Skip to content →

Mindset Mastery – The Hustler, The General and The Sage

Life continues to ebb and flow producing a rhythm of its own to which all of us are forced to dance. No matter how powerful we are, we all experience a series of highs, a bunch of lows and a large number of average routine days as a part of life.

We learn to deal with the highs pretty easily. But the hard part is to learn how to deal with the lows and most importantly the dull, everyday existence we all have to face . I for one, find it extremely difficult to deal with a routine existence where I have nothing exciting to look forward to.

Despite this, I firmly believe that the ones who truly live are the ones who can face this boredom, routine and drudgery with grace and a zen-like attitude. After putting in a lot of thought, I could come up with three different mindsets which if used properly can be of immense help to anyone battling challenging circumstances.

The Anatomy of a Mindset

A mindset is a way of approaching things. Adopting a mindset involves tuning yourself to certain thoughts, assumptions and belief systems. Human minds are so powerful that once you adopt a mindset and believe in its power, you can shape your destiny and unlock your potential. This is where Mindset mastery comes into play.

One caveat though – How you adopt a particular mindset is completely subjective and based on your personality. There is no point in me trying to write a ‘How to’ guide for adopting a mindset to suit each situation. What makes much more sense is to describe the characteristics of these mindsets and the beliefs through which they approach life.

The following gives you the tools and structure for developing these mindsets. The content and direction is all yours!

A Hustler’s Mindset

I had written extensively about the hustler mentality in the post titled:  Lessons from the Dark Arts -II – The Hustler . I strongly recommend you read it if you haven’t done so already.

A hustler mainly operates through these principles:

a) Embrace Reality  – Don’t let your conditioning affect your lens of the world

b) Always Keep Hustling – Like the proverbial swan, appear calm above the waters but keep paddling furiously underneath to find out opportunities

c) Supreme Confidence – No matter what you’re doing, do it with the confidence of an expert -Fake it till you make it.

The hustler’s mindset is one of restless energy, supreme confidence and extreme resourcefulness. This is a great mindset to adopt if you are stuck in a rut and need to chart your escape plan. A hustler’s mindset allows you to look for the not-so-obvious ways of dealing with situations which are tricky and appear to have you in a corner.

A General’s Mindset

A great general has been defined as one who can balance both strategy and tactics. This is especially needed when you have important goals to accomplish in a limited time-frame and are facing huge obstacles in your way. A General’s mindset gives you the power to tap into a structured thinking which will help you through these type of situations.

For tapping into this mindset you need to use your power of imagination. Think about it this way: If you were a general of a large army with specific objectives to be achieved, how would you approach it?

Understand the Enemy – Understanding the enemy in your case might be to understand the main obstacle which is preventing you from achieving your goals. This would involve identifying the obstacle, understanding the possibilities within your power to remove it and knowing how much time you need to give yourself.

Envision the strategy – Identify the larger goal and direction you wish to achieve through your approach. Make sure the strategy is grand and bold to inspire you to keep the momentum going.

Chalk out tactical plans  – This would be negotiating the short-term goals depending upon your current resources and capabilities. The tactics will always vary based on the external conditions and the time you have to react to them.

This mindset is a powerful one because it lets you attack any problem with precision and a lack of fear. Most importantly this mindset ensures you don’t fall trap to the victim mentality and helps you look at your problems objectively. Having an objective outlook will empower you to lead and excel even in the most trying circumstances.

A Sage’s Mindset

A sage’s mindset is perhaps the most difficult to master yet is also the most important one. The ability to stay calm regardless of external circumstances is a hard one to develop. But it’s possible and anyone looking at mastering life should pursue it with optimism and determination.

Whenever I feel the need to embrace this mindset, I refer to this Zen story which is one of my all-time favorites:

A beautiful girl in the village was pregnant. Her angry parents demanded to know who was the father. At first resistant to confess, the anxious and embarrassed girl finally pointed to Hakuin, the Zen master whom everyone previously revered for living such a pure life. When the outraged parents confronted Hakuin with their daughter’s accusation, he simply replied “Is that so?”

When the child was born, the parents brought it to the Hakuin, who now was viewed as a pariah by the whole village. They demanded that he take care of the child since it was his responsibility. “Is that so?” Hakuin said calmly as he accepted the child.

For many months he took very good care of the child until the daughter could no longer withstand the lie she had told. She confessed that the real father was a young man in the village whom she had tried to protect. The parents immediately went to Hakuin to see if he would return the baby. With profuse apologies they explained what had happened. “Is that so?” Hakuin said as he handed them the child.

A person who manages to get close to this mindset is a winner when it comes to life. Equanimity, a clear outlook and absolute fearlessness mark the sage who is detached and has nothing to lose in this illusory game of life.

There. I have given you the framework. Whether to hustle, lead or calmly watch is a choice you will have to make depending upon your situation. Let me know it goes.


Published in Life-Hacks Philosophy Self-Development Uncategorized


  1. Sunil Deepak Sunil Deepak

    I wonder about Hakuin’s calmness when the baby cried on and on for no reason or when s/he did not let him sleep or when Hakuin found that there was no milk at home for the baby ..

    • Haha Dr. Sunil 😀 I am sure the zen monk would have never lost his composure – milk or no milk!

  2. Archana Kapoor Archana Kapoor

    Very well written Nikshep! I loved the topic and the way you let it flow! Kudos 🙂

    • Thank you Archana! 🙂 this was something I needed to write. It was stuck in my head for a long time!

  3. Be Rohanlicious (@Rohanlicious) Be Rohanlicious (@Rohanlicious)

    Hi Niks,

    I think I can hustle or just watch calmly. You have amazingly described all the three mindsets. The principles you have mentioned under them are serving as the icing on the cake. And of course the story you used to explain the third mindset that is ‘A Sage’s Mindset’ is unbelievable.

    Beautiful post as always. I found this was something new than the usual posts of yours. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

    ~ Rohan.

    • Hey Rohan,

      Sorry for the late reply. Thank you for those kind words 🙂 I really hope I can improve the post frequency hehe 🙂

Share your thoughts... Cancel reply