The Power to Change Our Circumstances

The topic of the last blog was getting to the top through the employment of the contributive mindset.  Shortly after writing that, I received a separate message from a friend.  His message illustrates the power of the contributive mindset.

My friend wrote that one day as he was returning to the office, he felt full of anxiety. He struggled for several moments to try to identify the source, when he suddenly had a moment of clarity.  His anxiety was rooted not in the present, but the future.  He was going to be getting a new boss in a few months time who was known for being particularly hard working and demanding.  My friend was worried because he knew that she was particularly experienced and interested in the areas of activity for which he is responsible.

He describes his change in perspective.

“It occurred to me that, instead of focusing on my worry about proving myself to this new boss, I could flip the thing around and focus my thoughts on helping her. If I were her, what would I be worried about? What would help me feel more confident and help me succeed? In what ways could my team surprise and delight this new boss? As soon as I had this new focus, productive thoughts flowed into my brain, and I had ideas about how my team and I might work now to prepare for her arrival. Even if she never showed up, we would be better as a team for taking those steps.”

He reports that his shift from fear to purposive contribution had impacts. First, his anxiety disappeared. Second, he felt an “influx of energy.” Third, he felt an increased desire to improve. Fourth, he began to turn his new insights into specific plans. He closes by noting that he often allows himself to be determined by his circumstances, but when he orients to higher purpose, he changes, and he desires to change his circumstances.


  • Why is it natural to live in fear and anxiety?
  • Why are most people determined by their circumstances?
  • When do we become leaders who change the circumstances we are in? What happens to the people who have such leaders?
  • How could we use this passage to create a more positive organization?