How the Victim Mentality Can Stop Innovation
There is a story about two young twin brothers who walked into a barn with their grandfather. One boy complained about the foul-smelling manure and ran out of the barn while complaining about getting manure on his shoes. The other boy raced through the barn with excitement and yelled to his grandfather, “With all this manure, there must be a pony somewhere!”
The first boy saw himself as a Victim of the manure and its smell. The second boy saw the manure and linked it to greater possibilities. Which boy do you identify with?
Do you complain about life’s bumps, or do you see challenging issues as an opportunity to innovate and create new possibilities?
Tough times can magnify your view of situations. If you see difficult issues through the lens of the Victim mentality you might say: “The budget has been slashed so there’s no way we can accomplish our goals” or “I’m at the mercy of my bad boss” or “Voters won’t approve of that idea.”
Victim mentality sucks the life out of innovative energy. People with Victim-like thinking can be addicted to the drama and complaining rather than seeing the possibility of innovation and new approaches.
The Creator/innovator, on the other hand, clarifies what they want and goes after that outcome step-by-step. Not brought down by the situation, they ask themselves, “What do I want to focus on despite this challenge in front of me?”
The fundamental difference between the Victim mindset and the Creator/innovator mindset is the quality of attention. When in the Victim orientation, the focus is on what you don’t want.
With a Creator mindset, the focus is on what you do want, rather than focusing on setbacks or obstacles. Often it is two steps forward and one step back. But, with each step, the Creator trusts they are getting closer to and clearer about what they want.
It is no secret that now, more than ever, people feel victimized by circumstances such as toxic politics, not having enough time or money, their poor work environment, an illness, or bad childhood. Despite these challenges, the Creator/innovator mindset sees mistakes, setbacks, or even failures as an opportunity to grow, and trusts in the cycle of breakdown to breakthrough.
Staying in the Creator/innovator mindset is not always easy, and it goes against our human tendency to see problems first. It takes commitment and desire to remember that your true essence is as a Creator/innovator. People who forget their true essence as a Creator are at risk of taking on Victim thinking.
The only thing Victim thinking creates is more misery for their co-workers, family members, and themselves and that’s how a Victim mindset can stop innovation!
Because Victim thinking can be very subtle and unconscious, we encourage you to notice your thoughts and feelings when they arise. As you take notice, do you think about what’s wrong more than what you want to create? If so, you are at risk of falling into the Victim mentality.
When you do, learn to shift your perspective by asking:
- What’s the outcome I want here despite the current reality?
- What conditions can I create that foster a Creator/innovator mindset?
The conversation now has an opportunity to shift from complaints and problems to a more inspiring destination. When you begin to do this, others will ask you to join their conversation and share your knack for turning problems into opportunities.
This is a powerful shift, but no one can do it for you. The fact is, only you can notice the lens in which you relate to the world. It’s your choice.
Do you see a barn full of manure or do you look for the pony?