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4 Tips for a Brick-Wall-Busting Mindset

Want to know what's absolutely critical to our success in the world of family history research? Mindset. Now, I know... it might seem like a fluffy or intangible concept, but trust me, it matters more than you might realize.

If you're like me, you've probably encountered plenty of frustrating dead ends that seem to crop up just when you think you're making progress. Whether it's a missing record, conflicting information, or simply a lack of available resources, these roadblocks can be discouraging. And if we're not careful, they can lead us to give up on our research altogether. We even call them "brick walls" and conjure images of exactly that - something that is impossible to get through or break down. Believe it or not, our brains take that image seriously. Our problem-solving powerhouse minds are only too happy to take a mental break once we start thinking, "well, I am going to work on this 'brick wall' even though I know it's impossible."

If, instead, we begin to think of tough genealogy problems as puzzles we can solve, our minds are much more likely to engage and become the dynamos we need them to be. That's where mindset comes in. Your mindset is simply the way you think about and approach a particular situation. And when it comes to genealogy, having the right mindset can make all the difference. Here are a few tips to help you stay in a mindset that motivates you to keep trying and remember that brick walls are really just great puzzles that we have the opportunity to solve:

1. Embrace the Journey: First and foremost, it's important to remember that genealogy research is a journey, not a destination. There will always be more to learn, more people to discover, and more mysteries to unravel. So instead of fixating on reaching a particular end goal, try to focus on the process itself. Celebrate the small victories along the way, and don't be afraid to pivot or change course if something isn't working. By adopting a growth mindset - one that sees challenges as opportunities for learning and improvement - you'll be much more likely to stay motivated and engaged in your research over the long haul.

2. Practice Patience: Another key component of a successful genealogy mindset is patience. It's easy to get frustrated when you hit a brick wall, or when you feel like you're not making progress as quickly as you'd like. But remember, genealogy research is often a slow and methodical process, and sometimes it can take years to uncover the answers you're looking for. Instead of getting bogged down by impatience, try to embrace the idea of "slow and steady wins the race." Stay committed to your research, and trust that eventually, you'll find the answers you're looking for.

3. Seek Out Support: Genealogy research can sometimes feel like a solitary pursuit - just you by yourself, sifting through records and databases. But it doesn't have to be that way! In fact, seeking out support from others can be a great way to stay motivated and engaged in your research. Whether it's joining a local genealogy society, attending conferences or workshops, or simply connecting with other researchers online, there are plenty of ways to find a community of like-minded individuals who can offer advice, encouragement, and support.

4. Stay Curious: Last but not least, one of the best ways to maintain a positive genealogy mindset is to stay curious. Cultivate a sense of wonder and excitement about the people and stories you're researching. Ask questions, dig deeper, and don't be afraid to get creative in your research methods. Whether it's exploring new databases, experimenting with different search terms, or looking for clues in unexpected places, there's always more to discover. By staying curious and engaged in your research, you'll be much more likely to stay motivated and inspired, even in the face of challenges.

So there you have it - a few tips to help you cultivate a positive, growth-oriented mindset for your genealogy research. Remember, mindset matters more than you might realize, and by staying focused, patient, curious, and supported, you can overcome even the toughest brick walls and uncover the stories of your ancestors. Happy researching!


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