How to develop your Adaptable Mindset
We help Fortune 500 companies, innovative schools, and individuals who want to make a change by helping them to develop their Adaptable Mindset. Years of applying our methodology in practical real-life situations have brought us to the following guidelines.
The good news is, Adaptability is easy to achieve. All our minds start in a state of plasticity and we are all able to get back to that state.
What happens, when you grow older is that you generally have fewer new impulses, you start to do more of the same, and during your life, you gather fears and beliefs that masquerade as immutable truths. One of the many reasons why you lose your Adaptability.
How to expand your mind to find new possibilities? How to create brain space, how to keep your sanity in our distractive always on world?
We need a holistic approach that also helps us connect to our own intrinsic motivation. We need ways to modulate stress and filters the noise, for better decision-making.
Change your environment for yourself and others to flourish.
An Adaptable Mindset has proven to bring higher creative and innovative output, creates more resilience, and an overall happier more meaningful life. Let’s find out how to get there.
Expand your frame of mind
The frames of your mind define what you perceive to be possible. If you expand your frame of mind you can find more possibilities.
With the Adaptable Mindset program, one of the ways how we achieve this is by exposing ourselves to all the beauty in the world. The moments where people create otherworldly things, or when nature amazes us. We focus on the moments when things pull us out of our regular frame of mind. This can be through art, nature, philosophy, design, science, and tech, whatever resonates with you. The things that have always driven humanity forward and empowered us to think differently.
Use what inspires you as a driving force.
What pushes the boundaries? Great innovators like Jobs and Musk applied the same practice. For Steve Jobs, it was this typography class, for Elon Musk it’s gaming and Asimov’s Foundation trilogy. For Zhang Ruimin it’s nature. This GPT3 empowered virtual avatar could also spark your curiosity.
We expose ourselves to such inspiration, not just because it makes life worth living but also because we need such inspiration to develop our mental flexibility. The more registers we can find inspiration from, the more flexibility we will develop.
Once we connect with what drives us, we will automatically make learning fun, easy and continuous.
We have a few fantastic exercises that work really well to find what inspires you and the people you work with.
You might be thinking I’m already too stressed out and my head is overflowing. I don’t have time for this! I don’t need more information, I need less.
We agree. It’s also important to be able to Adapt your mind to stay sane in a hectic and distracted world. You might need to first be able to filter the noise and learn how to create Brain Space.
Adapt to stay sane in a distracted world
To keep your sanity and make informed decisions it’s essential to be able to filter the noise and modulate how you react to things. As you surely experienced our always-on world is quite demanding.
You can follow the how to filter the noise module here for free.
In this module, we explore actionable ways to adapt and filter the noise.
Now, let’s learn more about the necessity of brain space 🧠.
Create brain space
Forty-hour workweeks are a relic of the past, they originate from the era of factory work in the times of Henry Ford. For the creativity and innovation that we need in this era, you need to take care of both your inspiration and know how to create brain space, make it a part of your work.
Creating space from work is actually a necessity, as this improves your wellbeing and seemingly paradoxically empowers you to do better at the work you are taking a distance from.
A relaxed and spacious mind also allows for new ideas to be explored; with an active, occupied mind we come up with familiar thoughts, more of the same.
When you are able to create space and let your mind wander, when you allow the neural networks to rummage around, it can comb through our huge database that is stored in our brain combining concepts that would otherwise go unrecognized.
It allows you to come up with more profound solutions for the complex challenges we face. Read more here.
Take care of mind and body
A weak system full of stress is difficult to work with.
Stress can reduce the thinking brain by 80%. It shuts off the brain regions that handle rational thinking, decision making, memory, and objective evaluation. Imagine having to adapt and come up with new ideas when under stress, that’s a tough challenge.
Let’s make it easier on ourselves to be able to Adapt and come up with solutions.
There’s quite a lot you can do and this should be part of your practice.
You can go into nature, did you know a forest walk lowers the heart rate, blood pressure, reduces stress hormone production in the brain which helps create a clear mind.
Or practice a different form of reflective practice like meditation or Yoga. Meditation is associated with acute improvements in stress, mindfulness, and cognitive flexibility. Yoga is also a great way to create brain space. Did you know Yoga has the ability to ‘reverse’ DNA reactions caused by stress?
Exercise is also great to take care of your own well-being.
