Self Mastery Coaching

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The Power of a Mindset

One of the most powerful stories I’ve heard about mindset involved a company that many of us are quite familiar with; Eastman Kodak, the film maker as in photographs and not movies.

In the 20th century, Kodak had enjoyed incredible success in their market, both here in the states and abroad. As a company, they were the one to beat having earned approximately 80 to 85% of the film market — which is incredible! I was stunned to learn that today, they are only a fraction of what they were in the 20th century. One has to wonder, what happened?

As I read an account of their story, I learned some interesting facts. First of all, the Kodak management were well aware of the industry trend that film was being challenged by digital cameras. They knew and simply chose to disbelieve it could ever happen. Their mindset was fixed on their success, believing that nothing could damage them. Their collective fixed mind prevented them from anticipating change.

What was even more surprising to me was the fact that one of their own engineers had actually developed the very first digital camera. Admittedly, it was huge and a klonker, yes; but a digital device nonetheless. The management again dismissed it, again being misled by their own collective and outdated mindsets.

To explain what happened to them — and what happens to us, they had internal pictures about the way their industry was, and those internal pictures blinded them from seeing any other possible future. As a result, the Japanese and Korean film makers swooped in and literally took the market by storm. As they say, the rest is history.

The story behind the story is that our minds must remain open to possibilities and relevant learning. We cannot afford to have our minds firmly set in stone on what was because life is dynamic and continuously changing. When we fail to change by being open to possibilities and challenging our assumptions and internal images, we too can become irrelevant to our external environment. Effective learning requires an open mind and the humility to ask relevant questions and dialogue with others, even those who may not have enjoyed our successes. This is the only way we can ensure our mindset is not set in stone and leading us down a path of irrelevance.


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