When we evaluate our progress in any area of our life, we tend to judge our accomplishments and growth with a finite mindset. This is how our brains are programmed. They like to be able to measures and assess and score what we have done.
But this can leave us frustrated and overwhelmed when we look at the areas of our lives which are characterized by infinite progression, like our health and fitness, our personal development, our relationships, or our spirituality. In these areas we never reach a finish line.
In order to feel excited and motivated to keep making progress in any of these areas, we need to view our efforts and accomplishment with an infinite mindset.
In this episode of the podcast, I'll show you the power of viewing your life and your progress with an infinite mindset and how just shifting our thoughts in this way can keep us invested, motivated, and committed to our personal goals.
The Difference Between Finite and Infinite Games
In finite games, like football or basketball or Monopoly, the players are known, the rules are set and unchanging, and the endpoint is clear. The winners and losers are easily identified. You can see the score and know where you stand in comparison to others. You can measure your success.
On the other hand, In infinite games, there are no set, standard rules, the players come and go, there are no time limits and there are no clear ways to define the winners and the losers. And there are traditional scores or measures of success.
Many areas of our life are infinite games—our personal development and growth, our fitness and health, our relationships, our parenting, our spirituality—all of these things have no set endpoint or "winning moment" when everything is finished and completed.
Our brains love the finite games. They can easily see where they stand and how they compare to others and where they are winning. And our brains tend to apply these finite measures of success to the infinite areas of progression in our lives. But I think this leaves us vulnerable to becoming frustrated and overwhelmed as we try to make progress and grow I these areas.
Whenever we are evaluating our personal progress and our achievement in any of these "infinite games" in our life we need to adopt an infinite mindset rather than a finite one.
Questions to Help Us Adopt an Infinite Mindset
1. How do I feel when I think this?
Your feelings are the barometer to know if your thoughts are serving you. When we evaluate our progress in an infinite area of our lives with a finite mindset, we often have lots of negative emotion that does not lead to action. We can get overwhelmed or frustrated.
Notice how your thoughts are making you feel. If they are fueling the action you want, then keep thinking them. But if they aren't or if they are causing you to want to quit or give up, it's a signal that you need to adopt a different thought, a thought that will nurture an infinite mindset.
The key with an infinite mindset is to think thoughts that keep you in the game, that keep you trying and progressing and working towards the goals in your life. If you don't have the feeling that will create this kind of action to stay "in the game," you simply need to choose a different thought.
2. What if the accomplishment isn't why we're playing at all?
Think about the goals you have in your life. We think that by setting goals and working to achieve things in our lives, we will reach an accomplishment and that will feel amazing.
But what if the whole point of setting goals and doing the things, isn’t to arrive at the accomplishment at all, but what happens to us along the way.
Dan Sullivan calls this the “strategic byproduct.” He says that what happens to us as we stretch ourselves and go after a goal is much more important than ever reaching the goal.
It is so important to have goals. It is so important to visit "future us" and decide who we are, what we do, and what our future lives look like. After all, progression is why we came to earth. Development is a vital ingreadient of a well-lived life. Becoming is what we were meant to do and it’s the way to our greatest sources of joy.
But we need to view all of our goals and progress and development in terms of an infinite mindset and not judge ourselves and bully ourselves using a finite one, because this only limits our progress.
Who you become in the process of reaching for your goals is an infinite game with incredible rewards.