A Dual Mindset
The secret to success
By: Dr. Yashar Khosroshahi, ND, ACC
As a doctor and brain-based executive coach, I’m always asked the same question: “How can I be better?” There are many ways of asking that question,, and the details surrounding it are infinite. But the question ultimately remains the same. No one ever asks to meet with me because they feel they are exactly where they want to be. This is true for even some of the healthiest or most successful individuals — they too want to keep improving.
So why is it that this question is so challenging to answer? In my experience, it is because we struggle to hold onto a dual mindset: the ability to hold two or more beliefs that seem contradictory. There is an inherent tension that builds up within the brain, and the body, when we feel we are holding opposing views. It can feel somewhat destabilizing to think this way.
As a client once said to me while working on improving her relationships with her colleagues, “Do I stand my ground or just give in? Do I just tell them how it has to be around here, or let them have their way? I am trying to do both, but it feels like I’m developing multiple personalities!” The truth is she doesn’t have multiple personalities. She was going through the inherent struggle that we all go through when we are learning how to identify and honour the overlap between two seemingly disparate concepts. She ultimately had to understand the balance between those two choices. Essentially it comes down to knowing your core principles, or your non-negotiables, and then letting the rest take shape with the input of others and the environment. Holding a dual mindset is about preparation and careful deliberation as much as it’s about surrender and having appreciation for what is present, now!
This concept is captured beautifully by progressive thinker Jason Silva in his video “The Age Of Wellness and the Art of Planned Surrender”:
Silva outlines a dual mindset as, “it’s not one without the other… Surrender without planning is just as oppressive and ultimately damaging as spending all your time deliberating, all your time planning, all your time thinking, and very little doing.” He goes on to outline the promise of a dual mindset as, “Perfection is about control and it’s about letting go. It’s about tension and it’s about release.”
The secret to success is, in my experience, mastering a dual mindset. It is a powerful and effective way to manage challenges, relationships, and yourself.
Next time you are faced with a challenge and you feel like you are being “split in two”, ask yourself:
- What are my non-negotiables, and what can I let go of?
- Can I name 3 (or more) similarities between myself and my object of challenge?
- How can I, or this project, grow if I’ve prepared as best as I can, and then let things go?
Let a dual mindset help you do better, by thinking better.