Top 9 Books to Improve Your Mindset
What is Mindset?
This is a common question that can be made more complicated than necessary.
Mindset is simply your attitude, values, and/or beliefs that you hold at any given time or situation.
For example, let’s say that you have come 3rd in a race. You may old an attitude or belief that you can never get 1st place. This mindset could carry over into the next race, and you could complete your own prophecy. Another mindset you could have in this situation is an attitude that you can win the next race with more training.
Why is it important to improve your mindset?
It is important to improve and grow in general. And the degree to which you improve can depend on your overall mindset.
This is because our mindset makes up part of the lens that we look at the world through. If you hold a negative attitude, then you will view the world in a negative light. On the flip side, if you have a positive mindset, even if a situation could be determined negatively, you would still make a positive out of it.
Overall, our mindset is how we process what is happening at any moment and how we reprocess a past situation. Have you ever had someone say something that has annoyed you, and for the rest of the day, you are in a foul mood?
This could be because of your mindset. We will talk about the 2 main types of mindset when we cover one of the books below.
How can you improve your mindset?
I firmly believe Mindset is one of the most significant factors in overall happiness, success and life fulfilment. Your beliefs, values and attitude contribute to the mindset system that will help guide you throughout life.
Your Mindset will allow you to achieve your goals, act and react in a way that aligns with what you desire.
Steps to improve your mindset
1. Learn and Understand
Watch youtube videos, read books (like some of the ones down below), listen to books or podcasts. Learn about how your mind works. If you can understand yourself just a little bit better, you will start making moves and changes.
One of the great things about learning from someone else is that you get to look into their minds and see how they operate and what mindsets, beliefs, attitudes, and values they hold and use in their everyday lives.
From understanding yourself and others, you will see the gaps in your thinking and what necessary adjustments you would have to make to move to where you want to be.
2. Apply and Adjust
Apply and put into action all that you learn. I like to do two or 4-week tests. Currently, I am posting daily on my Instagram at the time of writing, just one of the tests that I am in the middle of.
From the end of the 30days, I will make any adjustments.
The whole point of testing things is to know what works for you and what won’t. Some things will move you in leaps and bounds to where you want to go, and other times you will only take a couple of baby steps.
3. Become Your Own Hero
Becoming your own hero is one of the most empowering things that you can do. Not only does it elevate your level of thinking, but it also creates a level of accountability; you have to live up to your own ideals.
The other thing that becoming your own hero does is that it makes you realise that all of your heroes are indeed human, just like you. If they can be your hero, so can you.
4. Create Habits
Creating habits is essential in building up your mindset. You have to be diligent in pulling yourself up. For example: if you talk negatively about yourself, flip the script and rewire your brain.
I will often repeat the exact opposite of what my ego says to myself:
Ego: you never finish anything
Me: I finish everything
Ego: You never stick to your word
Me: I always stick to my word.
Something is empowering about this habit and saying these things out loud.
5. Hang Out With the Right People
You may have heard the Jim Rohn quote: “You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”
So on that logic, if you spend a lot of time with people who like cars, more often than not you too will have an interest in cars. If you spend time with people who don’t have jobs, you too won’t have a job. If you hang out with people that smoke, you more than likely will smoke too.
So chose the people you spend time with wisely. If you see that they have some characteristics that you know you need to develop, then hang out with those people. It is easier to take on or build a new mindset if you see that it is working for other people.
6. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
This is one of the best things you can do. Not only will it build confidence in yourself, but you will upgrade your mindset to fill the mindset gap that the challenge creates.
So, ask yourself, “Do you feel lucky…” just kidding, ask yourself:
“What is a challenge or situations that I can put myself in that will make me level up my mindset?”
“What is a task that I can complete, where I have to improve my mindset to complete it?”
If you are bad at saving money, it could be something like: “I have to save $200/week for the next 5 weeks.” This would require you to level up your mindset on money and on being patient for results.
Knowing these steps, let’s start your journey with some resources to learn and understand more about mindset:
The following links are affiliate links, meaning that if you click on through, I will receive a small payment of any purchases made through them if you so chose to do.
Top 9 books:
On to the books
1. Mindset: New Psychology of Success
Carol Dweck is a leading psychologist and researcher of belief systems and mindset. She distilled her years of research into the book. From that research, she found that your mindset is a significant determiner of success throughout your life.
She found that most people fell into two modes or types of mindset that you picked up or learnt from your parents, teachers, coaches or other authority figures in your life. One is personal qualities such as intelligence and ability are innate and unchangeable (a fixed mindset), and the other is you and others can change and grow (a growth mindset).
She then breaks down why you want to achieve a growth mindset and how to move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. This will enable you to level up in the rest of your life as you understand with a growth mindset that you can better your position, learn and grow.
2. Think and Grow Rich
In the book, the author dives into the power of thought and how you can further develop your career and life situation or position through processes. The great thing about this classic is that it has stood the test of time. As one of the most popular books on the topic, it is a fantastic read for the business savvy or entrepreneur types.
I recommend this book for everyone, though, as it will bring a level of understanding of how the most successful people of the era thought and conducted themselves.
