Mindsets to Thrive in 2023

This agility and ability to switch between mindsets are what will set you apart from everyone around you and enable you to thrive in any given condition.

Mukesh Gupta
Mukesh Gupta

In the past few weeks, we have seen organizations announce massive layoffs (more than 150000 people have been let go in the past 3 months alone.

On the other hand, organizations complain that they are unable to find and retain good talent.

We have also seen AI tools that are so good, that it can maybe write better than me on many topics, AI engines that can create beautiful images from text, AI engines that can create a video advertisement or write sales copy.

We also see Robotic process automation software that can automate many routine tasks, and low code/no code platforms that anyone can use to build software applications without much knowledge of coding.

This is the world that I predicted when I wrote my book “Thrive - Mindsets and Skillsets you need to succeed in a world dominated by Smart Machines and Intelligent Algorithms .

I just didn’t realize that the future that I predicted would come so soon.

In this post, I would like to share a series of videos that I created around the mindsets that we need to thrive in our current environment.

Mindset 101: The Power of Mindset

We will start with an introduction to Mindsets and why it is important to learn about mindsets and the impact they have on our lives. We will discuss the work of Carol Dweck about Fixed and Growth Mindset and learn how to develop the "Growth Mindset". We will also understand which mindset do we default to.

This is the first in the series and talks about the mindsets at a very high level. The reason I am creating these videos is to be in service to all of us and reflect again on what it means to be living and working in the world that we occupy. While survival is crucial, it is in human nature to aim to Thrive! So, this holiday season, let's reflect together, on what would it take for us as a collective, to not just survive but Thrive.

We will explore the importance of having the right mindset for any given situation, in order to make the most of what comes your way.

In this post, I would like to share a series of videos that I created around the mindsets that we need to thrive in our current environment.

Yes And Mindset - The Power of Acceptance

The first and most important mindset that we need to learn and develop is the Yes And mindset. The power of this mindset comes from accepting what has happened. We will use the concepts from Improvisational Comedy to learn how to develop this mindset.

This is the mindset of an improvisational actor. In reality, we are all improv actors, doing improvisation all through our days and throughout our lives. We are put in a situation and expected to respond.

Just like in improvisational comedy, if we don't accept what came before, we don't much have control over what comes next. One of the things that improv artists practice a lot about is to avoid using "BUT" or negating what their partner said, however absurd it was.

Sometimes it is these absurdities make for a lot of fun and sometimes it makes for a lot of deep philosophical thinking and sometimes doesn't lead anywhere. But we need to give it a chance to turn into something beautiful and we can only do that once we accept what came before.

Within acceptance lies the seeds of change & transformation, which when tended well can result in a healthy tree that fruits!!! Answer the questions - So What and Now What and knowing fully that there are No Mistakes In Life!

Designers Mindset: The Power of Imagination

This mindset is all about divergent and convergent thinking. There are situations in life when we need to apply the designer's mindset. The underlying power of this mindset comes from our ability to imagine and create.

There are three key insights that we can learn from #Designers that can help us #Thrive in the current world:

1. Playing with Constraints: If there is one thing that designers do really well, it is how they engage with constraints. In every design challenge, they are faced with constraints. And good designers not only deal with #constraints but also impose constraints on themselves, to get more creative and innovative designs.

2. Form follows Function: All good designers follow this dictum. In my conversations with good designers, they always understand that function comes first but that doesn’t reduce the importance of the form. If the function is not accessible via good for, there is no adoption of the function. So, both parts of the equation are equally important, just that one comes before the other. The simplest #design that enables function is the best design.

3. Options not answers: Designers always believe in #exploration. They understand and believe that there are #NoRIGHTAnswers, only #ViableOptions. So, use #divergent and #convergent thinking to explore multiple options for any given problem that they are trying to solve for. So, how can we cultivate the designers mindset?

Find time to be curious about the designs we encounter in our day-to-day interactions.

Entrepreneur's Mindset: The Power of Initiative

This mindset is all about initiative and problem-solving. This is also about seeing opportunities where others only see problems. This is also about minimizing risk to increase the probability of success in whatever journey we want to go on.

This key insight of this mindset is the belief that “there is a seed of opportunity in every situation” & entrepreneurs look for it and nurture it.

Just like the seeds of nature, some come forth and fruit quicker than others, some of them take some time and some never germinate at all, so do these seeds of opportunities. They know this well.

There are a few more traits of #entrepreneurs that I share as well.

1. They are comfortable making decisions with incomplete information.

2. They have a bias for action.

3. They are comfortable with ambiguity.

4. They understand that success and failure are both impermanent & deal with them accordingly.

5. They have the ability to create buy-in for their opportunities, enroll them, and move them.

6. They are natural change agents.

7. They challenge conventional norms.

8. They bring in an outside perspective.

9. They find and mitigate risks to keep moving forward.

I know that a lot of us today are either by choice or by force embarking on a journey of a solopreneur or a freelance consultant or starting our own venture. Knowing these traits and imbibing them when needed will go a long way to shaping our future.

I also believe that we are moving from an era of employees (industrial economy) to an era of owners (gig economy) and an #entrepreneursmindset will go a long way in enabling a successful transition.

Scientist's Mindset: The Power of Inquiry

This key insight of this mindset is the belief that “Hypothesis is True until proven otherwise". The scientific process has been responsible for the tremendous amount of progress we have made as a society in the past couple of centuries.

The typical scientific process is as follows:

1. A scientist makes an observation (usually a deviance from what is expected) and is curious about why it occurred.

2. (S)he makes a hypothesis as to what was the cause of this occurrence.

