Cultivate your growth mindset

You know that saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?” That saying has perpetuated a myth that the old dogs’ brain has hardened in ways that make him unable to learn anything new. For many decades the scientific community thought this to be true — of animals and people alike. But, as science has progressed, we’ve found that simply isn’t reality.

Modern neuroscience has proven that our brains are more malleable than we could have ever imagined—well into later stages of life. We can teach an old dog new tricks!

Still, many of us get down when we face the difficulties of learning new skills or mastering old ones. We blame the rapidly evolving technology environment, or job competition, or lagging energy levels for our failings. But we don’t need to. All we need to do is adopt a growth mindset and we can learn and grow as we please.

The Growth Mindset

The idea of a growth mindset came from the famous Stanford researcher, Carol Dweck. Dweck and her team stumbled upon the phenomenon when observing students and their various responses to failure. Why was it, they wondered, that some students could bounce back from a setback like nothing happened, while others sulked and fumed when obstacles fell in their way?

It wasn’t the magnitude of the setback, nor the consequences of the setbacks that determined the student’s responding behaviors—rather, it was their mindsets. Some students had a fixed mindset while others had a growth mindset. The ones with a fixed mindset believed that capabilities are innate and were sure that no matter how hard they tried, they wouldn’t be able to do anything about their failures. The growth mindset kids believed that they could eventually learn to do anything if they put in effort and practice.

How to Get Your Own Growth Mindset

If you don’t already have a growth mindset, there is good news– developing one isn’t too hard! The real struggle comes down to alleviating the shame and embarrassment we feel around failure and set-backs.

1. First, we should acknowledge our set-backs or unfavorable circumstances. We don’t want to call them failures, though. We want to call them learning opportunities. Marvel at the processes more than the results. 

2. Now we want to acknowledge any shame that might accompany those learning opportunities. This is a key step because it alleviates lingering embarrassment.

3. Next, laugh it off! You can either laugh it off by yourself or with others. We recommend finding others who are non-judgmental and supportive who you can laugh with. This helps normalise laughing at your setbacks and helps give you perspective.

4. View your setback as an opportunity. At least, it’s a great story to tell! At most, it’s an opportunity to learn where you can improve.

5. Reflect. If your setback took place in a business setting, make sure to take note of it so you can avoid it in the future!

6. Lastly, and most importantly, stay curious. Never lose your sense of wonder for the world. Never stop wanting to know more…

Whenever you encounter a new challenge, respond to your fixed mindset thoughts with growth mindset and take the growth mindset action!

Source: A Growth Mindset Will Change Your Life – (the1thing.com)

Are you climbing a career ladder or swinging on a career jungle gym?

From http://www.sprint2thetable.com

“The most common metaphor for careers is a ladder, but this concept no longer applies to most workers… Careers are a jungle gym, not a ladder,”  writes Sheryl Sandberg, who attributes the metaphor to Fortune magazine editor Pattie Sellers.

“Ladders are limiting – people can move up or down, on or off. Jungle gyms offer more creative exploration. There’s only one way to get to the top of a ladder, but there are many ways to get to the top of a jungle gym.

The jungle gym model benefits everyone, but especially women who might be starting careers, switching careers, getting blocked by external barriers, or reentering the workforce after taking time off. The ability to forge a unique path with occasional dips, detours, and even dead ends presents a better chance for fulfilment. Plus, a jungle gym provides great views for many people, not just those at the top. On a ladder, most climbers are stuck staring at the butt of the person above.”

From https://careercollaboration.files.wordpress.com

 “A jungle gym scramble is the best description of my career,” continues Sandberg. “I could never have connected the dots from where I started to where I am today…”

“When I graduated from college, I had only the vaguest notion of where I was headed… Throughout my childhood, my parents emphasized the importance of pursuing a meaningful life. Dinner discussions often centered on social injustice and those fighting to make the world a better place. As a child, I never thought about what to be, but I thought a lot about what I wanted to do. …

I hoped to change the world…. I always believed I would work at a non-profit or in government. That was my dream. And while I don’t believe in mapping out each step of a career, I do believe it helps to have a long-term dream or goal. A long-term dream does not have to be realistic or even specific. It may reflect the desire to work in a particular field or to travel throughout the world.”

From http://megandimaria.blogspot.co.nz/

“With an eye on my childhood dream, the first job I took out of college was at the World Bank as a research assistant to Larry Summers, who was serving a term as chief economist… Larry then generously arranged for me to join an India health field mission to get a closer look at what the Bank actually did.

Flying to India took me into an entirely different world. The team was working to eradicate leprosy, which was endemic in India’s most remote and poorest regions. The conditions were appalling. Due to the stigma of the disease, patients were often exiled from their villages and ended up lying on dirt floors in awful places that passed for clinics.

