Tough Mind, Big Heart, Agile Brain – The Best Career Advice I Can Give My Children
We know that insanity is hereditary and you get it from your children but what do our children get from their parents? Giving them sound career advice is now difficult because the whole world of work as we have known it is becoming increasingly unrecognisable. The best knowledge skills and experience they can have may not even exist yet.
In the meantime I think the best advice I can give them is to develop, practise and master having a big heart, tough mind and agile brain.
The big-hearted people I know are rare and special people. Something about their inner confidence and control enables them to be generous and friendly, considerate and helpful. They are able to rise above the petty challenges and distractions of every day life and continuously give more and take less from each situation.
Other people are naturally drawn to them because they are approachable and give their expertise and emotions freely.
Not everyone is a believer in being selfless but it takes a big heart to shape little minds and if you have one, I think it sets you apart in a world that needs good deeds.
However, being big hearted is of little use if you are a soft touch because there will always be people who will take advantage of your good nature.
You need to be mentally tough to protect your big heart and to take full advantage of the opportunities in front of you. Being mentally tough will enable you to be more positive and productive and be able to withstand the stress and pressures of ever changing situations. You’ll have the resilience to keep on going and not be deflected from your ultimate goal. You will possess the confidence and self belief to create opportunity from adversity and be able to influence those around you.
These are skills you’ll need to survive and flourish and which organisations will need too, whatever the world of work looks like in ten and twenty years from now.
I recently watched Angela Lee Duckworth’s TED talk on ‘Grit’ where she (briefly) mentioned her fascinating study at West Point Military Academy in the US where the best predictor of success was not academic brilliance or physical fitness but endurance – she called it “grit” which is a form of mental toughness.
You can have high grades but they count for nothing if you can’t last the distance.
Finally, but just as importantly as the big heart and tough mind, is the agile brain. The concept of agile learning explores the ability to use what you know from your previous experience and apply it successfully in totally new situations. It is “knowing what to do when you don’t know what to do” and companies such as Google are now using it to hire and promote their best people.
This makes total sense. You can be the smartest kid in the class today but if you can’t adapt and learn new skills quickly, you will struggle to be employable and successful.
Learning agility and mental toughness are intertwined and both enhanced by a big heart. All can be learned and developed is my piece of career advice to my children.
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