How I got #homeschooled by my kid during lockdown
The Lessons learned
The lockdown has given me time to spend with my 1-year old daughter and 4-year-old son. I have admired how they are free to think, move and create. Unconditional and unapologetic, curious and demanding, relentless and undeterred. Something we have forgotten to be as adults. We have forgotten what it's like not having a goal in mind. We have forgotten how to learn. We have developed a fixed mindset.
Learning from a 1 & 4-year-old is humbling. I rediscovered the meaning of the word ‘yet’.
My son has always been a problem solver. Teachers often mentioned this about him and other than secretly being proud I didn't make much of it! But during the lockdown I had plenty of time to observe him and finally understood what they really meant. No matter how many times he may have got a puzzle wrong, he didn’t see it as failure; he saw it as learning. He just hadn’t figured out how to solve it yet. Like many kids, he also has, a growth mindset, as described by Dr Carol Dweck, Professor of Psychology at Stanford University.
Children are born with a growth mindset which allows them to care about the process of learning, rather than finishing a task. It is this understanding and application of “not yet” that appeals to me as an entrepreneur of a start-up because as adults we tend to bring a fixed mindset to the business. Believing that your qualities are carved in stone — the fixed mindset— creates an urgency to prove yourself over and over. In adult world, every situation calls for a confirmation of our intelligence, personality, or character. Every situation is evaluated: Will I succeed or fail? Will I look smart or dumb? Will I be accepted or rejected? Will I feel like a winner or a loser?
Whilst it is exciting to set out on your own business journey, it is a rude awakening when you realise that you've been approaching all your decisions with a fixed mindset. And the world suddenly shrinks.
However, viewing a business's success or failure through the prism of a growth mindset is incredibly freeing. Rather than feeling trapped in a role or feeling limited by circumstance or being frightened of failure, we need to approach these feelings or stumbling blocks from a not yet perspective, like a child does. That forces you to find solutions and keep moving forward, sometimes ending up where you least imagined. But, nonetheless, exciting and motivating.
More I read about this more I’m convinced that the idea of a growth mindset is a catalyst for achievement in kids and adults as long as we keep it. So, as adults, how can we break this nexus of self doubt and reach our business potential through a growth mindset and go back to how nature intended?
Whilst you can google many methods and tips, here are some I choose to apply to help my growth and that of my flourishing little start up:
- Recognize that you have a choice. We have both fixed and growth in our mind. Choose growth.
- Know why you are doing what you are doing. Play to stay in the game not struggle to achieve hard goals.
- Stop seeking approval of others. While having 10k+ followers, 1000s of likes and 100s of comments is encouraging, we need to stop worrying if others are looking at our progress. Chances are, nobody is.
- Learn something new every day. Successful entrepreneurs dedicate time each and every day to learning. Each day building denser neurons, each day building new neural pathways in their brain that allow them to be better. That’s how they realise that failures and setbacks are part of the process.
- Value the process over the end result. Enjoy the learning process, it has lots to offer.
- Acknowledge and embrace imperfections. Hiding from your weaknesses means you’ll never overcome them.
- And finally, use the word “yet". Whenever I'm struggling with a task, I tell myself I just haven’t mastered it yet, just like my son does without even realising. It completely changes the outlook going from one of dejection to that of optimism.
This idea, of course, isn’t new, you can probably find it in many self help books. But what makes it interesting for me is that having spent 9 weeks and counting confined at home with my two little ones did that work for me. It showed how our ‘original’ mind – or better the developing mind — works, identifying not only the core drivers of those mindsets but also how we can continue having that mindset instead of succumbing to the cynicism adulthood brings with it.
The best is yet to come.