Facts and figures could never have prepared me for this reality. I have the deepest respect for people who provide hands-on help to those in crises. It is the most difficult work in the world.”


From http://i294.photobucket.com

“I headed back to Cambridge. I tried to stay socially conscious by joining the highly unpopular Nonprofit Club. I also spent my second year studying social marketing – how marketing can be used to solve social problems.”

From http://cnm.tcd.ie

And then there was an interview with a high-level Silicon Valley executive who told Sandberg that “her company would never even consider hiring someone like me because government experience could not possibly prepare anyone to work in the tech industry.”

Undeterred, Sandberg contacted Eric Schmidt, who she had met several times while working at the Treasury, and who had just become CEO of a then relatively unknown company called Google.

The job Google offered her sounded less prestigious than those she had applied for elsewhere, but when she voiced this concern, Schmidt told her: “If you’re offered a seat on a rocket ship, you don’t ask what seat. You just get on.”

In other words, the potential for growth is all that matters, whether it’s in the company as a whole, within a division or team, or in a position with a high demand for your skills.

From http://www.sprint2thetable.com

I have seen these principles at work in my own career, though on a much smaller scale.

What about you?

Are you  climbing a career ladder
OR
swinging on a career jungle gym?

 


From http://www.excitations.com

THE END

How do you see the world? How do you grow?

“Become friends with people who aren’t your age. Hang out with people whose first language isn’t the same as yours. Get to know someone who doesn’t come from your social class. This is how you see the world. This is how you grow.”

From World Wisdom

diversity in the workplaceFrom http://www.perfectlaborstorm.com

“I often encountered the negative view that boys’ schools produce men who are unable to relate to women and who, because of their arrogance about being male – encouraged by the school – carry negative perceptions about the place of women in today’s society…. At the very least it has been suggested the boys leaving such schools are emotionally bereft and incapable of establishing and maintaining effective personal relationships with women…

It was uncommon for the fathers of some students, men who had themselves been educated at boys’ schools, to reflect that they’d been unable to understand or communicate effectively with members of the opposite sex when they left school. Some of them went on to conceded that the workings of the female brain remained a mystery to this day and I have no doubt they’re not alone in holding that view….

Their adolescent sons didn’t, however, appear to share their experience of not being able to communicate effectively with adolescent girls. Partly due no doubt to the greater degree of social freedom available to girls today, the boys appeared to understand their female counterparts much better than their fathers had.

Almost all boys I spoke to had close female friends within their immediate peer group – often referred to as ‘chick-mates’ – and many spoke of the value of the conversations they had with these girl friends about the ‘real’ stuff, the stuff they could not or would not talk about with their male peers.”

From ‘He’ll be OK: Growing gorgeous boys into good men
by Celia Lashlie

From https://p.gr-assets.com

The same principle applies very well to mentoring.

As Prof. D Clutterbuck points out, ‘mentoring fulfills a desire most people share; that is to pass on their learning to help other people develop their potential.’

Dave Stein notes however that “mentoring is much more complex and complicated relationship than most people think. Mentors and their protégés need to take care to establish a mutually-beneficial relationship in order for it to be truly successful.”

Protégé must be willing to work hard at improvement.  That means “defining and accepting their shortcomings and being open to changing or forming new habits through adopting new strategies and tactics.” They have to be “honest, objective, appreciative, motivated and have the courage to change.”

What’s in it for the mentor? Mentors not only get the satisfaction of helping someone who needs and wants their assistance.  They also get to improve their own coaching, leadership, communication, and management skills.  Mentors note that they “often get new ideas and insights from my protégés” and their protégés provide them with an expansion of their business and professional network.

From http://www.nzim.co.nz

 

How do you see the world?

How do you grow?

THE END

A sense of curiosity…

“A sense of curiosity is nature’s original school of education.”

Smiley Blanton

Curiosity
From Stay passionately curious all your life

” Children are curious by nature. It begins the moment those little eyes open to this great big world. As babies they use their five senses to explore objects and we go crazy do our best to make sure nothing inappropriate makes its way into their mouths. As toddlers, more of the same except now they’re mobile and can wreck more havoc explore their environment with abundant curiosity. They can now ask “why” and they will do so over and over again.

Then…they become preschoolers and school aged and the questions are unrelenting. Though it can be exasperating at times, take comfort. Your child has a thirst for knowledge. One, that if we can continue to nurture, will serve them well throughout their lives.

So, what are some simple everyday things we can do to foster and encourage this passion for knowledge?

