In becoming familiar with The Arbinger Institute, you’ll likely come across a lot of “in the box” and “out of the box”, “inward mindset” and “outward mindset” phraseology. The language first debuted in Leadership and Self-Deception, then The Anatomy of Peace. We took it to a whole new level with our latest book, The Outward Mindset, which debuted in June of 2016.
Arbinger’s work teaches that almost any behavior can be done in two ways—with an inward mindset or an outward mindset. If I’m functioning (or dysfunctioning) from an inward mindset, I’m self-focused and am likely enacting behaviors that preserve and advance myself. I have little to no concern for those around me and what they’re seeking to accomplish. With an outward mindset, however, I’m alive to the needs, challenges and objectives of others. They matter to me like I matter to me.
From an inward mindset, I see my world as separate from others. My focus, whether in certain aspects of my life, or throughout my life, is intensely about me. Others are wrong, and solutions to conflicts and tension lie with them changing.
From an outward mindset, I know that regardless of my relationship with someone, I am connected to them because we have something in common—we are both human beings with hopes and desires and upsets and triumphs. In this frame of mind, I know that progress and breakthroughs come from connection, rather than attempted disconnection. I think about how I can be helpful to others, and I’m able to see how I have been wrong in situations.
We all need reminders—while our mindsets can shift in any given scenario, it’s helpful to consistently keep an eye on the way we’re seeing and interacting with the world. Now, there’s a guide to help accomplish exactly that.