Niki Contreras, Lamar University graduate editor and recruiter in the College of Graduate Studies, delivered a lecture about adopting a “Creator Mindset,” March 2, in Gray Library. The lecture was part of Lamar’s “REDtalk” series, inspired by “TEDtalks.”
Contreras said the “Creator Mindset” is having positive attitude in all situations.
“What it all boils down to is personal responsibility and choice,” she said. “Sometimes, we just need understand how to identify that, and how to use skills to make the best choices. That’s what this is about. Identifying the good, the bad and the ugly.
“Personal responsibility is when you reach a fork in the road — it’s making the best decision for yourself.”
Choosing a creator mindset causes one to see multiple choices, to choose wisely, and to take action on those wise choices, Contreras said.
“We all have times when something positive or negative happens to us and we have to make a split-second choice on how we will react to that situation,” she said. “Our ability to choose, as opposed to acting instinctively, is what makes us unique and separates us from animals.”
Contreras said she chose a topic that would empower people to dig deeper and go beyond themselves — to be the best version of themselves.
“There is a difference between being a victim with a little “v,” like when a hurricane comes through this area, we all know living here, you can certainly be a victim of a hurricane,” she said. “But, if I let the outcome of that define my life, that’s when I become a victim with a capital “V.”
“The capital ‘V’ keeps you from seeing and acting on choices that will help you achieve what you want,” she said.
The creator mindset causes one to see solutions, take actions, be positive and try something new — and Contreras said that leads to achieving one’s goals.
Contreras said we all engage in “self talk,” which may be positive or negative.
“In your brain, there’s an inner critic, inner defender — your victim side — and an inner guide, which is your creator side,” she said. “The inner critic always judges us as inadequate, and that is toxic. The inner defender will cause you to judge and blame everyone else rather than taking personal responsibility.
“When we play the victim role, our inner defender is not our friend. A lot of times, our inner critic and inner defender comes from something we were told as a child and manifested into these voices.”
Contreras said that words have power.
“You know that little saying, ‘Sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me?’ That’s bull. Your words have power and they can hurt,” she said.
The inner guide is where our creator portion kicks in and makes us decide to make the best of any situation, Contreras said, adding that it is something we have to practice.
“At the fork in the road, the creator takes the impossible and makes it possible. They take the unable and make it able,” she said. “Tell your inner critic and inner defender to sit down and shut up.
“If you chose the victim mentality, it’s going to feed your weakness, but if you chose the creator mentality, it’s going to feed your strengths.”
To conclude her talk, Contreras passed out sheets of blue paper and instructed the participants to draw a line down the middle, and write victim on one side and creator on the other. She told them to write down at least three things on the victim side that they tell themselves, and on the other side to write three things that counteract those three negatives.
“When you get done, I want you to let it go,” she said. “Take your sheet of paper and tear it in half, keeping the creator language.”
Participants placed the negative sides into a manila folder which Contreras said she would take home and burn.
“Now this has no power over you— you are only left with creator language,” she said.
Contreras said she draws on the book “On Course” by Skip Downing. She said the message is powerful.
“It’s so to-the-point and identifies where the problem may be,” she said. “We all say negative things, and sometimes I have kids in my class and no one has ever told them they are smart. I tell them they are and help teach them to encourage themselves by choosing the creator mindset — because sometimes, we are the only ones who will encourage ourselves in life.
“This subject will hit everyone, no matter where you are in life, and in that chaos you will find where this is useful for you. My whole purpose in speaking is to turn the light on for one person. All of them would be great, but if I can get just one is what drives me to do what I do.”
The next REDtalk, “Graduation… Now What? How to Launch Your Graduate School Career,” with speaker Erin Clarke, McNair Scholars Program director, will be held 1 p.m., March 23, on the sixth floor of Gray Library.
For more information, contact Kelly Williams, LU Success and REDtalks coordinator, at 880-7209.