M Marzuki Mohamed
The Mindset for Growth
What were your initial reactions when the COVID-19 Pandemic came upon us? Were you shocked or stunned? Were you anxious or scared? After these initial reactions, what were your responses? What were you thinking about? What did you start doing?
When news first broke out about the virus, I was quite alarmed at how infectious and how severe it was. I anticipated that it would spread globally. However, I was still shocked at the extent of the pandemic. The disease was a disruptor; both medically and economically. So how do I deal with it?
The way that we deal with change depends largely on our default ways of thinking; our mindset. Due to the increasingly rapid changes happening all around us, what we need most is the Growth Mindset. A growth mindset is simply the belief that our basic abilities can be developed and improved through dedication and hard work. With that belief, we view change and disruptions as challenges to be overcome. It becomes exciting and enjoyable, despite the risks because we value the learning and growth that comes as a result of the change. In contrast, a person having a fixed mindset sees problems and becomes stuck because of the fear of making mistakes.
How do I apply this growth mindset under the current circumstances?
In the context of medical health, I choose to follow procedures given by the medical authority. However, in the context of business and profession, I started looking for options. The MCO effectively torpedoed my previous strategies and so I need to look for new ones, fast.
With the circumstances being volatile and uncertain, I need to be more observing and perceiving of the situations. I need to forgo my previous notions and ideas because those relate to the previous normal. We are moving into a new normal. So, I follow the latest news and developments, not just about the pandemic but more about society, technology, business, trends, finance and economy.
I am more prone to being reflective when it comes to situations. In this scenario, I decided to be more active about what can I do right now and proactive about what I can do now about the future.
It does me no good being pessimistic in my thinking about what I have lost and what I will never have. I decided to think about the possibilities and new opportunities that the new normal will bring. Thinking this way creates hope for a brighter future.
I make do with what I have and get the most out of it; optimising. Things don't need to be perfect, I can perfect it along the way.
By making these shifts, I noticed that I feel optimistic and upbeat in my mood. I push myself for higher levels of productivity every day; whether I'm researching, planning or implementing. I am counting my blessings and the progress I am making. Do I still feel worried and anxious about the disease and the economic impact? Yes, I still do. However, whenever I experience those bouts of uncertainty, I drive my focus towards options, perceiving, active, optimistic and optimising.
How about you? Will it be useful for you to have a growth mindset?
I hope some of what I shared about is useful for you. If you find some usefulness, please let someone else know as well. They might find some use for themselves too. Being useful is what brings meaning to my life and I am grateful for that.
M Marzuki Mohamed
Photo: The rising sun silhouettes a girl walking to school symbolises the bright future awaiting us when we use the growth mindset. (Palapye, Botswana. 2018)