positive side when you move past the blaming and take action towards trying to fix the problem.

The third and final step is to push yourself towards the positive end and continue practising to keep up the habit. We cannot change overnight, that is a fact. But if we actively choose to move towards the positive and practice it, we’ll be able to work with others and more effectively solve problems together.

Bringing up the blame example once more, to divert from self-blame or blaming others and move towards the positive end, you can instead choose to look at the situation differently. Things happen and you cannot waste time finding someone to blame. Instead, you should try to solve the problem together.

Life throws many different challenges at us. The reality is that the only way to overcome challenges is to have the right mindset to approach those challenges. We cannot change others or the environment around us very easily, but the good news is we can shape our own mindset to see things differently. That way, we can also solve those problems around us differently and hopefully for the better.

Contributed by ARINYA TALERNGSRI, chief capability officer and managing director at SEAC (formerly APMGroup), Southeast Asia’s Lifelong Learning Centre. She can be reached by email at or 


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