With the advent of technological advances, the world has increasingly become more connected. As a result, we are experiencing increased channels of communication, which is bringing communities, businesses and clients closer together. This has been a driving force behind globalization.
The world is becoming a smaller place and the engineering profession, like many, is realizing the huge impact globalization is having. Professionals are able to collaborate in new ways, learning is more accessible and there is an opportunity for “global engineers’ to be more effective when dealing with the complex challenges of the 21st century.
According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “A ‘global engineer’ is defined as one who has the personal qualities, international knowledge, and technical skills required to work effectively in a range of international settings and work environments.”
By continuing to develop their core capacities, global engineers will be able to work more effectively on worldwide issues in the future. Part of this is having what is referred to a “growth mindset.”
Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck said there are the two basic mindsets that shape our lives: a growth mindset and a fixed mindset. She discussed the differences in her book: “Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.”
“In a fixed mindset, people believe their basic qualities, like their intelligence or talent, are simply fixed traits. They spend their time documenting their intelligence or talent instead of developing them. They also believe that talent alone creates success—without effort,” said Dweck.
“In a growth mindset, people believe that their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work—brains and talent are just the starting point. This view creates a love of learning and resilience that is essential for great accomplishments. Virtually all great people have had these qualities.”
Many of those we consider successful entrepreneurs—Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates and Arianna Huffington—have been said to demonstrate a growth mindset. Engineers can follow their example and take the initiative to incorporate these habits into their daily lives.
Here are eight growth mindset habits to consider:
Global networking can be a key element to success. With the various social media networks now available at our fingertips, such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, networking has become easier than ever before. It is no longer required to be face-to-face with those we learn from. Reaching out to others in the engineering industry for advice and support can go a long way to improve communication and learning. These include associations, universities and foundations.
Reading has been shown to be instrumental in improving brain function. Those who take the time to read will broaden their mind, stimulate their imagination and open themselves up to new possibilities. This not only enables us to be more productive at work, but it also can carry over into other parts of our lives.
Podcasts and Webinars
Have some extra time during your drive or walk or while waiting at the airport? Consider listening to a podcast. Busy engineers don’t have a lot of spare time, but podcasts are a convenient way to learn new ideas. They are usually short and informative and last about 10-15 minutes. For those with a little extra time, webinars go into even more depth and can be a great way to improve your general knowledge.
Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) Talks offer the opportunity to listen to influential thinkers across a broad spectrum of industries. Not only are they informative and inspiring, but they can also change how you think and react to situations both in your personal and professional life.
Whether you are interested in picking up a new hobby, studying a foreign language or playing an instrument, consider taking on a new skill. In addition to academic institutions and community centers, many say the future of learning is online. There are many websites, such as Udemy and edX, that offer learning opportunities from experts in their fields.
Find a Mentor
If you are looking at starting a new business or growing one that is already established, finding a mentor can be instrumental to your success. Many tech titans have had mentors. According to entrepreneur.com, Steve Jobs mentored Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page and Sergey Brin of Google were mentored by Eric Schmidt. Mentors can help you gain experience you wouldn’t otherwise obtain from a book while reassuring and encouraging you along the way.
Meditation has been found to reduce stress and improve concentration as well as overall health and happiness. By taking just a few minutes every day, meditation can help ease anxiety and help you tune into your body. This will allow you to be more productive at work and in your daily routine.
Becoming part of a new community and giving of yourself can boost your confidence. There are a variety of ways you can serve your community and make a difference. Volunteering opens you up to a larger world, offers many skills and allows you to meet new friends. Most likely you’ll find that the efforts you put in to give back will make a lasting, positive impact on society and your personal growth.
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