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The Power of Mindset: 4 Steps to Overcome Decision-making Paralysis

Peter Gollwitzer is a psychologist at New York University who first introduced the term mindset into modern psychology in the 1980s. He tells Inverse there are two types of mindsets: implemental and deliberative.

These are two divergent cognitive processes activated when one’s faced with different tasks. A deliberative mindset activates when choosing a goal. An implemental mindset activates when — you guessed it — implementing a goal.

"As soon as you give a person the task of choosing a goal, they automatically activate procedures that help them to choose a goal that is feasible and desirable," Gollwitzer explains. "When you give a person a task or a goal to implement that next week, before you know it, procedures of planning are activated."
While these divergent cognitive processes are automatic, you can actively kick them into gear. This week, Strategy explores how to harness your mindset, reprogram your reasoning, and ultimately, get closer to achieving your goals.

I’m Ali Pattillo and this is Strategy, a series packed with actionable tips to help you make the most out of your life, career, and finances.

How to dig yourself out of a decision-making paralysis

1. TAKE AN OUTSIDER’S PERSPECTIVE: Oftentimes, people become too close to a certain decision or goal. It’s helpful to imagine the situation at hand as an outsider or someone without any skin in the game. Often, that process can help you see the bigger picture.

2. GET HELP: Ask a friend, colleague, or loved one for their perspective. Outsiders can help pinpoint the next steps you may be missing.

3. SEEK INFORMATION: Doing more research can also shine a light on the best option when you feel stuck.

4. MOVE FORWARD: Sometimes, the best way to make a decision is to try something out. Actively taking steps in one direction can illuminate whether it’s the right one.

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Ken Robinson. Changing Education Paradigms