  • Turn everyday errands into an adventure. Seriously, all you have to do is call it an adventure and your kids will think it is too. Believe me the questions will come naturally so be prepared: “Does cantaloupe grow on trees?” “How does all this food get here and why do we need to buy it?” Oy…make sure you drink lots of coffee before this so-called adventure
  • Get outside, take a nature walk and let the questions fly! Get down on their level, take your time, and explore with them. They want to take that roly poly home? Okay, great. The snake…uh…no.
  • Write down their questions and investigate together. Whether it’s your trusty friend Google or a trip to the library, find the answers. I am constantly surprised by how much I don’t know. I’m learning or rather, re-learning so much.
  • Read, read, and read some more. I love books and I hope to instill this in my children too. Now as they are getting older, I will ask them questions about what might happen in a particular story. Their answers always surprise me and they get more creative each time.
  • Plant a garden together. It can be just about anything. A lone tomato plant, some herbs, or a flower of their choice. They will love to see what it takes to make it grow.
  • Let them be free. What I mean by this is, let them play independently. Let them explore without too many restrictions when feasible. Just avert your eyes, take a deep breath and let the mud fly. They can satisfy their curiosity on how vacuums work while helping you clean up….

Have a blast exploring the world with your curious child…it may just reignite your own passion for knowledge.”

From Nurturing Your Child’s Curiosity

Related posts:

THE END

Do Not Give the Needy Money…

“Do Not Give the Needy Money: Build Them Industries Instead”

J.W.Smith

(From Transparency for Development)

* * *

“With the record of corruption within impoverished countries, people will question giving them money. That can be handled by giving them the industry directly, not the money. …. When provided the industry, as opposed to the money to build industry, those people will have physical capital. The only profits to be made then are in production; there is no development money to intercept and send to a Swiss bank account.”

(from J.W. Smith, Economic Democracy: The Political Struggle for the 21st Century)

* * *

Eritrea, 1990s

“So while we toiled away building our factory, the entire population was trying to rebuild their country. There was compulsory military service still, and those called up were put to work building roads and bridges. They did it with a lot of smarts – if you drove down the main highway into the bowels of the country there was a new 100m-wide trench of a road that had been cleared and would be a motorway eventually. On either side, palm trees were being planted and you saw an Eritrean who might be in her seventies, coming down a green slope carrying a bucket of water and tending to a palm tree. Everybody was doing something…

We eventually finished the construction of the building to international standards, and the team from Australia arrived to set up the manufacturing equipment. I watched with dismay as the first lenses were produced. It was painfully clear that the lathe and most of the equipment Fred had bought were not capable of producing usable lenses.

This was another test of character, because I had done what I promised Fred and could have simply moved on, letting the Fred Hollows Foundation sort out the mess. But by this stage the Eritreans had put their trust in me, so I sourced some generic lens-making equipment and started to put in place a plan to make world-class lenses at a fraction of the price of those distributed by multinational companies…

I wanted the Eritreans to be able to sell their lenses around the world so that they could make decent money out of this. I didn’t just want to produce lenses for eye camps in the villages. That meant the lenses had to meet international standards or no one would buy them…

It was important to me that the lenses we made were of equal or better quality than those from the multinational lens manufacturers. So I sent samples of our lenses for independent evaluation to the world expert on intraocular lens manufacture, Professor David Apple at the Medical University of South Carolina Storm Eye Institute.

“You have chosen a design which we think is an absolute state of the art in terms of surface finish and general Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) appearance,” he said in his report. “I’ve never seen better lens manufacture.”…

We had succeeded in doing something that was theoretically impossible: manufacturing world-class intraocular lenses in one of the poorest, most technically compromised countries in the world.

The other result of the new process was that the price of generic lenses plummeted globally. Ours cost three dollars to make, a fraction of what they had been produced for previously. We could get them onto the market for less than ten dollars, making quality cataract surgery accessible to the poorest of the poor.

This was also a perfect example of 100 per cent technology transfer to the local people. I don’t have to do anything at those labs and haven’t since 2003. We did the job, got in and got out, and they are expanding their operations and product ranges themselves.

Now the lenses are exported to about eighty countries and, by 2020, thirty million people will have had their sight restored due to the innovative lens-manufacturing technology.”

(from ‘Rebel with a cause’ by Ray Avery)

* * *

Nepal

“Building our next lens-manufacturing plant, in Nepal, was a lot easier, because of all the lessons we had learnt in Eritrea…

When we designed the lathes, instead of a whole lot of complicated circuit boards with lots of things that could go wrong, ours was broken into smaller units with little lights, and you could quickly isolate and identify a problem when one came up. These were named BRTs – Big Round Things – and if there was something wrong, a BRT’s light wouldn’t be shining and you just replaced that unit…

We enjoyed training local people. The Nepalese have always had a tradition of moving to other countries to live. Many of our protégés now work overseas, but they trained people to take their place before they left because we taught them that was what you had to do when you have been given a skill. You passed it on. And as they move around the world, the general level of skills will rise as they take knowledge with them.”

(from ‘Rebel with a cause’ by Ray Avery)