Breakthrough Research on the Power of Belonging

Tons of research has documented how important belonging and being connected socially on our happiness and productivity. (Maslow made it one of his hierarchies of needs). Being social and feeling included is critical to our growth and development.

Dr. David Rock, founder of the NeuroLeadership Institute, in his breakthrough research on the Brain has identified the powerful concept of relatedness — feelings of trust, connection, and belonging—as one of the five primary categories (SCARF)five primary categories (SCARF)of social pleasures and pains (along with status, certainty, autonomy, and fairness). Rock’s research shows that the performance and engagement of employees who experience relatedness threats or failures will almost certainly suffer. And in other research, the feeling of working together has indeed been shown to predict greater intrinsic motivation which is known to be the trigger for curiosity, engagement and enjoyment that results in high productivity and a person or team’s very best performance.

 

Mindfulness: Try Creating more FLOW in your Moment to moment Living

Daily Quote: “Contrary to what we usually believe, moments like these, the best moments in our lives, are not the passive, receptive, relaxing times—although such experiences can also be enjoyable, if we have worked hard to attain them. The best moments usually occur when a person’s body or mind is stretched to its limits in a voluntary effort to accomplish something difficult and worthwhile. Optimal experience is thus something that we make happen. For a child, it could be placing with trembling fingers the last blockon a tower she has built, higher than any she has built so far; for a swimmer, it could be trying to beat his own record; for a violinist, mastering an intricate musical passage. For each person there are thousands of opportunities, challenges to expand ourselves…The task is to learn how to enjoy everyday life without diminishing other people’s chances to enjoy theirs.”
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience

“A state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter; the experience is so enjoyable that people will continue to do it even at great cost, for the sheer sake of doing it.”  – Csikszentmihalyi, 1990

Here are some of the characteristics that comprise THE FLOW EXPERIENCE according to Csikszentmihalyi’s.

Characteristics of flow:

  • Complete focus on the task at hand
  • Clarity of goals and reward in mind and immediate feedback
  • Transformation of time (speeding up/slowing down of time)
  • The experience is intrinsically rewarding, has an end itself
  • Effortlessness and ease
  • There is a balance between challenge and skills
  • Actions and awareness are merged, losing self-conscious rumination
  • There is a feeling of control over the task

Who experiences flow?

Interestingly, a capacity to experience flow can differ according to personality. Studies suggest that those with ‘’autotelic personalities’’ tend to experience more flow.

A person with an ‘’autotelic personality’’ tends to do things for their own sake rather than chasing some distant external goal or dream. This type of personality is distinguished by certain meta-skills such as high interest in life, persistence, and helping others.

It can be speculated that negative and critical individuals are more prone to anxiety and being self-centered, which are conditions that can block the state of FLOW. In contrast, servant leaders, responsible, considerate and realistic individuals are more likely to spend time on mastering challenging tasks, which are characteristics important for creating the flow experience.

What happens in the brain?

The state of flow has been rarely investigated from a neuropsychological perspective but is a growing interest. According to Dietrich, it has been associated with decreased activity in the prefrontal cortex.

The prefrontal cortex is an area responsible for higher cognitive functions such as self-reflective consciousness, memory, temporal integration, and working memory. It’s an area that’s responsible for our conscious and explicit mind state.

However, in a state of flow, this area is believed to temporarily down-regulate; a process called transient hypofrontality. This temporary inactivation of the prefrontal area may trigger the feeling of distortion of time, loss of self-consciousness, and loss of inner-critic.

Moreover, the inhibition of the frontal lobe may enable the implicit mind to take over, resulting in more brain areas to communicate freely and engage in a creative process. In other research, it’s also hypothesized that the flow state is related to the brain’s dopamine reward circuitry since curiosity is highly amplified.

Trump Supporters and the Implicit bias frame

Trump supporters who still overlook his most hazardous downsides could be deploying the following implicit bias:

Confirmation Bias–Unconsciously collecting information that supports our original position by triggering implicit bias, or selective attention and perception. Here is a political example of the confirmation bias in action: Employing this bias we tend to seek out information that already conforms to our beliefs and assumptions while ignoring evidence that challenges our points of view. One example would be Trump’s supporters refusing to acknowledge how many times he’s contradicted himself. Think of the time Trump said this: “You [Megyn Kelly] have done a great job, by the way, and I mean it.” and then this: “I have zero respect for Megyn Kelly, I don’t think she’s very good at what she does.” (That is, among other comments about the Fox News anchor’s character.) By ignoring the contradiction, his supporters arrive at the conclusion that “[h]e’s never flip-flopped.”

