The One Mindset You Need to Focus on to Thrive in Times of Uncertainty
Whether we like it to accept it or not, life is often the result of the story we tell ourselves. It’s all about the narrative inside our mind that impacts the way we see ourselves and the world around us. For this reason alone, practicing a positive outlook (yes, it’s a skill!) can make all the difference in our life. In fact, according to science, having a positive outlook is considered one of the 4 most important aspects to cultivate if we want to experience greater wellbeing and fulfilment.
We might experience a sense of uncertainty for what is happening in the world right now and while that is understandable, it’s not the most useful approach to take. Our brain is designed to reinforce its internal belief system based on the food we feed it (our thoughts in this case), and so the more negativity and blame we channel inside our mind, the more it believes it’s the right way to think.
One of the most powerful approaches we can take to shift the way we look at our daily life, is what Carol Dweck calls a growth mindset. In her book, Dweck talks about the difference between a growth mindset and fixed mindset. A person with a fixed mindset, as the name suggests, believes that his talents are fixed, that he cannot grow further, and that receiving feedback is a sign of weakness.
A person with a growth mindset on the other hand looks at every event whether positive or negative as an opportunity for further improvement. A person with a growth mindset embraces challenges, persists in the face of setbacks, and learns from criticism. What I have experienced first-hand is that to develop this positive and expansive mindset, a great dose of self-compassion is needed.
Our life might not always go the way we intend it but in many ways, that is the beauty of it as growth typically happens at the end of our comfort zone. While it might feel uncomfortable at times, if we learn to forgive ourselves and have more compassion for us and others, we waste less mental energy on negative thoughts while strengthening our resilience and proactivity. After all, no one judges us more than we judge ourselves and so when we move on from our limiting beliefs and transform our perceived misfortune into an opportunity for learning, our whole-body chemistry changes.
“I never lose, I either win or learn.” – Nelson Mandela
We live in a world of constant evolution where to stay relevant we need to evolve with it. While learning about our inner world is fundamental if we want to understand how to live more fully, learning new subjects and skills is also tremendously critical. This is not only key for our professional development as most of the skills we know now will be obsolete in 7 to 10 years but for our brain health too!
Each time we learn something new and practice it, our brain will either change the structure of its neurons or increase the number of connections allowing them to send and receive information faster. Neurons that continue to activate one another in this way strengthen their connections and keep our brain healthy and stop it from ageing.
When it comes to learning, I believe there are 2 aspects we must focus on if we want to optimize the quality of our experience. The first one is to focus on having a multidisciplinary learning approach, in simple words learning disciplines from different fields. This is a great way to create new connections in our brain, along with expanding our creativity and lateral thinking abilities. Furthermore, It’s being shown that knowing or focusing so much on one domain only can actually make it more difficult to embrace or create new ideas along with adapting or finding solutions to a problem in that field. In an ever more complex world full of learning possibilities, let your mind wonder!
The second aspect to focus on is to make learning a social activity. Studies show almost 90% of our learning happens with others. What a perfect excuse to create cross opportunities for learning!
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi
As one of the most effective ways to retain valuable information is through repetition and emotional engagement, peer to peer coaching can represent a true win-win. Why? It enables us to cement what we know while also allowing us to help others. The more diverse we learn, the more we gain, and the more we gain, the more we can give. And when we can give, we are taking a powerful step towards expanding the world of our possibilities, changing the way we look and experience our daily life.