Adopting a ‘don’t let the old man in’ mindset

“Cultivating the right mindset is the bedrock that will enable you to develop any other skill,” wrote Jonny Kowal at Common Purpose.

Mindset is critical because it influences what you learn, when you learn and how you learn, he explained.

For seasoned citizens, mindset can be a blessing and a curse. We can do just about anything we set our minds on doing, or we can sulk in defeat by claiming, “I’m too old to ______ (insert your favorite word: try, do, learn, plan or achieve) something like that.”

One of my better friends showed me how adopting a positive mindset worked for him. He steadfastly refused to “let the old man in.” Today, he’s 71 years old and still biking, hiking, skiing, kayaking or traveling somewhere every day. He can whiz by me in just about any activity — and I’m a decade younger.

Our mindset imposes self-limiting beliefs that stifle us, impacting behavior, decisions and actions, and therefore our self-improvement and trajectories in life, Jonny wrote.

Mindset is not an all-encompassing attitude. It can be very specific. He said all of us have within us a:

  • Growth mindset
  • Courageous mindset
  • Intentional mindset
  • Agile mindset
  • Problem-solving mindset
  • Innovator’s mindset
  • Entrepreneurial mindset
  • Beginner’s mindset

I would add creative, optimistic, faith-filled, overcoming, open, resilient, generous and thoughtful to that list. Of course, people can also have defeatist, selfish, grumpy and infirm mindsets. The choice is yours.

In Philippians 4:8, apostle Paul encourages us to adjust our mindset in this way:

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”

It’s hard to be negative, feel old or incapable if you think those thoughts.

I learned today that a young mother of two who attended my church and served as a singer passed away after battling cancer for quite some time. Her mindset was incredible. Despite knowing the end was near, she mustered up the courage and strength to take part in a special worship service just a few weeks ago.

She had every reason to be gloomy, worried, angry and fearful. Yet, many people will remember her last days on earth for her joyful courage and her unquenchable faith.

Perceive a need

“The real trigger for mindset work is actually in perceiving a genuine need, the prevailing theory of curiosity putting its genesis down to identifying gaps in your knowledge, skills or abilities,” Jonny wrote.

That sounds like identifying a purpose to me.

“However, all too often we wait for things to go wrong before taking a deeper look at ourselves,” he explained. “Not until we’re experiencing (a problem) or stifling levels of anxiety in general, do we take a moment to really consider deeper parts of ourselves.

“Let’s not wait until things get to that. Our mindset is at the root of almost everything we do and don’t do, yet it’s elusive,” he added. “So acknowledge and overcome the subtle nature of mindsets by asking yourself two questions to rekindle or begin your mindset work today: 

  • How can I work on my mindset? 
  • Where should I block out time in my calendar for it?  

Jonny’s full story is available at

Need some help in changing your mindset?  John Stange, a good friend of mine from Pennsylvania, authored a wonderful devotional book titled “Dwell on These Things: A Thirty-One-Day Challenge to Talk to Yourself Like God Talks to You.

“Countless messages enter our hearts and minds each day,” he explained. “Some of these messages are true and helpful. Others are hurtful, destructive, and out of line with the message God wants us to understand and embrace.

“What messages are you choosing to believe and repeat to yourself? When you first saw your reflection in the mirror this morning, what did your internal conversation sound like? Did you speak a message of hope to your heart or a diatribe of defeat?” he asked. 

In addition to the devotional book, John also created a series of motivational cards you can keep on your desk, dresser or bathroom. Select one at random and dwell on the message that day.

Note: If you buy the book or cards from Amazon by using one of the above links, Forward From 50 might earn a small commission.