Weekly Quote and Growth Mindset Challenge

Weekly Quote for Growth Mindset: “Ever more people today have the means to live, but no meaning to live for…We can discover meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating good work or doing a deed for others; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone in a positive way; and (3) by the attitude we take toward life experiences and unavoidable suffering (learning).” Viktor Frankl

Coaching Challenge: Make your meaning by learning something new everyday and making the effort to do the best you can every moment by challenging yourself to overcome difficulties and learn the lessons provide you in every situation and every difficult interaction in life.

5 Tips for Building A Growth Mindset Environment for Learning

Following are five things successful parents, teachers and leaders can do to build a more inclusive and open environment that engages and challenges the status-quo of a “fixed mindset” and supports “growth mindset” principles.

  1. Give power and recognition away to others who are eager to learn and have demonstrated the capacity to handle challenges and accept responsibility for their actions .
  2. Create a favorable environment which encourages curiosity and learning skills.
  3. Don’t always try to save others from pain or disappointment and stop second-guessing others’ decisions and ideas because this causes dependency on others. This type of rescuing behavior undermines self-efficacy and confidence in person’s ability to discover and initiate their imagination and creativity they need to keep growing in positive ways. .
  4. Give others autonomy over their challenges, tasks and resources. To do the best they can so they can learn from mistakes and success.
  5. Communicate with “growth mindset” words and phrases that emphasize effort, taking on challenges, support lessons learned from mistakes and failures, collaborate on how to problem solve and discover new strategies for learning, expose others to models of success, educate people on the concept that the brain is a muscle and can be developed and grow with the right practice and exercise.

Growth Mindset Framework for people who are willing to exercise their leadership in such a way that others are involved and encouraged to discover new ways of learning, create innovations, make decisions, share information, and most importantly learn from their experience. Most people see the value in creating a participatory and discovery climate and are willing to take risks and responsibilities that come with it. If all of us can develop the wisdom to observe, listen and learn from their own experience with certain safety limitations and reasonable boundaries all of us involved and engaged will share in the benefits of a “growth mindset” and a discovery environment.

Want to Grow and Develop in the Face of Fear or Suffering ? Learn from the Sages and Modern Day Research

To be a growth orientated person is a skill that can be learned. It is the basic foundation that underlies what we mean when we speak of having a high IQ or EQ. When we develop the skill of a “Growth Mindset” we actually change the physical structure of the brain. This revelation is based on one of the most exciting scientific discoveries of the last twenty years: How we focus our attention shapes the structure of the brain. Neuroscience has also definitively shown that we can grow these new connections throughout our lives, not just in childhood.

Want to learn how to change personal habits and reach your goals for change even in difficult and painful circumstances?

Everywhere man is confronted with reality of fate, with the chance of achieving something through the challenge of conquering difficult situations and his own suffering. The solution for finding this “inner strength” to overcome present pain and suffering is to focus on better times in the future. For example, when  working as a psychiatrist to the inmates of concentration camps during WWII, Victor Frankl found that the single most important factor in cultivating the kind of “inner hold” that allowed men to survive was teaching them to “hold in the mind’s grip some future goal”. He cites Nietzsche’s, who wrote that “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how,” and admonishes against generalization:

“ Woe to him who saw no more sense in his life, no aim, no purpose, and therefore no point in carrying on. He was soon lost. The typical reply with which such a man rejected all encouraging arguments was, “I have nothing to expect from life any more.” What sort of answer can one give to that”?

What was really needed was a fundamental change in our attitude toward life. We had to learn ourselves and, furthermore, we had to teach the despairing men, that it did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned and challenged by life — daily and hourly. Our answer must consist, not in talk and meditation, but in right action and in right conduct. Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual from moment to moment in life.”

These tasks, and therefore the meaning of life, differ from man to man, and from moment to moment. Thus, it is impossible to define the meaning of life in a general way. Questions about the meaning of life can never be answered by sweeping statements. “Life” does not mean something vague, but something very real and concrete, just as life’s tasks are also very real and concrete. They form man’s destiny, which is different and unique for each individual. No man and no destiny can be compared with any other man or any other destiny. No situation repeats itself, and each situation calls for a different response. Sometimes the situation in which a man finds himself may require him to shape his own fate by action. At other times it is more advantageous for him to make use of an opportunity for contemplation (reflection) and to realize assets in this way. Sometimes man may be required simply to accept fate, to bear his cross. Every situation is distinguished by its uniqueness, and there is always only one right answer to the problem posed by the situation at hand.

