Obligation Mindset vs. Opportunity Mindset
by Michael S. Tyrrell
May 11, 2021
Hey there Wholetonians!
What is it that separates the mediocre from the exceptional?
The thing that separates the good from the great and the mediocre from the exceptional, is a simple shift in our mindset.
A couple of years back I was listening to a motivational podcast. The speaker was talking about leaders who had gone on to be exceptional in their niche. One thing they all had in common was that they learned to shift their mindset from one that saw tasks as obligations to one that saw opportunity before them.
So let’s take a look at the difference between an Obligation mindset vs. an Opportunity mindset and how they both affect us.
The Obligation Mindset
Obligation is a mindset born of necessity.
An obligation mindset is when you’re looking at your work as something that you’re forced to do—you have to do it, not because you see the value in it, but because it’s a necessary evil to get from point A to point B.
When you produce out of obligation, there’s a sense of dread attached to everything you do, and often there’s little appreciation for what you’ve accomplished when you look back on your day.
“Sorry, I can’t meet you for lunch today because I have to go to work in an hour.”
“It’s Monday, I have to write my weekly blog post today.”
This kind of perspective can have a real damaging effect in our work and a negative effect in our lives in general. The obligation mindset is pure drudgery. When we have this mentality, our days are not met with excitement and expectation. We often do just enough to get by because our thinking is set to what we feel forced to do. And when we feel forced to do something, there’s no joy in it.
Very often, even if we are productive and get a lot done, we feel drained and exhausted because it’s coming from a negative motivation with built-in resistance from the get-go.
The Opportunity Mindset
This mental perspective is born of vision.
When you have an opportunity mindset, the tasks don’t change…only the way you look at them does.
You view your pending decisions and your “To Do List” as an opportunity for change. Your motivation comes from your vision of the outcome and the possibilities that lay before you as the result of your hard work. No one is forcing you to change or to act upon your decisions and you may find yourself moving with a sense of purpose and energy that was non-existent before.
Your thoughts will be more like, “I have an opportunity to create a legacy for my kids” or “I have the opportunity to impact someone’s life for the better through this.”
When you make this mental shift, you’ll gladly do whatever it takes because you know you’re positively impacting the lives of the people you love…and those you don’t even know yet!
It’s positive motivation that invigorates rather than drains.
You’ll always be presented with a choice in how to look at your situations, and only you can make that choice for yourself. But even once you’ve made that shift in your perspective, it’s easy to slip back and start working from that obligation mindset again, so do self-checks often.
Think about what you’re thinking about. When you start feeling like you’re not at one hundred percent or you start slipping into that drudgery cycle, make the decision to see the opportunities before you rather than the problems. Every moment is a chance to start again!
“Where there is no vision, the people perish…” ~ Proverbs 29:18
Keep your vision and your goals before you as fuel, and your mind on God and His word for guidance. Without this, you’ll likely slip back to where you’ve been rather than where you need to go.
Have a great week my friends. See you soon, but until then…
Michael S. Tyrrell
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