I have a new puppy. Until today, the only things he has really known in his young life have been our home and our family. For everything outside of that, his instinct thus far has been to fear and bark. But today, it was time to introduce him to a little more of the world.
At first, he was nervous, fearing everything new, barking and growling at strangers. But once he settled into the new environment and began to relax, he started experiencing positive interactions with those around him, receiving kind words and even treats from those who had been complete strangers just moments before. Eventually, the puppy began to enjoy himself and receive others more openly. Though still cautious, he had learned that barking and fear meant he wouldn’t have a chance to be petted, which he loves, or given a biscuit.
My puppy learned quickly, but he left me thinking. How often do we, as humxns, default to fear and defensiveness? What if we, too, stayed open-minded? Would we find ourselves praised and rewarded more often? Would we receive more compliments? Complete more projects? Connect with and serve more clients?
Daily, it is my responsibility to teach this young puppy about the world around him. Just as my humxn children do, he looks to me to guide him to safely and appropriately respond to change. By rewarding him when he chooses open-mindedness over fear, I can purposefully build his confidence and encourage a default mindset of positive response.
If I do everything I can to support him, will the world always give him the love and kindness he deserves? As we all know from recent events, there is no guarantee of positive reception. But we do know that mindset impacts our experience and outcome. Had I reacted with fear or anxiety when the puppy began to bark fearfully at strangers, I would have made the situation worse; it would have been even harder for him to relax. By staying calm, I encouraged the puppy to relax. Remaining in a positive, open mindset myself, I not only led by example but positively influenced the puppy with my own energy.
I’ve also seen how my mindset influences my children. What I think and feel, and my energy and mindset in the moments where I show up for them, dramatically impacts their assumptions, biases, and the choices they make as they build their worlds. While I cannot completely remove my impact to give them full freedom to make their own choices, I can definitely be aware of my influence. I can, and do, encourage them to do their own exploring, to find their own answers, and to form their own opinions.
Are you stuck in a mindset of fear? If so, you may find yourself frustrated, anxious, or dissatisfied with your life. By facing and overcoming your fears, you will create space for joy and positivity. By converting your mindset to one of openness, receptivity, and gratitude, you’ll soon find the world a better place than you once imagined. You’ll also be ready to make the world an even better place, by boldly showing up, living in your purpose, and being you.