“When you are busy with living your life, age can never find you to make her mark”Debasish Mridha
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!
If a man’s neither friend nor foe
Just another so-and-so
If you can’t get past his shell
Whether for good or for bad –
Take him up a high mount with you
Not letting him slip away
Now he’s stuck in a bind with you
Now you’ll see who he is –
If the fellow up there ain’t there
If he’s bitter and tears his hair
If he falls on the ice and feels
He’d rather drop you than freeze –
Then this can’t be the man for you
Don’t waste words on him but shoo
Just another one of the throng
Not a man for a song –
If he kept his rage in a shell
As he pulled through without a sound
Grabbed out for your hand when you fell
May have groaned but he held!
If he marched through with you to fight
To a summit which stole his might
It means you’ve found a friend
You can keep to the end…
- Song by Vladimir Vysotsky (1938-1980)
- Translation by David Vinnikov
- Image from me.me
In the midst of hate, I found there was,
within me, an invincible love.
In the midst of tears, I found there was,
within me, an invincible smile.
In the midst of chaos, I found there was,
within me, an invincible calm.
I realized, through it all, that…
In the midst of winter, I found there was,
within me, an invincible summer.
And that makes me happy. For it says that no matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger – something better, pushing right back.
Never lose that invincible
love and smile…
“Just living is not enough. One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”
Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875)
Through broken glass and faded dreams,
I find a place where I can scream,
This pain is huge and takes me over,
I cannot smell the scent of clover,
I kneel down and count my blessings,
For sometimes life is distressing,
I make my way through each raw minute,
Feeling blessed that I’m still in it,
This life is hard but I go on,
It’s my soul journey to walk upon,
I look out from my mind’s eye,
Never questioning or asking why,
I know that whatever happens to me,
Is to teach and set me free,
A life taken for granted is not good cause,
Take a breath to think and pause,
I am strong and intelligent,
I know I live with good intent,
The shackles that I once wore,
Can’t contain me anymore,
I am free and fly my wings,
Appreciating every thing,
Being true to who I am,
Upon my bravery I do stand.
“Never lose hope. Storms make people stronger and never last forever.”
Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart
Tonight I held you,
As I fought back the tears.
And grieved for your family,
That have loved you for years.
You became unwell,
There was nothing to do,
We watched through the window,
And increased your O2.
I called your family,
To see if anyone could attend.
Your family needed to know,
That this was the end.
But this virus is terrifying,
And people are shielding,
How can they be there,
When Covid is so unyielding.
I held your hand,
I wiped your face,
My gloved hand on skin,
As your breathing slows pace.
You’d still smile behind your mask,
And I’d try smile back.
To comfort and reassure you,
Is now my one and only task.
Your family called,
To say their goodbyes,
We stood with the phone,
And listened to their cries.
With tears rolling down our faces,
Into the masks we all wear.
We really wanted to help them,
And show them we care.
We woke you up,
So you could hear their voice.
We described your actions.
We had no other choice.
Their words filled with sorrow,
Their hearts played bare.
They wanted the time,
To show you, they care.
You looked peaceful,
And smiled at their call,
I hope it brought you comfort,
Standing there took my all.
We deal with death,
But not like this,
No family allowed,
To give you one last kiss.
But the next family will need us,
We will need to do the same.
But I hope I gave you good care.
And I will always remember your name.
By Sarah Pirie
Go placidly amid the noise and haste,
and remember what peace there may be in silence.
As far as possible without surrender
be on good terms with all persons.
Speak your truth quietly and clearly;
and listen to others,
even the dull and the ignorant;
they too have their story.
Avoid loud and aggressive persons,
they are vexations to the spirit.
If you compare yourself with others,
you may become vain and bitter;
for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.
Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans.
Keep interested in your own career, however humble;
it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.
Exercise caution in your business affairs;
for the world is full of trickery.
But let this not blind you to what virtue there is;
many persons strive for high ideals;
and everywhere life is full of heroism.
Especially, do not feign affection.
Neither be cynical about love;
for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment
it is as perennial as the grass.
Take kindly the counsel of the years,
gracefully surrendering the things of youth.
Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune.
But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings.
Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.
Beyond a wholesome discipline,
be gentle with yourself.
You are a child of the universe,
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should.
Therefore be at peace with God,
whatever you conceive Him to be,
and whatever your labors and aspirations,
in the noisy confusion of life keep peace with your soul.
With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
it is still a beautiful world.
Strive to be happy.
Words for Life by Max Enhrmann
“Stop acting so small.
You are the universe in ecstatic motion.”
Rumi (1207 – 1273)
You think you can define me,
That I’m a tick in just one box,
Like my being is a door,
That a single key unlocks,
But let me tell you something,
I have the universe inside,
I hold an untamed ocean,
With a constant changing tide,
I’m home to endless mountains,
With tips that touch the sky,
Flocks of grand migrating birds,
And deserts harsh and dry,
I house the wildest rivers,
And a host of sweeping plains,
I feel in waves of sunshine,
Or in unrelenting rains,
Don’t tell me that you know me,
That “this right here is what you are”,
I am the universe in motion,
For I was born from stars.
by Erin Hanson
Credits: Image from wordpress.com