The human “default mindset” wired into our brain 100,000 years ago is fear and scarcity. It’s time for a mindset upgrade.
As much as we’d like to think that we twenty-first century homo sapiens have made huge evolutionary leaps forward over the past 100,000 years, it turns out that our genome and the wiring of our brains are basically unchanged.
The problem is that we’re all trying to operate with outdated software that doesn’t serve us anymore.
In today’s blog, the next in the series on my forthcoming book Scaling Abundance, I’ll discuss how our brains developed, and provide an overview of what I believe are the 7 key mindsets required for today’s exponential entrepreneurs and leaders.
Let’s dive in…
A Brief History of Our Brains
Back in the Paleolithic period, when our ancestors lived in caves or simple huts and were hunters and gatherers using basic stone tools, we lived in a world fraught with constant, ever-present danger.
It was an environment of true scarcity.
Back then, change was slow and the everyday activities of life—namely hunting, foraging, sleeping, screwing, tending to young, escaping predators, battling other tribes—didn’t’ change year to year, century to century, millennia to millennia, it was stagnant.
This is the world in which our brains evolved to survive and thrive.
The world back then was best described as local and linear.
Local because nothing affected you that wasn’t within a day’s walk, and linear because, well, nothing was changing.
As a result, we evolved a number of default mindsets, specifically ”fear & scarcity” coupled with “local & linear” thinking.
These mindsets, which helped our distant ancestors survive daily life, still remain with us as our underlying default software that we utilize in the jungles of Wall Street and social media.
Unfortunately, in our modern world, where change is constant these mindsets do us a vast disservice, placing us back on our heels, cowering in fear, when instead we should be pursuing our Moonshots.
The Mindsets that Matter Most
Today’s world requires updated cognitive software—a new set of 7 mindsets—to navigate the exponential world before us.
I can’t overstress the importance of actively choosing and shaping your mindset, rather than simply accepting your default software designed by evolution and reinforced by your parents, siblings, traumatic experiences, or the evening news.
There are many mindsets to consider implementing during our technological age.
The mindsets that I believe are of greatest value and are worthy of your consideration and adaptation are the following:
1. Curiosity Mindset
Albert Einstein famously said, “I have no special talent. I am only passionately curious.”
You could argue that curiosity is responsible for all major scientific and technological advances because it’s rooted in the desire to seek the truth and explore the unknown.
Having a Curiosity Mindset means always asking insightful questions and not taking things at face value.
I recently spoke with the brilliant writer Tim Urban, creator of the Wait But Why blog and one of the most curious people I’ve met. As Tim puts it, “When you begin with a curious mindset, you’re both more interested in what you’re learning, and you retain more of what you’ve learned.”
Because Google and AI chatbots like ChatGPT give us the power to know nearly anything we’re curious about, what matters today more than raw knowledge is the quality of the questions you ask.
2. Gratitude Mindset
When you’re grateful, you make the shift from expectation to appreciation, and from overwhelm to thankfulness.
Having a Gratitude Mindset is especially critical for entrepreneurs and leaders. For example, when you’re grateful, you’re more inspired, optimistic, and even healthier. This helps you attract the best talent and individuals into your orbit and onto your team.
Being grateful even makes you feel physically better, by causing your brain to release dopamine and serotonin: the two crucial neurotransmitters responsible for our emotions.
There’s only upside to gratitude!
3. Abundance Mindset
An Abundance Mindset is one that realizes that every year brings more and more opportunity, and that technology is a force converting what was once scarce into greater and greater abundance.
As we discussed earlier in this series, there are two dimensions to this mindset: abundance vs. scarcity and optimism vs. fear.
Nothing is more fundamental to an Abundance Mindset than how you see the world in these two dimensions.
Mastering this will bring you greater fulfillment and less stress.
It will change how and where you see opportunity.
If you’re an entrepreneur, an Abundance Mindset will inspire the best employees to work for you, while visionary brands, partners, and investors will want to work with you.
Just think of the sort of people whose company you enjoy.
Would you rather spend your day with someone who thinks the world is falling apart and sees danger around every corner?
Or with someone who believes that the passionate and determined human mind can overcome almost every challenge?
