This past week, I participated in a “TED talk”, along with two other speakers to address the 8th graders (14 year olds) at our school. The topic was on education, choices and careers and we each had 20 minutes to share our own journeys. At the end of the presentations, the students could post questions on a poster and the final list was sent to us. I was very impressed by the thinking behind these questions and one of the first ones I read was “Why do you love challenges so much?” I paused.
What attracts people to challenges? Is is something you are born with? Is it hereditary? Is it about success? Wanting to learn more?
Challenges have to do with mindsets. In Carol Dweck’s book “Mindset: the New Psychology of Success”, she writes about two different mindsets, the fixed mindset and the growth mindset.
In the fixed mindset, everything is about the outcome. If you fail, or you are not #1, it has all been a waste of time. The fixed mind set stands in the way of change and development. Making mistakes, as a fixed mindset, affects self confidence and prevents the will of trying again for fear of failure or being judged. Therefore, challenges can come across as being a threat to fixed minds.
The growth mindset, on the other hand, allows people to value what they are doing regardless what the outcome is. They are taking on challenges, analysing options and find their time working meaningful and valuable. If they fail they learn from it and try again. Their minds are curious, they are open to the “unknown” and are ready to step out of their comfort zones and take on new challenges.
Do you have a fixed mindset or a growth mindset, and what is your perspective on challenges?
Last week I was in London with my daughter for a few days and travelled by bus and Tube, “off peak.” I flashed back to the amount of time and years I spent commuting through London, Moscow, Paris as a professional, squished like sardines, packed like cows or simply stuck in traffic for hours. There were no mobiles, Ipads, Ipods, Internet then and most of us commuters read the newspapers, books or magazines while maybe listening to our walkmans or CDs.
Commuting today has changed in many parts of the world, thanks to technology. As we commute, we can make calls, write/read/receive emails, we can research, we can listen to magazines/books, we can know how many steps we have taken to work, what our heart beat is, how many calories we have eaten and so on.
Here is my perspective; commuting is a gift. This gift is part of my “me time.” In Budapest, my commute entails driving our three children to school back and forth 2 times a day, a total of 2 hours a day. For that one hour I am able to speak, sing, laugh, listen to them share their thoughts and my other hour is spent listening to the Economist magazine. I download the magazine onto my Iphone and listen hands free in my car via Bluetooth. By Friday, I am done with the weekly issue, I feel a sense of accomplishment, I know what is going on in the world and usually, I have learned something new. What a great combination!
Identify the gap that you have in your life. What is missing?
Use your commute to fill that gap. If it’s exercise then walk or bike, if it’s connection send emails, if it’s learning there are many online courses, there are great inspirations through TED talks, if its relaxation listen to a meditation app. Find what it is that you want more of in your life and integrate it into your commute and enjoy a bit of “me time.”
Everyone loves a nice gift! What is yours?
Last week was an incredibly busy week and felt like I was speeding everywhere to get things done (I even wonder if that caused my flat tire). I was making some quick decisions and taking some risks as I ticked off the boxes from my list. “Slow down,” I heard a little voice inside me say.
This Easter long weekend, my daily pace slowed down by 80% and I found myself yawning, staring into space, empty thoughts, lounging and simply enjoying being with my family in our house in the countryside. As I opened the curtains one morning, three deers grazed close by and for a few minutes, my world went into slow-motion and it was simply lovely. Actually, I then noticed that many hours during the weekend simply went into slow motion. My curiosity turned to speed and I wondered is it worth the risks, the stress, the exhaustion?
With speed and risk, we get things done, we build, we achieve, we fail and we learn. We feel the adrenaline, excitement, anxiety, confidence and fear and with this, we seem to gain even more speed and want more.
As we speed from one thing to the next, how much are we living “in the moment?” How can slowing down influence our lives, our health, our careers, our relationships and our risks? Most times, we don’t even realise how many opportunities we missed or how many people we have hurt unintentionally because we are speeding. Doing, doing, doing and what about being, being being NOW? Awareness, laughing, smiling, breathing, listening, noticing, sharing, loving, crying, smelling.
Imagine your life just 10% slower, what would that look like? Now imagine your life 50% slower.
After a long weekend, I challenge you to be “now, in the moment” for 20 minutes and watch one of my favorite TED talks by Carl Honore’s “In Praise of Slowness.” A good reminder for us all and goal to aim for.
What keeps you from slowing down and what is that risk to you?
(c) 2017 Anna Jankovich, all rights reserved.