Finding the right mindset for change: a survival kit for disruptive times

We’re constantly confronted with all kinds of changes in both our personal and professional lives, and we need to be able to cope with it. Let this survival kit help you find the right mindset for it.

A mindset is a belief system that guides the way we handle situations. It’s how we figure out what’s going on and how to react to it.

Our mindsets help us to spot opportunities, but they can also trap us in self-defeating cycles.

(Photo by Ross Findon on Unsplash)

Carol Dweck, one of the world’s leading researchers in the field of motivation, writes that mindsets are responsible for our self-awareness, self-esteem, creativity, ability to face challenges and our resilience to setbacks. Your mindset is the view you have of your qualities and characteristics, where they come from, and whether they can change. There are two extreme ends on either side of the spectrum:

  • A fixed mindset comes from the belief you have qualities which you can no longer change. You are who you are. Characteristics such as intelligence, personality and creativity are fixed traits which can’t be developed.
  • A growth mindset comes from the belief your basic qualities are things you can cultivate through effort. Everybody can change and grow through practice and experience, knowing that human beings differ greatly in their talents, interests or temperaments.

Going from one extreme to the other is what I call the Change Mindset. It will take time and effort, but I believe we can all change our mindsets if we put our minds to it.

The first step is being aware of your own mindset. How do you look at the world? Are you committed to embracing a different mindset? Do you want to change your own reality? Mindsets are beliefs; beliefs about yourself and your most basic qualities.

"The first step is being aware of your own mindset. How do you look at the world?"

Think about your intelligence, your talents, your personality. Are these simply fixed traits, carved in stone, end of story? Or are they things you can cultivate throughout your life?

There are three pillars to developing a Change Mindset: Yes, And, Act. Suspend your judgement, learn to look at the world from different perspectives, and turn to action and experiment. Let’s get into them so you’ll understand what I’m talking about.


Suspending your judgement is the first ingredient for allowing change. Idea killers (expressions like ‘yes but…’, ‘we don’t have money’, ‘we already tried this’) are the main reason why change is so hard to accomplish. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t ever say ‘no’ anymore, but if the goal is to generate new ideas and give change a chance, we have to suspend our judgements sometimes.

"Suspending your judgement is the first ingredient for allowing change."

Combine this with dreaming big and we have the building blocks for a successful change process. A good question to explore when you look for your big dream is: ‘What am I willing to fight for?’


Switching perspectives is a great way to broaden your reality. The world can be experienced in many varieties and shapes. If you can flip your perspective from a problem to an opportunity, suddenly many ‘realities’ are possible. There are several creative methods which will help you generate hundreds of ideas in a short amount of time.


Suspending your judgement and switching perspectives to generate new ideas are two crucial ingredients of the Change Mindset. That being said, their value diminishes quickly if you don’t add the third ingredient: action. Your plan will always be different than reality. Start with taking small steps to see if you’re going in the right direction. Sometimes things will go wrong, so adapt a ‘fail fast, forward and often’ attitude to increase your success rate.

Have I piqued your interest? Don’t worry about a lack of concrete methods; this is just part 1 of this survival kit. Watch out for parts 2 and 3, in which I will tell you all about creativity tools, the three minute rule and banana actions!

Cyriel Kortleven

Cyriel Kortleven is a global speaker on the change mindset. He has worked for more than 20 years in the domain of creativity and innovation. He delivers keynotes all over the world and is the author of five books, including The Change Mindset. He is one of the 35 people who received a Global Speaking Fellow award.