For years now, my main language has been german. While I grew up in the U.S. and consider myself to be a native speaker of english, my post graduate education has all been in the german language. So, when communicating with my english speaking friends, I sporadically find it challenging to translate ideas into english.
One of these difficult words is “Haltung”, which is a word that doesn’t seem to have a good translation in english. Haltung can be both your physical posture and … well:
- your attitude? no, too directed – you can have different attitudes toward different things
- your predisposition? no, this seems to be a bit too temporary and volatile
- your mindset?
“a mindset is a set of assumptions, methods or notations held by one or more people or groups of people which is so established that it creates a powerful incentive within these people or groups to continue to adopt or accept prior behaviors, choices, or tools.”
Yes, ‘Haltung’ is a mindset.
Well, I do. I care because it is our mindset that determines how we meet and deal with others, what we expect of them and the world. Our mindset also determines how “set” our mind is. We all know the expression “My mind is set”. Just as the german version ‘Haltung’ can refer to a very stiff and straight posture, not very flexible and likely to break, so the same is true of mindset, which can be a kind of concrete, very solid, it will crumble rather than change its shape.
Both mindset and Haltung are an integral part of our personalities, we are seldom really aware of them, and yet they determine so much of our views, thoughts and actions. It determines whether you meet strangers with curiosity or distrust, see children and old people as a nuisance or as someone to be protected and a source for learning, and finally, whether you see employees as chess pieces to be moved around to achieve an end, or rather as individuals with
If you want to achieve change, you must also change the mindset. Can mindsets be changed? Absolutely, but that is another story.