Is It Possible to Change Your Mindset?
Yes, I absolutely believe it is. Let me take you back to 5590, Arnold Palmer Drive, Willow Key Apartments, next to Universal Studio in Orlando, Florida. It was 10.pm on October 13, 2006. It was drizzling.
I got out of my car and headed toward my friend’s apartment. Just before I got to the staircase, I thought- hmmm, I should take my laptop. So I went back to my trunk. As I bent over and grabbed my laptop bag, I heard footsteps. I looked up. OMG!
Two black kids came rushing at me from my left and right. One of them said, Get down, down!! The other pointed a pistol so close to my head. Without hesitation, I got down. Fear-stricken, I said, “I give you my wallet, I give you my wallet.”
They took it quietly, without saying, “Thank you,” as though they implied, “Well, we did not even ask you for that, but we ‘ll take it.” It was the first time someone ever took something so important from me without saying thanks and I did not complain.
As you can tell, I was frantic. I was also very short sighted. I thought all they wanted was money, so I said, “Please take all the money but return my driver ‘s license.” They said nothing! With the terror of their gun, they did not even need to say anything.
Staring at the pistole, I was still speechless and panic-stricken as they examined the wallet ‘s contents. At that point, one of the boys seized my car keys, they jumped into my car and started backing out. To avoid getting hit by the car, as I tried to step away. In doing that, I tripped over can and landing my big butt into a muddy pool of water.
They did not even wait for me to finish my backward fall. They backed out as fast as they could, crushing my laptop bag before I could get back on my feet with a wet, soggy and dripping pants. As they sped off, I mustered the courage to insult them in my native Africa dialect “Nyam-fuka!”
If they could hear me, I would have given them a piece of my mind. I would have told them, “Prodigal sons of Africa, if you ever come back, I will get someone to kick your back and make you drink from a waterfall.”
That incident changed my mindset toward my personal safety forever. Overnight, I went from, “cannot be bothered to bothering too much.” It awakened me from a switched-off to switched on. More importantly, it taught me to be open-minded about learning about safety, the telltale signs of things going wrong and what to do.
Now, am more willing to learn – a growing mindset. I ‘ve learned that you should never get out of your car, if you find anyone loitering around a car park. Whenever I find people loitering around car parks, I never get out. If it means driving off to another location, I do just that.
Besides the learning, that incident also left me paranoid. Because my attackers wore basketball hoods, each time I meet anyone with a hood, it terrifies me. Last week, I saw a Budhist Monk with a hood. I was so terrified, I started running and yelling into on-coming cars on Orchard Road.
OK, I you can sense I embellished for a little humor relief, but you get the point. That incident changed my mindset from closed to open. Let me say this, you don’t have to wait until you face a traumatic incident before you open your mindset to learning.
Mindset, I believe is like an umbrella. When it is closed, it does not shield you from the rain or UV light. When it is open, you assimilate new ideas and strategies that transform your life for the better. Think about that.
Voltaire who once said, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.” I believe thinking and learning are a big part of your mindset. Now, go put your thinking and mindset to good use, whatever you do.