In a rapidly evolving world that heavily relies on an ability to adapt it’s important to be aware that you can choose and change your mindset.
Recent advances in neuroscience have shown us that the brain is far more malleable than it was previously believed. Research on brain plasticity has shown how connectivity between neurons can change with experience. With practise, neural networks grow new connections, strengthen existing ones, and build insulation that speeds transmission of impulses. These neuroscientific discoveries have shown that you can increase your neural growth by the actions you take, so essentially you can rewire your thoughts.
Your mindset influences and shapes the life you lead, the choices you make, the subsequent actions you take and the future contributions you make. No two mindsets are the same and your own unique mindset will comprise of your deeply held attitudes, values and beliefs. Every person follows a different path and from the experiences you encounter along the way you make judgements, and then from these judgements you form unique beliefs, attitudes and assumptions. Essentially it is your mind’s way of making sense of the complex and multi- dimensional world you live in.
Your mindset is intrinsically tied to your core identity and acts as a puppet master, pulling the strings of your destiny. It is also important to be aware that your mindset can also create compartments of self-sealing logic which can help you to define who you are and potentially protect your identity and establish a degree of self-confidence. Psychologists call this confirmation bias, which is about recalling information in a way that reconfirms your pre-existing beliefs. The danger with this is that you can end up creating a mindset that becomes rigid and self-limiting. It’s important to bear in mind that we never stop learning and we never stop growing. We are all people in progress with so much potential to explore.
Here are my seven steps to help you to cultivate a 21st century mindset:
1. Discover your mind
There is so much research being conducted about the human brain and how it works. Understanding the potential of your mind and exploring some of these recent findings through books, talks and interviews is a great place to start.
- Listen to your mind chatter
Thoughts are nutrients for the mind and you have tens of thousands of thoughts a day. It is important to understand that you choose your thoughts. Listen to your mind chatter and challenge your thinking because you can always turn your negative thoughts around and rewrite an internal script that is positive and constructive.
- Empower yourself
It can be easy, if you are not careful, to fall into the trap of constantly seeking approval from others and this can inhibit your potential for personal growth. Being your own personal role model and establishing your own view of what success looks like can be truly liberating and empowering.
- Be curious
Curiosity is the engine of innovation and curious people have an on-going, intrinsic interest in both their inner experience and the world around them. Life is never boring for a curious person. Curiosity helps your mind to be more active instead of passive. The mind is a muscle and the more exercise it gets the stronger it will become.
- Turn problems into opportunities
Remember you were born to be real, not perfect and real people make mistakes. Some of the best achievements in your life will be born from your biggest setbacks that can, in turn, become your biggest learning opportunities. Problems are for the mind what exercise is for your muscles. They help you to build your mental strength and flexibility.
- Prioritise growth over speed
Learning fast isn’t the same as learning well and learning well sometimes requires slowing down a bit.
It’s so important to celebrate your achievements no matter how small they are. It is the little incremental steps that lead the way towards your greatest accomplishments. Taking time to appreciate what you have learnt and achieved will motivate you further to keep investing in an agile and growth mindset.
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