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Switching mindsets

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

We read so many examples in these pages about lack of motivation. Depression, stress, worthlessness and so on, all reasons that we feel lethargic, in a rut, motionless.

I dont know where this came from, my technique of "reverse switching" as I call it, but I guess its my drive for the end result.

Example. I've purchased paint and brushes to paint our house. I'm watching TV. its ideal weather but I cant be bothered starting the paint project. As soon as I say to myself "I cant be bothered painting today"...I immediately do the opposite!! I rise off the chair and withing 4-5 minutes I have paint on a wall.

Once that occurs, I feel better than sitting on the chair so the mental effort of doing something I dont want to do only lasts 4 minutes. The enjoyment is direct progress (paint on the wall) followed by a great feeling a wall is completed.

However if I drove myself to paint one coat on the whole house with a second coat needed, it would be too long before I'd feel any sense of achievement. Hence two coats on one wall first. Stand back and admire. By the time one coat on one wall is finished a second coat can be applied.

You can see why mentally it becomes a snowball effect.

Once finished I pack the paint away. Then a while later I noticed a small wooden fence hasnt been painted..."oh, I forgot that...I'll do it another time"...bang! Its a negative thought, I'll do it now! The switch effect is used automatically again. Simply not allowing my own mindset of the "easy road" to take hold.

Professional athletes do this. A swimmer swims 100 laps of a pool, as he/she is on that last lap, switch effect means "I'll do an extra 10 laps now".

There is one proviso, one potential problem, those extra baby steps can over extend you, cause more tiredness and be counter productive. Take breaks.

On building sites for example you'll never have tradespersons work all day without breaks. The reason is they would work less effectively with less quantity and quality of work at the end of the day.

So try the switch effect, a total u-turn with tasks. Take rest periods always aware of using the switch effect regularly.

The "switch effect"isnt easy, its a learned thing...a thing that shines with habit. So expect yourself to be challenged...by yourself!. But it can be an great addition to the positive snowball you'll develop that can change your life around.

Let me know if you do this already or if you have tried it.

Tony WK

42 Replies 42

Hi all

I switched mindset today.

We had an incident in our street. The people across from us hired a removal truck and it brought down a power line. While they rang the power company I self appointed me to stop traffic.

An old lady arrived driving a car and questioned my authority to stop traffic. My normal reaction would be to get angry but this time I said to myself “switch Tony switch”. I then took myself to a calm logical and soft spoken person explaining that until emergency worker came, “the end of that cable is live and dangerous, even children nearby had to be sent home for safety...you wouldn’t like anyone electrocuted should you”?

She completely changed her attitude and did s I-turn.

Switching mindsets does work. Eventually you’ll ask yourself automatically to switch especially when anger is your natural reaction



My problem is being in the mind set where you think about changing your mind set. If one is too angry or sad or overwhelmed it is hard to have presence of mind to change.

So what can we do to prepare to change before hand. if like you were, there is an awareness of your tendency to react with anger when someone questions your authority, you had something to say to her.

I tend to get upset when a loved one tells me how to do a simple task with a child. I feel annpoyed as I brought up several children and now they tell me what to do, I try and take a deep breath and smile and do what they asked. I find if I talk I will be sarcastic so I just do what I am told.

Dear Quirky

I feel I know you so well, we’ve been here for several years and both have bipolar.

Correct me if I’m wrong but you seem to lack confidence and assertiveness. I’m wondering if that is obvious to others? If it is, then the possibility is there for others to use you as a punching bag.

My relationship with my sister is a good example. I am wary of her defensiveness and her mine. That makes both of us overuse tact when making constructive criticism. Such fear ensures we don’t breach boundaries.

If others don’t have that fear as they know you’ll just “do as you’re told” there is your problem.

How to counter this attitude of which they give? Ask them questions. Eg

“why do you question my ability to care for a baby when I’ve raised my children”?

“Do you have justification for not trusting me”?


“Where did you get the idea I’m not capable to do the task”?

The benefits of asking questions is-

  • You can backpedal by saying “I’m only asking a question”
  • You cause them to justify there actions
  • They will become more wary of you and be more cautious
  • You will balance the tables

The other thing you can do is remove services. If you are called upon to look after a child you can(purely for personal protection) encourage visits but say “I’m no longer going to mind the children, I’m sure you know why...but I love to see them”

That approach is more extreme but it tells the parent that if you lack confidence and they pick on your abilities, then you are reducing your hurt level.

As for where do you get the ability to switch mindsets, I didn’t realise the difficulty other would have doing this. I’d like to say however that originally I started doing this when I had depressive episodes when I’d lie in the sofa thinking about going for a walk but not wanting to as the wind was cold. Then I’d physically get up and walk out the door for my walk. Switching mindsets doesn’t need in most cases, mental input- just physically doing what your mind is saying don’t do.

Perhaps with my people training background (Warder, ranger etc) that means I can extend the concept to what I did today.

I have written on similar topics


The benefit of the doubt

That thread essentially highlights that our judgements on people, their responses might be misread. This is why I made a switch today- to try a second time to convey the danger!

What do you think?