Find what suits you, put it in your calendar, now might be the best time to do that. Notice that when you are out of balance you are probably not taking care enough of your mind and body.
Another thing you can do is to re-frame how you experience stress.
Re-frame how you experience stress.
Adapt your brain to like certain forms of stress like uncertainty and ambiguity, through such reframing and reprogramming you can reduce stress and push through. A technique taken from the Stanford Neurobiology lab.
When your goal is to release a new app, finish your dissertation, or run a marathon. The next time you feel stress, tension, or uncertainty, for example when you put your shoes on when it’s raining and you don’t want to go out for a run.
Every time you move towards your goal and you experience friction. Have a micro celebration and say to yourself -> "I'm on the right path."
After a while, your brain will connect dopamine release to the effort process. Giving you a constant flow of energy to continue pushing through, even through friction. You could also say: you’ll flow through friction.
It’s important to know that this motivation should come from you internally and not from external sources. Because when the motivation falls away. Data shows you might stop altogether.
In this case, you are your own best coach and you can reprogram your brain.
Look at the context you are in
Change the environment, change people.
According to a new intellectual framework in psychiatry, the social environment affects the ways in which your genetic predispositions are expressed. What we used to think, that your DNA is fixed and defines how you act and think, is wrong.
Even people who might have a low “natural” tendency towards curiosity become more curious if placed in a supportive environment with strong healthy relationships and encouragement to reflect and be self-aware. If the social environment is safe and supportive, the genes that encode dopamine receptors are turned on. With more receptors, the sense of intrinsic reward from discovery and curiosity is greater.
You want curiosity as this is the natural antidote to fear and allows you to try out new things.
The environment you create is very important, we deliberately say create as many people feel they have no influence over their environment.
It's essential to move away from a mindset where you believe you don’t have control over your environment and that things happen to you. Move towards a mindset that finds possibilities and ways to change the environment.
We often hear people’s lives are too busy, there’s no room for failure, no time to think.
Let’s first, validate if your assumptions are correct.
Second, what can you do to start creating change?
Can you carve out 1 hour of creative work every day?
Do you really have to accept every meeting request?
Are there different ways to make decisions online than by having meetings?
It’s about living life in the realm of possibilities.
You can use the following questions to reflect.
How might you create more time? It switches your mind to find possibilities.
Talk with your friends, family, and teammates about how might we cases. You’ll find that many people have the same kind of needs, come up with solutions together.
How well you adapt in life depends on how much you believe you have agency over your environment. Just try it.
However, it’s not strange to think you can’t control your environment. Almost everyone thinks that. Everyone has preconceptions of what they think can and can’t be done.
Assess your preconceptions
Our childhood, our failures, combined with our social media-driven world has pushed us into our own filter bubbles, narrowed our ways of seeing. In return, we get a loss of imagination and the inability to take a different perspective, which creates rigid and simplistic actions.
Luckily you can actively seek out other opinions, perspectives, and train your Adaptable Mindset.
Some practical questions and actions you can do during the day are.
How might this argument look from the other person’s perspective?
When new opinions or technology surfaces play with the idea. — try it on for size,— look at it from a dozen different angles, argue to yourself that it is true and then argue that it is untrue. This way of thinking will undoubtedly create more opportunities for you than dismissing new ideas from the start.
To train the ability to be open to new things is essential in a world that is constantly changing. We see it as a competitive advantage to be able to switch perspectives and keep the openness of mind in business. Just having that skill, that muscle is extremely valuable.
Also, remember that changing your opinion is not a weakness. It’s logical to update your findings when you have found new data.
Can you uphold seemingly conflicting ideas and arguments? So you can better analyze and come up with solutions.
Make these questions part of your vocabulary, upload them into your mental software.
You will train yourself to be able to see the world from different perspectives. It will change the way you view life and you will be able to see more opportunities.
These are just a few tools that you can use to chip away at your own preconceptions.
Rember, this is a process.
These tools give you the ability to change perspective, objectively view opinions from multiple angles, and consciously decide with which one you want to continue.
Find what inspires, what makes you curious, what drives you. Use that as a starting point for learning and to develop more perspectives.
Learn how to filter the noise and modulate your nervous system for better decision-making.
Be aware of your context and preconceptions, take steps to improve them.
All of this can be achieved in a fun and playful way, that fits with you.
If you want to learn more you can, of course, fly solo, or you can join the online program.
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