4. Exponential Mindset
Our brains evolved for a linear world: ~200,000 years ago, during early hominid evolution, the rate of change was super slow.
Not much changed from generation to generation, or millennium to millennium. As a result, our minds were built for a slow and linear world.
But today, we live in an exponential world where technologies from AI and biotech to robotics and VR are doubling every 18 to 24 months, thanks to Moore’s Law.
An Exponential Mindset allows you to understand that 10 doublings yield 1,000x improvement, while 30 doublings yield 1,000,000,000x gains.
With an Exponential Mindset, you can grasp that in the next decade (2023 through 2033) we will see as much progress as humanity experienced during the entire past century (1923 – 2023).
This mindset impacts what you study, what career you pursue, where you invest your time and money, and if you’re an entrepreneur, what venture you start.
5. Longevity Mindset
A Longevity Mindset is one in which you believe in the ability of science to extend your healthspan—perhaps by 10 or 20 years.
Further, it is a belief (and an understanding) that during these additional few decades, science isn’t standing still. Instead, health technologies are accelerating exponentially, continuing to make breakthroughs driven by AI, CRISPR, gene therapy, genome reading and editing—all of which are being focused on expanded healthspan and reversing disease.
A person with a Longevity Mindset believes that there is no real “upper-limit” to human aging, that keeping oneself in peak health will enable you to intercept the coming breakthroughs in gene therapies, epigenetic reprogramming, and stem cells.
A Longevity Mindset means becoming the “CEO of your own health” and recognizing that “Life is short, until you extend it.”
6. Moonshot Mindset
Most people and companies are happy with incremental progress. For example, 10% more revenue or salary, or a 10% reduction in costs.
The problem is if you’re only aiming for 10% progress, then 10% is likely what you’ll get.
So, why are so many people content with just 10%?
Because they’re stuck in a scarcity mindset.
On the other hand, the world’s most successful people pursue a 10x improvement—a 1,000% change.
That’s the spirit of a Moonshot Mindset: billion-person challenges, objectives that sound crazy until they are achieved and are then considered breakthroughs.
A Moonshot Mindset forces you to ask: What’s the 10x version of my product or company?
7. Purpose-Driven Mindset
Finally, and perhaps most important, is a Purpose-Driven Mindset which is best summed up by this quote:
“Find something you would die for and live for it.”
Doing something big and bold requires a TON of hard work. And it involves risks, restarts, and setbacks.
Sure, some people are lucky. But most success stories require getting back up one more time, facing your challenge, and starting again—over and over.
What many think of as an overnight success, is often a success after 11-years of hard work.
How do you fuel that persistence and choose what to focus on?
The answer is your Massive Transformative Purpose, or MTP.
Getting clarity on your MTP (for yourself, your family, or your company) can be one of the most critical first steps you take as a leader and entrepreneur.
So, what’s yours?
Mine is “To inspire and guide entrepreneurs to create a hopeful, compelling and abundant future for humanity.”
Why This Matters
These are the 7 Mindsets that I teach in my private mastermind Abundance360 and many of these are the subject of a future book, but for now I want to focus specifically on what it takes to transform a default mindset of fear and scarcity into one of optimism and abundance.
It’s hard to truly fathom how far humanity has come over the last 50, 100, 500+ years.
How extraordinary our lives are today compared to just one or two generations ago.
Today, we worry about our social media likes and followers, whether we should upgrade from an iPhone 14 to 15, and whether the latest diet fad is worth trying out.
For many (but not all), the battle for basic survival... for food, water and shelter is only something you occasionally see on TV.
As the author and spiritual leader Sadhguru said to me over dinner years ago:
“Technology has finally enabled man to take a vacation from survival.”
Like the proverbial frog placed in a slowly boiling pot of water, we haven’t really noticed that we’re in the midst of a roiling cauldron, that each of us today, powered by the technology at our fingertips, has more power than the kings and queens, robber barons, and presidents of decades past.
So, the question is: What will you do with such extraordinary power?
What MTP will you set for yourself, your family, your company?
What inspiring Moonshots will you pursue in order to uplift humanity and help create a more hopeful, compelling, and abundant world?
In our next blog in this series, we’ll share details on the three most important things you can do to guard and shape your mindset.