Strange and impressive associations rise in the mind of a father who kneels to make eye contact with his young son.
Before their eyes lock, his thoughts of mighty kings and masculine warriors blindly establish the power associated with what it is to be a man. And then he sees past the behavior of his innocent son to whom his father means protection, guidance and wisdom, not enforcement and impatience. The father adjusts the cadence of his breathing.
With a lung full of air, the father reminds himself that there is a new world on the horizon. A world that will service the rise of kindness, health and community and signal the fall of ruler, loneliness and entitlement.
We are enlightened and sophisticated. The pioneer days have passed. The children, and then their children children's children, change and develop with extraordinary rapidity. Technology has risen.
But the father is self-aware: the modern conditions had accentuated his vices and ruthlessness, his intense individualism made him far more conscious of his rights than of his duties. He had become blind to his own shortcomings.
But with his son, to do his best to see the bar raised, and for that bar to stay risen, he must hold himself to a consistent and constant higher standard. He must be accountable. He must achieve a growth mindset by silencing the unrelenting pressure of leadership, by refuting the constant 21st century predisposition to perfection, and by avoiding the mundane acceptance that just being present is the passing grade.
How? I mean, we flip through one thousand channels, while we constantly scroll through pictures of beauty and wealth - only serving as a break from our schedules that are filled with appointments and meetings that are made by someone's planning and our own elusions of progress.
With this reflection, the father was fed up with his old world.
Where most days he felt inadequate. He felt his pedigree was inadequate. He felt his leadership was inadequate.
Where most days he blindly strived for excellence. He second guessed his every decision. He berated himself for every perceived failure.
Where most days he thought just being there was enough. He told himself that at least he was better than his absent father. He convinced himself that any additional effort he made would be fruitless.
This could have just as easily been his plateau, but these primeval qualities which are incompatible with growth were far too painful to become habit.
So he read. Discovered. And learned. We are not static. Our abilities, intelligence, talents are not fixed traits.
In fact, our abilities can be developed through conscious effort and persistence.
Developing this mindset makes us want to learn, embrace challenge, persist, understand effort as a pathway to mastery, learn and improve from feedback, find lessons and inspiration in the success of others, and be resilient.
Like fathers and mothers, LEADERS with a growth mindset will achieve higher levels of success, will create a greater sense of free will and will be easier on themselves and others. As organizations grow and change, leaders who have this mindset can create the agile spirit that their followers inherit.
For more on the growth mindset, check out this article.