Changing My Mindset Changed My Life

changing my mindset

“Sometimes success is due less to ability than to zeal” – Charles Buxton

Aikido changed my life.

When I first started, I was hesitant and scared. I had trained in martial arts before, but I’d always had a mental block that held me back from giving it everything I had. I constantly looked to my trainer (or Sensei) for approval. I thought and sometimes asked:

  • Is this okay?
  • Am I doing this right?
  • Should I change something?

I was constantly second-guessing myself. But one day, everything changed. And my Sensei noticed. He asked: “What happened? You’ve made great progress.” Remember, I live in Finland, where a nod of the head is considered high praise.

What Changed?

I changed my mindset.

I went from looking for approval to taking responsibility for what I did. I reclaimed my power. No longer did I worry about failing, I committed fully into each exercise. There was no hesitation, just action. And it showed.

I used more power in each technique. I let go of all the what ifs and focused on doing what I could do. I didn’t try to execute each technique perfectly. Instead I did my best and focused on getting the end result. And if I needed to adjust something, I would get feedback, but until then, I was doing things in the way I understood them.

How Did the Change in Mindset Happen?

It happened because I became sick of seeking permission.

It takes a lot of energy to keep trying to figure out what someone else wants. I realized that keeping this up wouldn’t work. I could constantly ask my Sensei whether or not I was doing things right, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. Sooner or later, I had to commit to what I was doing. The only way was to do things my way. If I made mistakes, I would own those mistakes, and learn from them. When I made the mindset change, I discovered that I had been holding myself back for all this time.

There was no need for approval. There was no need for permission. And above all, there was no need to be afraid to fully commit to each exercise.

Why This Mindset Change is Crucial

This is not just about me improving at Aikido.

I’ve since stopped training in Aikido, but the mindset shift has stayed with me ever since. And it has helped me build an online business around my passion. It has helped me in tough times, where I’ve run into trouble, confusion and uncertainty. I fully commit to whatever I’m doing now. Failure is okay, but half-heartedness is not. I either do it, or I don’t.

Now, I’m not perfect. There are times when I don’t commit. When I notice this, I ask myself if I really want what I’m doing. Am I ready to commit? If not, I step out.

What’s Holding You Back?

Take a look at your own life.

Where are you avoiding full commitment because you’re afraid?

How could you make the shift to committing fully?

And if you’re not willing to do that, could you drop that task, goal or activity?

We often put up safety-mechanisms to protect us from failure, because if we don’t give something our best, we have an excuse.We haven’t really failed because we didn’t put everything into it, right? Wrong. If you don’t commit, you’ve failed before you’ve even started. So commit, and boldly go after what you truly want.

24 thoughts on “Changing My Mindset Changed My Life”

  1. “There was no need for approval. There was no need for permission. And above all, there was no need to be afraid to fully commit to each exercise.”

    Thank you for this. Very nice article. I printed it out so that I can refer back to it.

    Dan @

  2. First of all, finding yourself a new mindset that will positively help you is hard. Because, mindset, for the word itself, is a neutral. You can have a positive or negative mindset. But no matter however side it takes, it changes your life.

    I had this mindset that I can do everything. I use to think I’m the best so I never proved it. I held my head high and people flattered me with things I thought I was good at. Eventually, it all broke down. Realization happened.

    I was simply trying to fulfill my ego. But, once I had this change in my mindset, I figured out the simplicity of happiness I gained even when I had no appreciation coming. If anyone would flatter, I’d just ignore them out.

    I’ve been reading wake up cloud for a while and I just know how wonderful you’re feeling right now. Thanks for the post.

    1. Thanks Jaky.

      It’s funny how as we live life, we just keep on peeling away the layers and going deeper into ourselves. And as we do that, we understand more about everyone else.

      Fascinating stuff.

      1. Yeah, sometimes life literally feel like a learning experience rather than an adventure. Wonder if both attributions are eventually one and the same :)

  3. Just as I was emailing a totally unrelated person on documenting my life for a local paper and used the word mis “adventure” I see the word above … good angle.

  4. Hello Henri,
    Change is refreshing in itself. Being prepared to open your mind to other alternatives, perceptions etc, allows for fresh opportunities to come into your Life…and it’s not that hard to do…just give yourself permission to do so. Thankyou for this.
    be good to yourself

    1. Agreed. Giving yourself permission is key.

      It’s so easy to look for others to tell you that what you want to do is okay. But when you reclaim your power, good things happen.

  5. “If you don’t like something….change it. If you can’t change it….change the way you think about it”

    Great article, thank you.

  6. Nice post Henri, it really resonates with me on two levels: Aikido was also very influencial in my life too. I started practicing about 20 years ago and trained for about 6 years before moving over to Aiki Jutsu, which I’ve been practicing ever since. Secondly, I created a 90 Day Home Study Program called: ‘Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life’ – so I couldn’t agree more with your post. Seeking permission leads us down other people’s path rather than our own. A good teacher helps us down our own chosen path. :)

  7. Love this. Seeking permission is exhausting. I hope to make the shift myself soon and to be able to let go of what everyone else thinks and their approval.

    1. Hi Julia,

      It’s a work in progress that a lot of us (including me) are doing. Some of us are just better at hiding our worries about others’ opinions than others. It takes courage and work to be free, but you can totally do it!

      Best Wishes,

  8. When I read the first line of your article, I thought I wrote it myself, then I kept reading and I continued to feel like I wrote it myself.

    Aikido has probably been the biggest influence in my life as regard to attitude. I am still benefiting from the learning 20 years later, and 10 years after I stopped practising it. And I did experience too the breakthrough moment when finally struggle in aikido was replaced by confidence and competence.

    You are absolutely right, once I stopped asking myself whether my technique was correct, the technique improved simply by the fact that I was doing it.

    Get up and do it, it’s the only secret one needs to know.

    Thanks for the post!

    1. Funny coincidence, huh? :)

      Martial arts + the right teacher at the right moment can do wonders. But then again, that’s how life works.

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your story, Rita.

  9. Like others replying here, I too practised Aikido in my youth. I was privileged to study under the son of the founder at the Aikikai World Headquarters in Shinjuku, Tokyo, but still didn’t even get to 1st dan! lol One thing that has stayed with me even 30 years later is the exercise of laughing heartily before begining to learn the new moves. It was a shinto priest who taught us to do that, and I think it has so much meaning on so many levels, including recognising the importance of being able to laugh at oneself. But I guess the reason I never got far in the art is because I didn’t have a powerful enough reason to want to continue. When I am setting a goal now I always write down as many reasons as I can why I want to achieve it. And if they are not powerful enough I look for another goal. Which links in to your point, Henri, about making sure you are ready to commit before starting something. An interesting article.

  10. Hello Henri,

    Thats a lovely and motivating article. I am tired of pleasing people around me and yes i do have the scared in me if i a doing things right.

    Thanks for the article.

  11. glad I came across this article. I can so relate to this..
    But changing the mindset…it is alot easier said than done.
    thank you for this brilliant post.
    lots of love,

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *