My daughter took this photo at the Mauna Kea Observatory a few years ago. We had come to Hawaii for a week of exploration – the tropical forests, the ocean, the volcano and this – the stunning vista of a peak that offers a sense of the possible vastness of things. Within a short whisk of time of this photo the night sky had dropped and we viewed the constellations of the west. We had entered the van at the ocean wearing shorts, just a few hours before, and by the time we headed back down, we were all in parkas, gloves and hats. Everything had changed around us in a few hour span and yet what mattered most was what, if anything, had changed within us.
The possibility of change is made possible when we hold a mindset that invites in the new: new perspectives, novel ideas, original approaches. Change doesn’t just come to us – it isn’t handed to us or layered around us like the clouds on that summer night. We must choose it and cultivate it and notice its effects. And that notion of choice is where we must begin – it is the first element of the mindset that activates a positive shift in our lives – that of choice. We have to want to be different or to engage in new ways in our lives. With the active step of choosing, we leave behind the mindset of victimhood and enter the realm of one who leads her/his/their own life.
And as soon as we choose, a second element becomes necessary: that of a willingness to take the first uncomfortable step forward. That first morning of oatmeal instead of donuts, of walking instead of TV, of saying, “No” instead of “Yes” to everyone and everything. In order to have any impact at all, our change choice has to have the driving force of action. Without it, exactly nothing new grows.
The third mindset element needed? Choice, the will to action…and the mindset of the scientist – one who is willing to experiment with new combinations of the day and see what happens.
None of us would have the view of the stars afforded me and my children that evening without the mindset of those willing to climb mountains, build telescopes and map the skies. Imagine how much more we might find to be inspired by if we too held the perspective of the experimenter who is willing to try and stumble and try again.
As we head into the new season, might this not be the perfect time to consider shifting mindset in order to open up a new vista within or around you?