All in the head

Business | Wed 8 Apr | Author – Business & Finance

Declan Loy outlines three tenets of a successful business mindset.

The human brain is a marvellous thing. We’re still learning much about how it works and the potential to use it better. Recent studies have revealed that we experience an astonishing 65,000 thoughts per day. More shocking is the fact that approximately 95% of these are recurring thoughts and the vast majority take place in our unconscious mind.

Countless studies across the globe are looking to the impact on everything from medicine and exercise to diet and stress. Research being carried out at Yale shows that mindset can improve longevity, Carol Dwak’s research demonstrates that if we can shift our mindsets about intelligence and talent it can alter our academic, sporting and professional success.

But what does this have to do with business? Quite a lot actually.

There is a reason why some people are far more successful than others and that reason, more often than not is their mindset. People who succeed have a winning, go-forward mindset. While the rest have a fixed and sometimes even negative mindset, which casts doubts, creates fear and ultimately stops them from achieving their goals. In short a positive mindset lays the foundation for success. A negative mindset breeds failure.

The reality is that our mindset is predominantly dictated by our subconscious mind – where all our learnings, beliefs, habits and values are stored – and we very rarely question or consciously attempt to influence it. If we want to create a positive, go-forward mindset then we must actively begin influencing our subconscious mind and re-programme those 60,000 or so subconscious thoughts.

The root to establishing a winning, more successful mindset comes down to our physical, emotional and mental state.

Below are the three tenets of consciously improving your state to create a successful mindset:


Developing a clear, unwavering vision of who you want to be, how successful you’d like to be and when you want to achieve is essential to creating a winning mindset. Gaining clarity in these areas makes the road to success far easier. You can see the steps you need to take to get there.

Many people often make the mistake of setting goals without a clear vision. The result is that they soon become disillusioned because they haven’t fully envisioned what their goals are working towards. Working with a business coach can be invaluable in helping you define your vision.

Equally, surround yourself with successful people. The old cliché ‘you are the sum of the five people closest to you’ stands true. You pick up traits of the people around you and begin adjusting and altering your beliefs and perceptions based on those who influence you. So make sure you join networking groups and societies to help you create a clearer vision of yourself and your business.


It might sound farfetched but changing your posture can cause astounding changes in your physical and mental wellbeing. Did you know that your posture impacts on your hormone levels, mood and even the opinions you make subconsciously. One study carried out Ohio State University found that when participants in the study nodded in agreements or shook their heads to signal disagreement, these actions affected their opinions without them realizing. The same study also showed that when participants hugged themselves, they were sometimes able to reduce their physical pain.

In terms of business your posture and body language have a huge effect. Powerful body language affects our decision-making subconsciously, making us more confident and less risk averse. Because you feel more confident, your mindset is moved from a state of fear and apprehension to a more of a driven state that is focused on the positive outcomes.

In a study carried out by researchers from Columbia and Harvard Universities the risk appetite of participants in either expansive, powerful poses, or constricted poses was measured. It found that those in the powerful poses not only felt more powerful and in control, but were 45% more likely to take a risky bet.


The words and language we use in both our internal and external dialogues have a profound affect on our mindsets. Research carried out by Kieth Chen of Yale Business School suggests that the way we speak – and even the language in which we speak – impact on how we invest and prepare for the future.

In much the same way as some people choose to see the glass as half empty, while others opt to look at it as half full. Deciding to speak negatively or positively can make the difference between success and failure.

To create a more successful mindset you must start speaking to yourself in a more positive manner. Cut out negative language such as ‘I can’t’, ‘I won’t’ and ‘I don’t’ and start telling yourself how ‘you WILL’, ‘you CAN’ and ‘you HAVE’.

Declan LoyDeclan Loy is co-founder of the i-Club, an organisation that brings likeminded CEOs, executives and entrepreneurs together, providing advice and support, to achieve the highest levels of success in their personal and business lives.