Become devoid to gain totality
Reflecting back on the last 2 weeks here at business school, I would say that one thing that has had the most impact on my learning experience has been the ability to check in pre-conceptions and ideas at the door. I would compare it with … the experience in learning different systems of martial arts.
You may say that a Karateka coming in to a different style of say Wing Chun kung fu would have to “unlearn” an awful lot of their pre-existing skills in order to learn new ones. I would suggest that this is more of “parking” their old style in the background while letting a new skill take up the foreground. Because that’s a lot of knowledge to waste! A far better way would be to integrate the new skills with the old skills, to use the old skills to achieve new things. This is how I’ve approached my MBA classes.
The importance of a growth mentality
One of the readings set to us in our “Managing and Developing People” course challenged us to take a long, hard look within ourselves. And to ask ourselves whether we held a “fixed” mindset or a “growth” mindset.
The “fixed” mindset is one where people accept their talents and abilities as being hereditary. That no matter how hard they push, they would not be able to move that needle and increase their skills.
On the other hand – the “growth” mindset is one where people accept that through concentrated effort – that they can improve their skills. And when you observe young kids trying out new things – you might observe this in action.
For me, one of the most poignant moments when I saw this contrast was in Batman. Remember this quote from Batman Begins: “Why do we fall? So that we might learn to pick ourselves up”. The growth mentality will tell us that it is not about never falling – but it is about never failing to pick yourself up after you fall.