Whether you are on your own, as a parent, as a leader, it is quite hard to avoid this question: “Are we growing to prepare us for our tomorrow?”
One-year into COVID-19, we should have realized this by now, if we don’t learn and adapt at a pace necessary to fall forward, we will hit the opposite, that is to fall backward. Either way, we will fail. It’s either we grow to fail, or we fail to grow.
There are many ways we can grow ourselves
Personally, the main method I adopt is to focus on growing my inner self-esteem and self-confidence. When I feel enough from deep inside me, I am ready to grow in all parts of my life around me.
To grow me, I leverage a lot of teachings from the best out there, from:
- Simon Sinek on Purpose and Infinity in the world of service,
- to Brene Brown on Empathy, Courage, and Daring Leadership,
- to Dawson Church on Impermanence and Serendipity,
- to Angela Duckworth on Grit,
- to Susan David on Emotional Agility.
At its core is Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset, where I leverage this state of being wrapped up by the abovementioned teachings to grow myself in five core areas:
- Be a learner instead of a knower.
- Add-value through my service to others.
- Live on courage instead of shame.
- Master impermanence rather than clinging on the false sense of permanence.
- Practice empathy to build trust instead of sympathy which erodes trust.
Overtime, I have experienced deep transformational progress, with the top three include:
- Increased self-awareness of my growing opportunities.
- Improved resilience.
- Emphasize progress over perfection.
The Idea of Growth Mindset
My favorite definition of Growth Mindset is this:
It’s a belief that everyone is capable of change.
This belief is backed by science, where physiologically we are constantly changing inside us.
Do you know, out of about 84 billion neurons in the hippocampus of our brain responsible for our learning and remembering, some of them get replaced every second?
To tap into this potential of change, I believe that we need to:
- First, give ourselves the permission to enter the world of learning; and
- Second, put in effort and time to grow. Our brain needs at least three weeks to remember new things we are learning, and even more time thereafter to master what we learn.
As an optimist myself with a visionary mind, I can visualize this belief that we are capable of change has phenomenal potential to shape our culture in a profound way.
Adapted from Satya Nadella’s “Hit Refresh”: “Culture is a complex system made up of individual MINDSETs that collectively shape how a family, a community, an organization thinks and acts.”
In my view, practicing Growth Mindset, especially when done at a scale, can stand a chance to build a better culture amongst us that is filled with learners who are resilient, courageous, and curious.
My passion to find the “recipe” to help more people get there
A question I have been exploring is, “How can we lead ourselves and others to get to this state of being?”
Personally, I see this as a mission, knowing that majority of us in today’s world live with the common desire for permanence, resistance to change, and letting fear to lead our lives.
It’s easier said than done, though I still believe that there is a way.
To get started, there are THREE Principles and THREE Beliefs we must first learn to master.
THREE principles that I learned through Sir Ken Robinson’s “Finding Your Element”:
- Principle 1 – Each and everyone of our life is unique. That is no one has ever lived our life before and nobody will ever have this opportunity – so don’t let others tell us how we should live our lives.
- Principle 2 – We create our own life – yes, we can’t change the past history and circumstances that have influenced what shaped us to become who we are today, BUT we can change our future should we choose to do so.
- Principle 3 – Life is organic – our life is not linear, it is organic. Our life is a constant process of improvisation between our interests, personality, and circumstances. It is the energy we create around us that get us to our desired opportunities to flourish.
If we visualize ourselves as a water bottle that is filled up, who we want to become is made up of three components:
- 10% is our circumstances.
- 50% is our biological disposition.
- 40% is our behavior – this is entirely in our control – this means our thoughts and our choice of actions are significant driving forces to steer and shape our own life.
THREE Beliefs we must cultivate inside us that I learned through Satya Nadella’s “Hit Refresh”:
- We humans are filled with impermanence, and therefore we are capable to change and growth – be with it, feel it, live in it, leverage this as our most powerful energy to grow.
- The sky is the limit in terms of our potential – yes, we don’t yet know what we don’t today; but with effort and time, we will know.
- When we put in the effort to accomplish meaningful work, we have the right to expect a pathway to greater responsibility, recognition, and opportunities for what we do and capable of becoming – so even if we are not where we want to be today, we need to learn to make the decisions we should make, take the actions we should take and march towards who we strive to become.
How does the journey look like?
Everyone’s journey to their state of Growth Mindset is unique.
- Some are already there and they just need to keep practicing.
- Some will need to Hit Refresh to get started.
- Some, like myself, will need to Hit Reset to leave their past behind to move forward.
Four years into this state of being, my own experience often reminds me of learning how to ride a bicycle. At first we fall a lot because we struggle to balance. But the moment we start pedaling with balance, our self-esteem boosts like a rocket launch. All we then do is to keep on riding to continue building our skills, experience, confidence and stamina.
At the same time, we will still fear, fail, self-doubt as we decide to keep moving and falling forward. These feelings will not go away.
Rather, we will become more aware of them. We will learn to leverage the “muscles” we build over time to not let fear, setbacks, challenges, discouragement as our roadblocks to make progress.
This is a lifelong journey filled with adventures, fun, and impermanence. When you are in it, your curiosity to learn will surpass your fear of not trying. You will stay more focused in the present to do what’s relevant to build a better tomorrow.
As Maya Angelou said: “The price is high. The reward is great”.
Are you interested to join me for a ride?