Land Your Next Writing Job by Adopting a Challenge Mindset

Let’s consider two examples of writers who chose to dive into the contentious, competitive market of freelance writing.


Jomar Delos Santos

3 years ago | 3 min read

Let’s consider two examples of writers who chose to dive into the contentious, competitive market of freelance writing. We’ll call them Writer A and Writer B.

Both Writer A and B are faced with dead static when applying for jobs. They spend two months facing a series of discouraging responses, or more often than not, they receive no responses at all.

Writer A gets discouraged and assumes the job market is too competitive, or oversaturated. Writer A continues while carrying doubtful energy, still expecting to see a result if they “just put in the time.” A is too stubborn to alter their strategy, as it requires an incredible amount of work.

They also slave away on a side project that gets posted regularly, expecting a job recruiter to find their work and offer them a job. Eventually, Writer A is unemployed for a year and gives up, thinking they aren’t cut out for writing.

Writer B realizes that their strategy isn’t working. B instead looks to develop a website that directs leads to their website. They also look to apply for jobs on unconventional boards, while cold-emailing smaller companies. B meditates daily to release their doubt after facing even more job rejections.

They know that in order to succeed in the writing world, they might need to work for free. Writer B chooses to volunteer at a charity to gain some much needed experience. Eventually, one of B’s connections they networked with, who previously rejected B, sees value in their commitment and sends them an employment offer.

Writer A holds a Threat Mindset.

Writer B holds a Challenge Mindset.

But what exactly do these frames of thinking refer to?

The Biopsychosocial Model of Challenge and Threat

The Biopsychosocial model of Challenge and Threat is a theory developed out of competitive psychology that describes how our minds assess stressful situations. Encompassing the Challenge Mindset and Threat Mindset, both respective frames of thinking refer to how our bodies and minds react when faced with unprecedented challenges.

What’s the Difference?

A Threat Mindset refers to people who hold a problem-oriented approach when faced with new challenges. When one is met with a complex task or situation, they favour comfort over change, choosing instead to be paralyzed by indecision, fear or perfectionism.

A person who holds a Threat Mindset is afraid of looking bad and usually is a proponent of ego-protection over surrendering to the discomfort of progress.

A person who holds a Challenge Mindset isn’t afraid of failure. Actually, a person who holds a Challenge Mindset continues to adopt a solutions-oriented approach. This person revels in the muck of uncomfortable experiences, knowing that every slip they make contributes to greater change.

Failure is reshaped as feedback. This writer chooses to steer themselves directly into the storm of worry, where elusive success sits dead centre in the hurricane’s eye.

A person stuck in the Threat Mindset finds excuses to get out of uncomfortable situations without considering the long-term benefits of being under short-term stress. Succumbing to pure emotion paralyzes this writer.

They’re just as brilliant and creative as the writer with the Challenge Mindset, but will never get to see their profession flourish as they’re afraid to take the proverbial leap.

Here we see that the difference between the two thinkers doesn’t lie in ability, creativity or even in aptitude. It lies solely within their attitudes towards change.

Are you Writer A or Writer B?

Maybe you can find commonalities between you and Writer A. Or perhaps you’ve enacted change and are becoming more like Writer B. I know I’m still somewhere in between, working to eliminate old habits and false beliefs that no longer serve me.

Continue to draw awareness to the efficacy of your strategy, alter what doesn’t work, and leave your pride where it belongs — in the past.


Created by

Jomar Delos Santos

I write articles to clear your head (and mine).







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