If you tune into social media, especially LinkedIn, you are bound to see an inspirational catch phrase about how important it is to stay positive and never give up. We are all working towards some goal in our life, either personally or professionally. And while it’s nice to see an inspirational message pop up as you scroll through your social media feeds, it’s more important to have a plan on how you hope to get from where you are now, to where you want to go.
But how do we do that? How do we grow and stretch and live with that uncomfortable feeling that goes along with trying to learn something new. According to some scientific research done by Dr. Carol Dweck of Stanford University, it’s all about the mindset.
Since childhood, many of us have received the message that we are “good” at math or we are “bad” in science. We have told ourselves that we can only excel in one or maybe two areas in our life; and maybe the people around us have given us the same message.
And while we do find that some concepts or tasks are easier than others, we really do have the ability to learn and master just about anything!
Researchers have proven that the brain is like a muscle; that the more you use it the more it grows. They’ve found that neural connections form and deepen most when we make mistakes doing difficult tasks rather than repeatedly having success with easy ones.
So it’s incumbent upon us all to make the decision to tackle something that we’d never thought possible. Learn a new language. Sign up for a commuter science course. Take dancing lessons. If you’ve been putting off furthering your education because you think you’re just not smart enough, now’s the time to put all your doubts and fears aside. Will it be hard? Absolutely. Will it take perseverance and a strong constitution? Most assuredly. But you can take comfort in knowing that there is a large body of scientific evidence which proves that the more you struggle, the more you grow.
It’s no different when you start a new job or you are looking to advance your career. You must always be looking for ways to grow your skill set and make yourself invaluable to your employer. Even if you end up switching jobs or careers, you will have succeeded in advancing your long term employability.
Every employer wants to see employees who are willing to innovate and take the lead. Surround yourself with those you wish to emulate. Learn to view the struggle as less painful and more thought provoking and challenging. And most importantly, never give up.