The Outward Mindset

Photo by:  Delyth Angharad


The Outward Mindset


At the recommendation of a client and an attorney friend, I recently finished reading a book put out by the Arbinger Institute entitled, The Outward Mindset. If you haven’t read it, put it in your Amazon cart. J You’ll be glad you did!

Early on a quote from GK Chesterton:

How much larger your life would be if

your self could become smaller in it.

This reminds me of something I’ve thought and shared. I call it Mark’s second law of thermodynamics…You all remember your science, right? The Second Law of Thermodynamics says that as energy is transferred or transformed, more and more of it is wasted…that there is a natural tendency to move from order to disorder. So, here is Mark’s “second law.”

Left to my own devices,

I collapse in on myself…

And a corollary to that is:

The world of “Mark”

is too small a world to live in.

These realizations make me want to adopt that Outward Mindset. It’s possible to do that, but it takes a lot of time in the “gym.” I don’t need “the gym” to focus on myself. I need the gym to develop an outward mindset – to build muscles to think of others ahead of myself.

In the intro to the book, the authors write,

Developing an outward mindset

is a matter of learning to see beyond ourselves.

They then go on to say,

What humble, good leaders also do

is to help people see. When people see,

they are able to exercise all their human agency and initiative.

When they do that, they own their work.

I want to be that kind of humble, good leader. How about you?

Back to the gym for a moment…The habits of a leader with an outward mindset don’t come naturally. We have to work at them. In another book I’m reading, Your Future Self Will Thank You, the author reminded me of something I read long ago:

Willpower is limited.

It’s why it’s harder to resist that bowl of ice cream at the end of the day. We use up our willpower during the day and have none left. To help deal with the limitations of our willpower, we develop habits. Once a behavior becomes habit, that behavior doesn’t use up willpower. The behavior becomes automatic. We don’t have to think about it. If loading the dishwasher is something I have to think about (it still is…J), it uses up limited willpower. If it is something I “automatically” do, it doesn’t use up willpower. Might loading the dishwasher be part of an outward mindset? It’s one less thing my wife has to do around the house.

Over time, even the outward mindset

can become habit.

Experts tell us it takes between 21 and 60 days for something to become a habit. What is one habit that involves an outward mindset that you can develop between now and Thanksgiving? You’ve got what, just about 60 days? Just do it! I bet you’ll be glad you did!



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