By Dr. Bobby J. Grossi

It’s January, the perfect month for making changes in your life. Many people make resolutions to improve their physical health and fitness. I challenge you to do something different: make a positive change by altering your mindset instead.

Mindset: What It Is and Why It Needs Changing

What is a mindset? It’s the set of habitual attitudes you hold that in turn dictate your behavior and the way you see the world. Because it’s habitual, you act on these attitudes or interpret someone else’s words or actions in a knee-jerk way without thinking. It’s only when you consciously examine your mindset that you realize what a huge impact it has on your life.

Why change your mindset? When you change your mindset for the better, you change your life instantly. While the things outside of you may not change, your interpretation of them and reaction to them do. The decisions you make will be guided by your new mindset, which can have a profound effect on the lives of those around you.

Selfish Versus Selfless Mindset

Here’s an example of how mindset impacts others so you can see what I mean.

I wanted to go to dental school so I made the decision to go without a lot of thought to the impact that decision would have on other people. My wife had to work the third shift in a cath lab, on call 24/7, while raising our son, and I barely saw her for the first two years of school. My son was woken up at 4:30 every morning to go to his grandparents’ house. My in-laws watched him every day until my wife could pick him up.

Do you see how one decision on my part had such a big effect on those around me? I didn’t realize at the time how little I considered others when deciding to go to dental school.

At the same time, my wife thought of everyone else but herself and decided to support my dream, working a night job so she could pay the bills and spend time with our son. My in-laws decided to support us by watching our son every day. They made their decisions from a mindset of putting others first, and without their selfless support, I could not have done what I did.

I’m now a dentist and a business owner. My wife no longer has to work and I’m able to spend quality time with my family. I provide jobs to many people which helps them support their families, I order supplies from vendors that helps keep their businesses going, and I help improve my patients’ lives both physically and mentally. I can now give generously to my community and my church, something that wasn’t possible before.

I can’t take sole credit for the impact I’m able to have on so many lives. Without the selfless mindset of my wife and her parents who supported me at a critical time, I never would have had this opportunity. To me, this is the strongest evidence of how much a selfless mindset can have an impact on the world.

A New Mindset for the New Year

Many people have a mindset that focuses on themselves first, others second (if at all). That’s certainly the mindset I had at the time I decided to go to dental school.

This is the wrong way ‘round. Instead, the mindset should be one of everyone else before me. This is a mindset that sets you up to live a life that’s selfless, not selfish. The kind of mindset my wife and her parents had when they decided to support me.

This new year, make it your goal to cultivate a new mindset, one that considers others first. Get into the mental habit of approaching the world in a selfless rather than a selfish manner. It takes time to develop the habit, but once you do, you’ll have the power to change lives for the better.