Modern Day Research Support:

One modern way to learn how to handle the situation at hand is to understand and use the future planning tool “IF…Then” thinking and planning.

Well over hundred studies on achieving goals reviewed by  Gollwitzer and Paschal Sheeran research (file:///C:/Users/mark/Downloads/HP_Sheeran&Orbell(2000).pdf demonstrate how effective and efficient “if..then” plans are in facing  life challenges and overcoming tough decisions, obstacles of fear  and improving performance to keep on keeping on in the face of difficult situations like pain and suffering.

In a meta-analysis the researchers look at studies on preventative health screening, exercise, eating healthy and dieting, to negotiating and setting other life goals. They found that a person’s positive intention to perform a behavior is the key predictor for changing actual behavior and performance”.  The key elements of success were found to be –setting in advance (intentions) using IF…Then goals for taking specific actions to reach your goal. Remarkably they discovered that the use of “IF… Then” plans and focused intention can triple your chances for successful completion of personal change goals. The aim of the study was to look at the gap between setting intentions ( concept of implementation intentions) and actual behavior of woman coming for cancer screening. For example, they stated their goal of the study was address this problem using Gollwitzer’s (1993;Gollwitzer & Brandstatter, 1997) concept of implementation intentions. In particular, we examine whether intentions to attend for cervical screening that have been supplemented by implementation intentions specifying when, where, and how the appointment will be made improves the likelihood of attendance.

Self- Coaching Challenge: Try using the IF…Then intervention when trying to change habits or reach personal goals

 

Your Children Can Learn Anything: Growth Mindset Basics

Growth Mindset for Parents                                 

Parents need to learn what a growth mindset is, why it’s important, and best practices to support their children in a quest to become the “best they can be”. Learning for all of us just doesn’t happen because we are born smart or not. Learning is a life-long process that can be shaped by growing our brains over time just like we develop and grow other muscles through deliberate exercise and nurturing.

New research shows that parents beliefs and the way they talk about abilities and learning can have powerful effects on their kids’ beliefs. Certain types of seemingly positive praise like “You’re smart at this!” can backfire and make children more likely to avoid challenges or give up in the future when something is difficult.

Fortunately, the same research also shows that there are many things that we can do to help children develop into resilient learners.

Stanford University’s professor Carol Dweck has spent decades studying how people think about intelligence. Dweck and her colleagues have found that people tend to hold one of two very different perspectives about intelligence. One perspective is called a “fixed mindset”. That’s the belief that intelligence is fixed at birth and doesn’t change or changes very little with practice. It’s the belief that intelligence is like eye color. You’re stuck with whatever you’re born with.

The other perspective is called a “growth mindset”. A growth mindset is the belief that intelligence improves through study, deliberative practice and effort. In other words, people with a growth mindset think intelligence is like a muscle that grows stronger with training.

For children with a “fixed mindset”, the classroom can be a difficult and unwelcoming place. They see school as the place where their abilities are evaluated and worth is judge, not as a place where their abilities are developed and failures are seen as challenges to overcome. Their goal in school tends to be to show that they are smart or at least to avoid looking dumb. For them, mistakes are a sign that they lack talent and god given ability.

For children with a “growth mindset”, the classroom is a more exciting, fun and less judgmental place. They believe they can develop their ability, and they understand that the classroom is just the place to do that. Children with a growth mindset tend to see challenges as opportunities to grow because they understand that they can improve their abilities by challenging and pushing themselves. If something is hard, they have to put in more effort and find new ways to learn and push themselves to get better.

Children who understand that the brain can get smarter—who have a growth mindset—do better in school because they have an empowering perspective on learning. They focus on improvement and see effort as a way to build their abilities. They see failure as a natural part of the learning process. In contrast, students who have a fixed mindset—those who believe that intelligence is fixed—tend to focus on judgment. They’re more concerned with proving that they are smart or hiding that they’re not. And that means they tend to avoid situations in which they might fail or might have to work hard.

Many studies show that children who have a growth mindset respond differently in challenging situations and do better in school over time.

Want to learn more on Growth Mindset visit this wonderful site that summarizes studies from praise to achievement scores for children with fixed or growth mindsets. https://www.mindsetkit.org/growth-mindset-parents

Or http://mindsetscholarsnetwork.org/about-the-network/