Often it would be about shifting the questions that they would ask themselves. From “How do I get a job?” to “what can I give to a job?”
3. Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
Feeling Good looks at how changing your mood can be as simple as restructuring your negative thoughts. Of course, the book goes to great lengths to describe how your moods are created by your thoughts. How negative thoughts can cause depression.
Often the negative thought or thoughts fall into one of the 10 cognitive distortions, which can be identified and are irrational and can be flipped. Like the example above, if you respond to the negative thought by saying the opposite, you can train yourself to defeat these gross distortions.
Being able to define and pick apart these negative thoughts, you can see they are usually meaningless over or understatements that have been distorting your reality. Now that you have broken down the old lens, you can now tackle the actual underlying problems that will further help improve your mindset.
4. Can’t Hurt Me
One of the most influential books on the list, it details the life and experiences of David Goggins, who is most known for his ultra-marathon races and inspiring thoughts while running, often finishing the video with “Stay hard!”
He wasn’t always this super athlete; before joining the military and breaking world records, he was overweight and depressed, low life, with no direction.
From an abusive upbringing and an early life full of excuses as to why he couldn’t be or do things. He was able to change his attitudes and mindset to get the most out of himself and life, now one of the most known endurance athletes in the world.
5. Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
Fear is something everyone experiences; some can not move when they are in a state of fear, while others seem to move through it without hesitation. It may seem like those people are courageous, but as the old quote goes: “courage is not the absence of fear, but taking action in spite of it.” - Franklin D Roosevelt.
So what does understanding and overcoming fear have to do with mindset? Quite a lot actually, if you do not have the beliefs, values or attitudes to combat fear, then it has the potential to consume you. Jeffers walks you through the 3 levels of fear, the 5 truths and how to overcome it.
Here is truth number 1 to get you started:
“So long as you’re growing and trying something new, you will feel fear. Hence, there’s no point in trying to avoid your fears.”
Full review of Feel the fear and do it anyway
6. Man’s Search for Meaning
This book had helped me through the most challenging part of my life. When I was told I had a tumour, I didn’t quite know how to handle it. At first, I was shocked, then I was angry, and I spiralled through many more emotions.
This book helped me put the big picture of my life into full view. I was able to find and develop an attitude that I carry to this day through the pages of this book.
The book follows Frankl through his time as a prisoner in the Nazi concentration camps and his story of survival. He recounts it through the lens of a psychotherapist, in particular, the technique he developed whilst in the camps called logotherapy.
If you feel lost, or you are looking for some meaning in your life, I can not recommend this book enough.
7. Awaken the Giant Within
Feeling like you are unable to control the path you are on is never a great feeling. Life sometimes doesn’t play nice, and often the more you try to control the outside world, the worse it gets. Your relationships break down, you get fired from your job, you lose your only source of income.
This is where Tony Robbins steps in with a helping hand. In Awaken the Giant within, Tony takes you through his psychological blueprint to wake you up and start taking control of your life. The critical difference to the story above is that you start with your own mind and controlling your thoughts instead of the outside world.
A lot of what is out there in mindset books was pioneered in this very book. If you want to go straight to the top of the stream, then this is the book for you.
8. Start with Why
This book, I think, is on everyone’s list; either they have read it, or it is sitting on their bookshelf, or they have loaned it out to someone. Being able to have a strong why gives you a solid foundation to build anything off of. To develop your goals, your dreams, your career, your relationships. The book goes more into business applications; however, the main theories are adapted to personal life also.
Being able to inspire others is something that everyone recognises as a good trait to have, especially if you are in or moving into a leadership role. If you are ordering someone to do something from the get-go, you may lose them. If you lead with the “why” you want them to do the action, then request the action, you will have a higher success rate.
Sinek recommends building everything off a strong why, Business, Sales, communication, employees, relationships. Why creates an emotional driver, so when people use logical reasoning, they are already on board.
Full review of Start with Why
9. Extreme Ownership
The last book in my top 9 books for improving your mindset is one of my favourite books. Not only to read but to listen to. Former Navy SEALs Jocko Wilink and Leif Babin now run a leadership training and consulting firm called Echelon Front. Now the title may seem extreme, and this is a little bit of a level up in terms of taking it on board and using it to improve your mindset.
*Disclaimer: Do not read this book first if you are new to building and improving your mindset!*
This book puts everything on you. Everything is your fault, and this isn’t some destructive negative self-talk; this allows you to take on more power. When you view everything as your fault, you can do all that you can to rectify the issue and take full responsibility for your actions.
Yes, it means that all responsibility falls to you, but that is the beauty of it. You now have all the power.
Extreme Ownership doesn’t just talk to the mindset of being responsible, but it dives into a range of other attributes and beliefs that will help you improve your mindset to the next level.
5 takeaways from Extreme Ownership
I hope you have enjoyed my list of the top 9 books I have used to level up my mindset, and I hope you get some value from reading them:
- Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential
- Think and Grow Rich
- Feeling Good: The New Mood Therapy
- Can’t Hurt Me
- Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway
- Man’s Search for Meaning
- Awaken the Giant Within
- Start with Why
- Extreme Ownership
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