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Arbinger's Inward vs. Outward Mindset What's the Difference?

There is a lot of talks these days about mindset, and for good reason. It is one of the most important aspects of our lives. Whether we are talking about our personal lives or our professional lives, our mindset shapes everything we do. There are two different types of mindset that we can have: inward and outward. From an inward perspective, we focus only on ourselves and our own goals without considering how we impact others. With an outward perspective, however, we see others as people who matter just like we do.

Which type of mindset do you have?

Mindset is best understood by comparing it to the lens through which we see our world. We all have a set of lenses that shape how we see things, and these lenses are based on our beliefs about reality. Just like glasses help us focus more clearly on objects around us because they magnify or minimize what we can see through them, our beliefs about reality also help us focus on certain things and ignore others.

Our mindset is based on our fundamental beliefs about ourselves: who we are, what we can do, and how the world works. This belief system determines the lens through which we see everything else in life. From an inward perspective, this lens is narrowly focused on ourselves; from an outward perspective, this lens is broadened to include others.

The Arbinger Institute has found that those with inward mindsets are more focused on themselves and their own needs than they are on other people or the world around them. Their mindset makes it hard for them to see anything but their personal goals as important and everything else as unimportant or even a threat to their goals. From an outward perspective, though, Arbinger Institute found that those who see others as people just like themselves are more empathetic and compassionate towards their colleagues at work or even strangers on the street.

The Arbinger Institute has also found that there is a strong correlation between inward vs outward mindsets and performance. Inward mindset: Performance suffers because we do not see others as people just like ourselves. Outward mindset: Performance improves because we understand that other people matter just as much as we do and want to help them achieve their goals too.

Mindset can help with Individuals or Organizations

Your mindset is important in your personal life and work. Whether you are an individual or an organization, having the right mindset can help you achieve success. There are two different mindsets that people often use- the inward mindset and the outward mindset.

With an inward mindset, individuals tend to think only about their needs, challenges, and objectives relative to a given problem. They can be very focused and driven, but this focus can also lead to tunnel vision. With an outward mindset, individuals instead focus on collective results. They are more collaborative and less concerned with taking all the credit. This type of thinking leads to better overall outcomes for everyone involved.

The inward mindset is often seen in organizations as well. When a company is focused on its own needs rather than the needs of everyone, it can lead to infighting and less productivity all around. With an outward mindset, companies tend to be more collaborative, communicative, and productive overall.

Experts agree that there are many benefits from taking an outward perspective in life and work. Being more focused on other people’s needs and emotions can help you achieve success in your career, relationships, and personal life. You will be happier and less stressed with an outward mindset!

What Mindset is needed for Change?

A change in mindset is needed for change to occur. This can be a difficult task, as it requires a shift from an inward mindset to an outward mindset. We must become aware of our own thoughts and behaviors, and then take steps to change them. Only by doing this can we create the change we want to see in our lives.

For example, if you're struggling with a negative attitude towards yourself or others, take time to identify your thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to this challenge. Then take steps to change them. If we want to change for ourselves or others, then we must become aware of our own thoughts and behaviors first!

1. Identify your thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to the challenge at hand.

2. Take steps to change them.

3. Become aware of our thoughts and behaviors first!

Change doesn't happen overnight, but by taking small steps in the right direction, we can create the change we want to see in our lives. Are you ready to start?

Your Turn

1. What is one change you want to see in your life?

2. Identify your thoughts and behaviors that may be contributing to the challenge at hand.

3. Take steps to change them.

4. Become aware of our own thoughts and behaviors first!

How Arbinger is being Used in Law Enforcement

Chief Wallentine has been quoted as saying, “Police Officers don’t like two things: the way things are and change.” This seems to be a common sentiment in many professions. However, police officers often have to face difficult changes in their work environment. Arbinger offers a solution to this challenge by providing police officers with a framework for self-reflection and improved police operations.

Off Duty Officer using Arbinger Method

Arbinger has worked with police departments to help them better understand how their mindset affects the way they do police work. For example, police officers may unconsciously adopt an “us versus them” mentality while on duty or in other situations where they feel threatened by the public. This can lead to increased tension and conflict between police officers and the community they are sworn to protect. Arbinger helps police departments understand how their mindset affects the way they interact with others, which can improve police-community relations.

In addition, Arbinger’s framework can help police officers identify and address the sources of their stress. For example, a police officer who feels overwhelmed by the demands of his or her job may not be aware of how this stress is affecting his or her work performance. Arbinger provides officers with tools to reflect on their thoughts and feelings so they can identify the sources of their stress, which may include police department policies or personal life issues.


It’s impossible to lead from an Inward Mindset and gain trust. Trust can only be built where a relationship has been established. Chief Wallentine put it this way: “As we’ve seen our officers build relationships and we have conversations with people in our community, the challenges and obstacles melt away when the relationships are built.”

Police departments are not the only group that could benefit from a shift to an outward mindset. Business leaders, politicians, and people in all areas of our society can learn how to more effectively interact with others when they change their focus from doing things for themselves to helping other people solve problems.


At Chateau, we understand the unique position of professionals, executives, and community figureheads. Your time with us is personalized to fit your needs. We serve a mature population (26+) and are geared towards tackling addiction and substance abuse within the professional community. Arbinger Institute is a major clinical focus during the process of recovery at the facility.

For more information on how we can personalize your time with us, call us at (435) 222-5225

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