Whistle While you Hustle (Thoughts on Education & Growth)

The study of the growth mindset opens new territories on how our belief systems mold our abilities and certainly give an open space to rethink education and what we are teaching in our classrooms. 

The study of the growth mindset opens new territories on how our belief systems mold our abilities and certainly give an open space to rethink education and what we are teaching in our classrooms. 

While the “not yet” strategy certainly helps us grow and dig deeper in every aspect, there will be only so much we can do if we don’t adapt our learning spaces and culture. A growth mindset switch should also come with a BIG change on how and where we learn and impact the evolution of what we know today as schools. 

As an adult I have been faced with certain situations where I wish I would have been prepared for: how to do my taxes, how to ask for a loan among other things that come up in adult life and in that instant I realized that the education system should not only teach children to be book smart but to go outside in the real world and be street smart as well, there are lots of things you don´t learn in a classroom and should be able to teach ourselves once we are done with elementary, high school, university and so on. 

Growth does not stop with a degree and we should be able to know our areas or opportunity in life to set ourselves for success, by going further and not sticking to our standard fixed mindset. I remember how X talks in X about success and how certain people that we know and respect today were not successful by chance but by having an advantage, either where they grew up, how much they practiced or even being part of the top age percentile in their soccer team. 

After reading what became one of my favorite books I discovered that it is up to each one of us to set ourselves up for success by creating our own competitive advantage. 

Learning by experience creates stronger brain connections and if we are conscious of our “not yets” and “yets” we can give focus on deciding what we need to grow on. 

Education should be designed to create emotional intelligence within students and an environment of constant change and growth. Classrooms should be open spaces, courses should be up to date and focus on what is happening now rather than one, two or even four years ago and students should be able to learn by themselves and know themselves enough to understand how to discover their “not yets” and transform them to “yets”

Osho stated in one of his teachings that self-love is the most important thing humans need to learn in order to succeed. Society has taught us that “you should always think of others before you think of yourself” and created a world where we feel guilty when we look within ourselves and invest in ourselves for growth. 

What would happen if from a young age we knew exactly how to strive for better results without feeling guilty or scared? We would be totally in sync with what we have and where we need to work on. 

I wish I had known as a child that practice would help me strive in some of my “not yets” and also I wish I had grown up in a collaborative learning environment where there was less competition within peers to be the “best” and more helping each other grow in different areas.

Today there is some things I can´t change about the education environment where I spent my early years but I can certainly make a switch to where I go next and how I learn.  My mindset has definitely changed within the years where I know there is nothing I can´t learn to do. It might take a year, a decade to become my best at something but working towards success also helps me grow in many other ways. 

I travel to learn about culture, I know that work is my biggest classroom up until now, I ask strangers or friends for advice on things I need help to work on and invest in me by knowing that if I work had enough I might just get to “yet” sooner than later.

“Life is an open ended question and as soon as we know the answer the question changes.”

Education must strive to make the shift from just analytical thinking to make space for creative insight and give students more opportunities for uniqueness and growth. Creative insight is not an exotic type of thought reserved for the few. This is one ability that defines our species and its important for adapting to different circumstances. 

Whenever you suddenly realize how to pay for that new car, why your sibling has distanced from you or how to set your self up for that huge promotion you are having a creative insight. This concept goes hand in hand with the growth mentality, one cannot exist without the other. 

The products of insight are pervasive. We are surrounded not only by its technological and scientific achievements, but also need it for growth by connecting information through experience and practice to create something bigger than we ever imagined. 

Each insight we have throughout our lives are a stepping stone for personal development and we should be taught to identify these opportunities and build on them to get to the “yets”. 

Researcher Timothy Carey and colleagues recently examined the idea that insights can be shortcuts to change and develop strengths that shift the way we think. That “aha” moment where some idea comes up does not happen out of the blue. Our brain stores information and is analyzing it every second and this important moment that changes the way were think happens when our brain connects two or more thoughts into one and finds enough importance in this new idea for it to surface as an epiphany. 

How to modify education as a seed for change?

Insight and changing our mindset to a growth one as Carol Dweck proposes is just one step into a deeper learning realm that can mold the kids of tomorrow. 

We have to understand how our brain works to create programs that flow with how we learn and discover the world.

On a first step we need to teach an immersion processes where humans can focus on the problem: the facts, use the tools at their disposal and define their goals. 

Knowing that before we solve any problem we first have to study it profoundly is one of the most important things in life. 

The next step would be to embrace “impasse”, get comfortable with that moment when you feel stuck and don´t know how to proceed. In the fixed mindset this is where we would give up and say “this is not for me” but it is the most important step for learning, because of what comes after.

Normally when we are in the immersion process and hit an impasse what are brain needs is “diversion” to flow and break away from the problem. Creating diversions for students can be of great importance to help them go further and discover more. This is when real life experiences come into the equation. 

At some point the diversion is interrupted by an “aha moment” that interjects the solution and changes the way we think about a concept or situation entering the stage of “illumination” that can help us reach “yet” and higher levels of achievement. 

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