When an individual is in a Growth Mindset, they are wanting to grow themselves and make progress by taking on challenges- tasks that are a little out of their comfort zone and are going to push them. These individuals understand that to achieve goals they should expect some struggle and learn to work their way through difficulties and even enjoy the journey! When setbacks occur, which they often will, these events are not seen as something to stop the individual from moving forward and a good amount of problem solving and finding of strategies needs to take place. This is where creativity and a little 'thinking outside the box' is key.
I cannot think of a time when more 'thinking outside of the box' has been more appropriate. This blog post overlaps with that on 'Teamwork and Collaboration' as there are many instances of people working together to solve problems within households, within communities, within businesses and organisations not least in our healthcare service.
GP surgeries have had to get around not seeing patients physically by holding phone consultations where possible. The NHS have had a shortage of PPE equipment and there has been so many companies who have the skills or resources who don't usually provide these pieces of equipment but have rallied to do what they can to help provide the items required. This is true British spirit - spirit that I think many felt was lost before this moment in our history occurred.
I did see one Chief Executive on a news report saying that their company was able to significantly help with the testing for Corona Virus that needs to happen which would significantly help reach the target numbers for daily testing set out by Matt Hancock but that it would cost them £30,000 a day. He was saying that they needed financial help to get there from the bank who were not being helpful, but he said that Banks needed to see the need to relax things and see this as unprecedented. He made the valuable point that this wasn't about making profit as they wouldn't make a profit more likely a loss, but it was about helping where it was needed. This is a setback to be resolved.
The Government is having to look at where financial setbacks are likely to cause most difficulty in keeping our country going economically. The economic cruelty that this virus has caused, not just the UK economy but the world economy, is massive as we all know. Who knows when this damage will repair itself? Setbacks continue to come to the fore as the days go on and solutions to these problems must somehow be found on a moment by moment basis as we live through this crisis.
There has been much concern about the nation's health both physically and mentally and many people bringing online exercise to the fore, not least Joe Wicks. He has seen thousands around the world tuning into his daily morning workouts, specifically designed for kids but hey we all need to get active - I must admit however I didn't join in with his dress up work-out but was amused by his jumping about as Spiderman!
My own Jazzercise instructor has been amazing in providing Personal Training sessions and linking us all up to 'Jazzercise on Demand' but this is taken by American instructors and we miss our Jen. She had her own massive setback to work and was desperate to offer us classes taken by her online but couldn't due to licensing laws on the music used. Behind the scenes work has been being done to try to get this relaxed but with provisos and this has finally been done! The whole of our Jazzercise community are very excited! Ironically the page she has sent out about this she has entitled 'Comebacks are stronger than setbacks!' One of the biggest things to come out of this Covid 19 event is the fact that where community in its truest sense of the word has not been possible, a new kind of community has been found. We miss are old lives of human connection, but this will have to do for now - I just keep thinking about the War and how they did not have the lines of communication open to us today. At least we can forge some kind of connection.
With the Jewish community about to celebrate Passover, they have had to find ways of joining together to observe this festival whilst shut behind closed doors - once again, online comes to the rescue. Even my Mum on Facetime has been trying to work out how we could hold an Easter Egg Hunt for her two Grandchildren, one in London and the other in Cambridge. Funerals of loved ones have had to be held virtually and I even saw an orchestra of people coming together from around the globe to perform a piece that had been composed by the Grandson of someone who had died in honour of him.
I've seen a local pub converted into a local store housing local produce, I've seen a report on a person turning 100 and all his neighbours standing outside his house dotted at a distance down his street clapping whilst he sat at the window. Many businesses have seen the need and support that can be given to others by diversifying - perhaps this shows us for future Brexit issues where diversification is possible, considering the country's needs and what businesses can bring to the table. We have shown that it can be done and under pressurised circumstances.
And then of course there are all so the seemingly smaller setbacks you experience in your home-life - the ability to cope with setbacks is not just been able to work around the big stuff! We have decided to use this time of being shut inside to potty train our daughter and just when you think you're making progress she then decides she doesn't want to wear knickers anymore and wants her nappy. A meltdown occurs if you even gently suggest it would be a shame to not continue as she's doing really well. We then have to find our own methods and strategies that work with her and like Corona Virus, we are learning this as we go, taking her lead and learning how to manage her want to go back to nappies. She is, in her own way, using her own Growth Mindset to harness this skill and I'm using my own to support her!
She has also started to play games and begun to understand the social etiquette of playing a game - that idea of turn taking etc. The problem we have is that with only her and me around to play most of the time, we often don't have enough players and therefore we have found a way around this problem. We seat some of her toys around the game space and we play on their behalf! Speaking of games a friend of mine said she had arranged with her husband to play Yahtzee online and I even saw that the people who produce 'Cards of Humanity' had produced a family version online that you could print off. It got me to thinking you could probably play this game with others online too using a WhatsApp group to message over phrase suggestions to the person who was leading the round - that way not everybody would see their answers.
Another setback, I would say is that she has now dropped her nap in the afternoon. Not only is there no little break and chance to get jobs done around the house but she also ends up extremely ratty and tired at the end of the day and was conking out at around 4pm each day. We have therefore found ourselves a new routine of starting to make dinner at 4pm and getting her to bed earlier that we might ordinarily do and she's so tired by the end of the day that she is happy with that and we get a slightly longer evening to compensate. It has taken us a week or so to find this rhythm, but I would hazard a guess that routine is the key to many people's strategies particularly at this time.
Like so many, my husband is working from home and that certainly brings its challenges, particularly having the afore-mentioned daughter at home. He is juggling trying to support me and my mental health by giving me a break when he can and carrying out his job. Fortunately, people do understand as we are all in the same boat and doing the best we can to carry on. We have both had to work around getting effective concentration time by adjusting the hours we work by working into the night. This is not a great solution as getting enough sleep is important to being able to cope mentally and we are also trying to fit in some exercise too for the same reason and to keep physically fit.
One setback that I have not seen solved and would really love to see a solution found for is the incredible amount of money through stock loss that garden centres will and are seeing. In a time when those of us lucky enough to have gardens are out there more than ever when the weather permits, we could be solving two problems if we could get this stock to these people. Firstly, we would help save money that garden centres will undoubtedly lose and secondly, provide plants to people who have the time to get into their gardens when they ordinarily wouldn't. Furthermore, it would help mental health and also get kids gardening which is no bad thing either. I am sure they would appreciate getting out and muddy.
Hitting setbacks is common in life and always going to happen whether you're in the middle of a global pandemic or not. This time for me has merely highlighted how we have coped by digging deep, being creative and finding some extraordinary ways of solving problems and finding some unbelievable strategies that are getting us through. This time in our lives has put in the spotlight the human ability and need to solve problems - it is part of being human. I only hope we can keep this kind of spirit alive in this much abundance when we are through on the other side.