As we continue to limp out of Covid, one thing is becoming clear: Many of us are reluctant to challenge our perspective.
You may be one of the people who doesn’t want the vaccine, or refused to wear a mask at the height of the pandemic. Perhaps you are now trying to go back to the old normal, but the world just won’t cooperate. Maybe you are taking care of tiny problems while being swamped by big ones.
Guess what: To survive, you need to think differently! I know it’s scary. Sometimes it may feel like our very identity is challenged. Who are we if we start noticing our contribution to climate change or poverty in America, or the loss of the middle class? What if we admit we don’t completely understand how our phones work? You get the picture. It can seem like our very being is being challenged in today’s world.
Yesterday, I went to a big box store to buy a smart TV. It was a microcosm of what we all face. Not only did I not understand the technology I was purchasing, but I knew that it was probably already obsolete. Because as soon as the manufacturer decides not to support one or two of the apps I use, I’ll have to bypass the TV with another device like a fire stick or Roku box. And who knows what next year’s TV models will do.
In addition, there were only two salespeople serving the TV buyers because we have a labor shortage. And before they sell you an appliance, they have to check to see if it’s in stock due to massive supply chain problems. Even in areas where supply chains are not disrupted, 90% of the world’s freight comes by container ship, and ports are so blocked up and slow that it will be 2022 before they are running smoothly again.
Yes, we have big worldwide problems to solve. No one can tackle them alone – no one business, no one government. Yet here we are, mired in political division, pushes to authoritarianism and bouts of anarchy.
If we start to see this is for what it is – a challenge to our thinking and the fear of losing our old identity – then we can begin to move forward. It takes a fair amount of awareness to catch it when we go back to old thinking, but it can be done.
There is ample research and evidence showing that a growth mindset can help us see opportunity where a problem exists, getting us un-stuck and enhancing our personal growth. Critical thinking is a simple scientific method that can help us make better choices. Systems thinking can allow us to find the leverage points in any systemic issue. Leverage points make change easier.
Most of us didn’t get these skills in school, but we can learn them. Coaching helps people learn new ways of thinking to challenge their perspective and expand their horizons.