Indra Nooyi quotes being a lifelong student as one of the big lessons she learnt as the CEO of PepsiCo. She stated in her interview after stepping down as CEO, “Our world is changing rapidly around us and if you want to continue to thrive, you’ll need to continuously educate yourself. Listen to podcasts, search Google – however you do it, make ongoing education a priority.”
It’s not just Indra, world leaders like J. F. Kennedy insisted that “Leadership and learning are indispensable to each other.”
Ask any working individual and in theory, they all will agree to having a learning mindset. However, when we try to put it into practice, the execution falters somewhat. Hence, it is important to not just be open to the idea of a learning mindset but to make conscious efforts toward adopting it.
Here is what you can do.
From To-Do lists to To-learn lists
“The urgency of work invariably trumps the luxury of learning. Our biggest excuse is our daily work-life. We are exhausted, numb and often tired to engage in a learning activity. But learning does not have to be mundane, it could be fun too.” Savita Vivek works is an architect in a competitive firm that works across multiple states and is a compulsive to-do list maker. She is constantly jotting down in her to-learn list – concepts, articles, recipes, the list is quite expansive. Savita declares that “the creative high in mastering a new technique or recipe or learning a new architectural concept gives her a boost. It strengthens her self-confidence and her ability to flex her mind muscles. Then there is always the bonus of staying relevant.”
Create your own timebox
Mythili Ramachandran works as a Product Automation Manager at Fidelity Investments. Mythili claims that learning is an inherent trait of her personality. She is learning to build Legos and new braid styles at home with her kids while also learning Market risk analysis and portfolio management strategies at work. She emphasizes the importance of setting time limits, saying, “The beginning of the year is a great time to chart out your learning goals for the rest of the year. There have been times when I have scheduled exams well ahead to motivate myself to attain the learning goal but that might seem too aggressive for some. But have a checkpoint and hold yourself accountable otherwise this would quickly become a pipe dream.”
Growth mindset starts early
“We are constantly pushing our children out of their comfort zones. When my son was content painting landscapes (and he was good at it), I signed him up for a soccer program. When he was scoring goals, we switched him to ice hockey. While I vehemently believed that as a child, he could learn these skills and mould his personality, I did not stick to the same yardstick for myself. I claimed that I sucked at people management and yet never tried to get better at it. It is very important for us to shatter the thought that the IQ and skills we developed at a young age are the only ones that will stay with us. So, I’m constantly learning new topics that are out of my comfort zone yet still beneficial. For example, I recently undertook a class in digital photography only to understand the effects of natural light, an important construct in architecture”, declares Savita.
A research conducted on high school students in the US reveals that the growth mindset fosters achievement. Believing that every skill can be attained through disciplined learning and chasing it down is a sure sign of staying relevant and successful. It also boosts your morale and keeps your mind constantly engaged.
“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.” – Mahatma Gandhi.