As a good proportion of us will be at this time, I watch the news avidly to see what is going on. Sometimes I choose not to because of where I am at mentally and it might just upset the apple cart. This is where some of my ideas about Growth Mindset behaviours going on right now come from – this is both at a global and national level. Then there is more local news which is closer to me and my experience and then there’s me and my life and those close to me – although when I say close, I obviously mean at least 2m away!

All these areas of life have been where Growth Mindset moments have been noted.  My examples and anecdotes are the tip of the iceberg. Some pertinent to me but you will hopefully start to recognise your own through watching these videos.  My intention is to help support a growth in understanding of what constitutes a Growth Mindset in these videos because we are all immersed in this and we all recognise the things or kind of things I’m going to be referring to – you need that communal understanding of those situations to appreciate what the Growth Mindset looks like in real life.

So, to the first facet of the Growth Mindset I am going to explore. Challenges. In a Growth Mindset you relish challenges, you understand the need and importance of being challenged in your learning and growth as a person and the building of your brain and intelligence. Working through challenge is recognised as the thing that will help us to make progress. We are being challenged beyond belief, at the moment – all of us. It’s difficult to know where to start as the number of challenges this virus has thrown our way is immense and never-ending.

 In our own ways we are all being challenged. We need to focus on the positive side to this in the current climate and this may be hard, but it is also necessary. By doing so, we make the choice to cope by distraction. It is not a false hope, it is a huge facet to the drama that unfolds everyday and a very real one and one that I have heard many people express that they hope we will hold on to when all of this is over. We must come out the other side having learnt things. Being forced into getting through so many challenges in some way is forcing us to dig deep and think creatively out of the box. I feel like our world has been pleading with us to work in this way for so long and now we are being forced to hone these skills in a prolific and speedy way.

Being driven by challenge rather than wanting to run from it, is an important part of living and achieving. It is huge part of being resilient. People in a Growth Mindset see challenge as an opportunity to push themselves and grow. Think of all the human growth that is taking place around the world at the moment – a world of Growth Mindset flowers are blooming.

When we’re thinking about challenge at this time the biggest and obvious challenge is how to beat this virus – that is the overall goal. There are so many smaller goals that fall under that though – making sure as many as possible survive, for example, and the big challenge there for many countries is a lack of staff, beds and ventilators and PPE at peak moments of the virus. People are working around the clock to solve this problem and I noted the assistance of Mercedes Formula 1 Team putting their heads together to come up with a ventilator system…. Dyson were also turning their expertise from vacuums to ventilators. A call to retired NHS staff was put out to come back and join the ranks in our fight against this virus and it was well and truly heard and answered by 20,000 former NHS staff.  An army of over 400,000 volunteers signed up to help vulnerable people stay at home which exceeded the original target of 100,000.  The challenge is bringing kindness and inspiration in its wake, which is a truly beautiful thing.

A huge challenge for all of us has been the speed at which our lives have been turned upside down. Adopting a Growth Mindset is about the idea that things aren’t fixed or set in stone. The fact that things can change can give a sense of hope and whilst our normality changed almost overnight for the worse, things continue to change, and we focus on the getting to the point where things will get better. Nobody I have spoken with saw this coming – the element of surprise has been something the armed forces would have been proud of implementing. Nobody was prepared and in every place of our lives we have had to make sense of all this and sort out the practical implications for our work and our personal situations. There has been no choice, but I tell you something – we will be all the more resilient for it. There are moments I feel personally overwhelmed and then my mind quickly turns to those who are in a far, far worse situation than myself and that grounds me enough to carry on. I might just be a bit narky with my husband but that we can cope with.

We have also been hugely challenged by the fact that, as social animals, we need to distance ourselves from others by at least 2m. It is the strangest of habits to have been inflicted upon us and as a way of coping with it, I have found myself having to find the absurd humour in greeting someone with a ‘Good morning’ whist at the same time crossing to the other side of the road. We remind ourselves, short term pain for long term gain. I just hope that we don’t find it as hard to not distance ourselves when the moment comes. I have read that it takes 23 times of doing something for it to become a habit! This is one habit I am keen to break.

As I queued down the road at our local green grocers, with customers 2m apart and only one customer in the shop at a time, I picked up a bunch of daffodils from an outside box as I waited. Another lady did the same thing and we exchanged a few words about how we needed some cheeriness in the house to help lift our spirits - that the simple things were now more important than ever. It seems that the challenge of keeping ourselves mentally healthy comes down to basics and trying to get a good night’s sleep and take regular exercise is a good start to keeping us happier in these difficult circumstances.

The biggest challenge of all in terms of social distancing is not being able to interact with family and friends – it seems particularly cruel timing that we have missed out on both Mothers Day celebrations and Easter celebrations and that is only so far – what other celebrations are individuals having to deal with? I personally lost celebrating my 40th birthday and must console myself with the fact that that means I am still 39 and will celebrate properly next year!

We are challenged with controlling our emotions. Various people have commented on how depressing the news is but that you feel compelled to watch it to keep up to date with the virus and its spread. I have thought about the fact that these news programmes have a challenging job. On the one hand they need to get us to isolate and take this seriously but on the other, there is need to try to protect our mental health as a nation which will be more fragile  – it was a similar issue in school when we were working  just before schools closed their doors. We ran workshops on hand washing, and it was important not to scare children but also say enough to ensure they took the responsibility seriously of hand-washing and covering their mouth when coughing or sneezing with the inside of their elbow. The challenges we face are requiring us to find balance in the way we go about finding solutions. There are a lot of variables to keep in equilibrium.

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