What Is Mindset – Gimme Examples

October 07, 2011 |

In response to my last post, some readers did not understand the term, mindset. Thank you for those comments. In this post, I will define that term, and provide examples to further explain why your mindset is critical to your ability to self-regulate your best efforts to find and keep a job. Mindset is…

  • A way of thinking - For example, if you think you will find a job, you have an optimistic mindset. If you think you will not find a job, you have a pessimistic mindset.
  • Changeable - If your pessimistic mindset seems to cause problems, you can simply change how you think at will to be more optimistic.
  • Self-empowering - For example, when you go to a movie you turn off any troubling thoughts so you can concentrate on the film and allow yourself to be entertained. You create a movie mindset. Similarly, when you attempt to lose weight you turn off any thoughts about eating the wrong foods, and stop making excuses about not exercising. You create a fat-burning mindset.
  • Observable - If you say, “It won’t be long before I find a job.” others will conclude you have an optimistic mindset. If you say, “I will never find a job.” others will conclude you have a pessimistic mindset. In fact, people may come to these conclusions without you saying a word because emotions are observable. Others can sense when you are happy or sad, confident or afraid, etc., by observing how you behave.

To understand what makes your mindset so important, you must first understand people are emotional beings. This means, when you do something, it is because your emotions urged or motivated you to take action. For example, if you feel excited about a particular job and confident you will get it those two emotions will cause you to feel motivated to get up and go after that job. On the other hand, if you feel doubtful about getting that same job, or lack confidence, those two emotions will cause you to procrastinate, make excuses, or you will not even try. Even if you force yourself to try, you will feel as though you are opposing yourself. Consequently, your efforts will be half-hearted and others will observe your lack of authenticity, doubt, hesitation and lack of confidence. You act in response to your emotions, which are observable and create impressions, or help to communicate how you feel.

Now for why your mindset is the most important tool you have for finding and keeping a job. Your emotions are created only by how you choose to think – your mindset. Nothing and no one outside of you can cause your emotions – not the economy, the job market, rejections, recruiters, or discourteous treatment. How you think about those things, is what causes how you feel (emotions). Because your mindset is changeable, and your emotions are not tied to or dependent on your circumstances, this gives you the self-empowering ability to feel your best and do your best when searching for a job despite challenges posed by the slow recovery. Because your mindset is observable by employers, this self-empowering ability enables you to create the best impressions while your competition is struggling with a beat down attitude, because he or she never learned how to create the best mindset for success. Successful athletes, performers, speakers, and job seekers, make it their business to learn about mindset.

Imagine your thoughts are gasoline. When you pour your thoughts into an engine, they create emotions or the energy required to fuel performance. If you pour in negative thoughts associated with needing, wanting or lacking a job, you create low energy and poor performance (fear, worry, envy, doubt, anger). However, if you pour in non-negative thoughts(realistic and optimistic) associated with imagining already having your job (joy, optimism, excitement, enthusiasm, gratitude), you have a better chance of creating higher energy and better performance, which is exactly what employers are looking for when deciding who to hire . They want to know, can you self-regulate the best attitudes, performance and impressions despite work conditions that cannot always be made satisfying.

I hope this helps. In my next post, I will provide a case study. Until then, think non-negatively to guard how you feel, and how well you perform while looking for a job. No one controls how you think but you.



About Jeff Garton

Jeff Garton is on a mission to expand the existing job search training currently being provided to returning veterans and their spouses by academic institutions and the Department of Labor's Career One Stop Centers. He is a certified coach and bestselling career author whose background is specialized in leading the global staffing for Kraft Foods and Miller Brewing. He is author of the new Jobseeker Success Mindset Training program. For information, visit the course Facebook page: www.facebook.com/jobseekersuccessmindset.


  1. John says:

    Yes good illustration. I think the negative mindset may something to do with a person's motivations and if they are overcome by exhaustion or depression of facing what looks like a tough employment market. Either way your article tips this helps with coping and forms a bridge for positive change.

  2. Cindy Sharpe says:

    Enjoyable opinion piece! I was fascinated by your analysis of these complex traits.

  3. ssgbOIF05-06 says:

    I agree with most of what has been said, but there may be other circumstances that have not been identified. There are many returning Veterans from OEF/OIF/OND that have an undiagnosed mTBI (Mild Traumatic Brain Injury). I have spoken to many Vets that have gone back to their old jobs and can not function the way they did before. They are confused and anxious about this. It is also SO important for these Vets to contact others that may be able to help them, such as a Vet Center, an organization that deals with head injuries, a physician, a neurologist, etc. It is hard to return to work and/or school when you face other issues such as this. This is happening all around us and we need to be aware of it. I am a returning Vet from OIF and sustained a moderate TBI. I was unable to return to my old position, but am now working part time for the Brain Injury Alliance of Kentucky. My new mission is to help identify those that have fallen through the cracks, and believe me, there are many. Thank you for the opportunity to hopefully shed some light on why many can not have a "positive mindset."