The 3 Most Disempowering Mindsets People Get Stuck In, According To Experts

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woman with diesempowered mindset

We encounter paths where we might get stuck, the wheels of our minds spinning in the mud. We try to step out and end up legs in the muck up to our knees. Frozen, unable to move forward while only looking back.

We find ourselves stuffed with mental baggage and tossed on the couch, where we remain unable to move. Our minds are a haze of negativity and lost hope. We wait for a hand to pull us out and set us back on course. Wait, stop!

You can change that mindset before you get stuck, or if you are already stuck, you can identify the issue and feel a sense of connection with so many of us who get disempowered by our thoughts.



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Here are the 3 most disempowering mindsets people get stuck in, according to YourTango experts:

1. A fixed mindset

In positive psychology, we view a fixed mindset as a stuck place that prevents you from seeing other possibilities. Those with a fixed mindset tend to believe that their talents, abilities, and intelligence are a given — fixed and unchangeable. People with this mindset think nothing can be done to improve, and they may become overwhelmed in the face of challenges.

This contrasts with a mindset that allows for growth, learning, and improvement over time. A growth mindset allows you to be open to reflection, to notice and celebrate even slight improvements, and to be better able to embrace life’s challenges.

Luckily, a growth mindset can be cultivated and nurtured over time. Try countering negative thoughts like “I’ll never be able to learn this” or “That’s just the way I am” with more empowering ones like “Mastering a new skill takes time” or “I have learned from this experience.”

—​ Lisa Newman, MAPP Health Coach, and Positive Psychology Practitioner

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2. A mindset defined by a past you cannot change

One of the most limiting mindsets is believing you're only defined by your past, and you can't change. Holding onto this belief makes it hard for individuals to see new opportunities, keeping them anchored to old stories and mistakes. You feel like you're constantly looking back while trying to move forward, and it's counterproductive and risky.

Recognizing each day presents new chances for growth and improvement is essential to overcome this mindset and make positive strides in life. 

Clare Waismann, M-RAS/ SUDCC II Waismann Method Rapid Detox Founder

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3. A mindset where the past is the future

Thinking the past is an indication of your future. When you do this, you rob yourself of the chance to experience life to your highest capacity. Most often unconscious habits of perspective and patterns of identity keep us locked in repeating a version of reality.

Becoming aware and truly embracing that we can choose anew each day to make different choices is powerfully liberating.

Cassady Cayne, Energy coach, author

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Feeling overwhelmed with life and its struggles feels like being trapped, and we all encounter these muddy spots on the road.

How we choose to navigate will tell us if we are getting stuck in the muck or taking time to process the complexity of life and all it offers.

Will Curtis is a writer and associate editor for YourTango. He's been featured on the Good Men Project and taught English abroad for ten years.