3. Design an experiment to test the hypothesis. They try everything possible to prove the hypothesis wrong and when all fails,

4. Shares the insight with others in the community so they can replicate and test the validity of the hypothesis.

5. If the others are unable to prove the hypothesis to be false, everyone accepts the hypothesis and explains the behavior and it becomes a part of the knowledge bank upon which others build on.

6. Now, this is true until someone comes along and proves the hypothesis wrong. Then the entire process is repeated again.

Now, the question you may ask is how is this relevant for us mere mortals who are not scientists. Here is how it matters.

We routinely come across situations where we observe something that is out of the ordinary. We think about what could be the cause for this and more often than not believe the first thing that we could attribute the observation to and make further decision basis this assumption.

This is probably the single biggest mistake that most of us do and which leads to more failure than we can imagine. If only we used the scientist's mindset and be open to the idea that our hypothesis needs to be tested and done so rigorously until we are able to really understand the reason for the observation, we could avoid a significant number of mistakes.

Another important thing about the scientist's mindset is the following - It is the hypothesis is right or wrong and not us.

By creating this separation between us and the hypothesis, we are able to quickly discard the hypothesis if it turns out to be wrong. So, when you observe something out of the ordinary, please stop and bring the scientist's mindset to the situation and avoid making costly assumptions.

Toddler's Mindset: The Power of Curiosity & Play

In this video, I talk about how developing a “Toddler’s mindset” is critical to Thrive.

Karen Adolph in her research found out that toddlers fall an average 17 times per hour when they learn to walk.

One of my insights from her research about why toddlers continue to keep trying despite the falls is the significant changes to their field of vision when they are sitting to crawling to walking. This gives them more things to explore and play with.

Also, even when they fall, the baby's fat and the physics of their body ensure that they are generally not hurt a lot. At least not enough when compared to the benefits they get from being able to walk.

Similarly, once machines and algorithms start to learn they never stop unless we stop them. Most of them continue to feed on the data being generated and continue to be trained. So, the question we need to ask ourselves is "why should we stop learning?"

We need to strive to maintain a balance between our learning to doing ratio such that it is always in balance. Our ability to learn to work with machines and algorithms would be critical to thrive in the world that we are living in.

Let’s adopt the toddler’s mindset and continue to learn as toddlers do.

Philosopher's Mindset: The Power of Deliberation & Reflection

In this video, I talk about the importance of developing a “Philosopher’s Mindset’.

As someone wise once said, it is simple and well-known how to lay a road, but the question about where to place that road is a much more complex question to answer. This needs someone who can ponder and reflect upon all the nitty-grittiest and with the ability to understand and influence all the different stakeholders involved.

This is what adopting a philosopher's mindset allows us to do. This mindset helps us build and hold multiple perspectives at the same time.

This ability to see multiple perspectives and then pick the one that best suits the situation is going to be critical in a world that is changing at a rapid pace.

A Philosopher's mindset also allows us to not only share what we think but also be open to changing our own perspective by being open to others' perspectives. This is a uniquely human ability. And in the world we are living in, this ability is super important to do well.

Athlete's Mindset: The Power of Deliberate Practice

In this video, I talk about the importance of developing an “Athlete’s Mindset”. The motto of this mindset is the following: “Deliberate Practice is the womb in which high performance is birthed”.

Here are some learnings from high-performing athletes go about honing their craft:

- Professional Athletes know the importance of training their body and mind and doing so together.

- They understand the importance of having a coach who can help them improve their game.

- They understand the importance of staying humble as they may be world champions one day and be knocked out the next.

- They understand the importance of practice or workouts - both for their physical and mental strengths.

- They obsess about the minute details of their performance. They practice them in low stake situations so much that they are able to develop an instinct for them.

- They also understand that not all situations are the same. They realize the presence of high-stakes situations and are able to elevate their performance at the right time to have the maximum impact.

These qualities will go a long way in helping us perform at our human best!

Actor's Mindset: The Power of Observation

In this video, I share about the importance of developing an actor’s mindset. Any good actor has the gift of observation and imitation.

They use this skill to not only observe how people behave but also how they express their feelings. They then have the ability to mix and match these observations into a coherent character that they can bring alive.

They also have learned how to express an emotion without letting it sway them.  This emotional regulation is a great advantage for them. This allows them to experience empathy for the character they are playing.

They also understand that their lives are a series of projects and that each project has within itself the seeds for success or failure. Their work is play, literally. So, they do great work when they enjoy the work that they are doing. So picking projects and teams that they will enjoy working with becomes important. They also understand that projects can succeed or fail.

They also understand the importance of teamwork. They need a team (of make-up artists, writers, producers, technicians, directors, PR professionals, agents, etc) in order to succeed in their craft.

We would benefit from developing the actor's mindset and building our very own team, thinking in terms of projects, and treating success and failure as the success and failures of our projects and learning from them.

In Conclusion:

In conclusion, I will only say that these different mindsets are like different tools that we have in our mental toolbox. We need to sharpen each one of these tools and keep them ready for us.

We need to learn to be able to identify the situation we are facing at any given moment and based on that identify which mindset will be most useful to respond to the situation and develop the ability to adopt that mindset or mindsets.

This agility and ability to switch between mindsets are what will set you apart from everyone around you and enable you to thrive in any given condition.

The wait is finally over! Head over to https://openexo.com/book to read the final draft of Exponential Organizations 2.0!
MindsetImpactReflectionAIAlgorithmsCuriosityEntrepreneurs & IntrapreneursDesign Thinking

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Mukesh is a coach, mentor, advisor and an author. His expertise lies in leadership in general and leading transformations (personal, professional and organisational) in particular.