Ciao! My name is Meg and I’m a Junior Content Designer at Eskwelabs. I am a lifelong learner at my core and a writer with a passion for following my curiosity—and I’m happy to share my learning journey with you!
I tell people that all I want in life is to learn, but it wasn’t always that way. I chose to study European Languages in university even though I used to have no interest in it. Around my second year, I considered transferring to a business program, without success. I felt like I was studying aimlessly and started to doubt my ability to learn. Will I be able to find something I’m passionate about? Am I capable of the greatness I see in others? What will my life look like after some years? Am I capable of making an impact?
There exists a Japanese concept called “Ikigai” which means one’s reason for being. Ikigai implies that we are naturally drawn to that which makes life worth living. It is strongly believed that this is the guiding principle as to why people in Japan live happily and with longevity. Western philosophy mostly applies this concept in education and in one’s career, hence they have broken this down into four questions:
If you think of it, the process of finding your Ikigai is a holistic reflection on one’s self and an assessment of one’s abilities. Imagine what it feels like to finally find that beautiful centre that can propel you forward in the trajectory of growth? It took me a while to realise that I was getting frustrated because I was only considering two parts of the whole diagram: to be able to earn and to contribute to society, I believed I had to become a certain professional with a definite set of skills. This fixed mindset obstructed my self-awareness, neglecting the skills and passions already innate in me.
I took the challenge of finding my Ikigai as an opportunity for learning and gave languages another chance. I took up Political Science to complement my courses in humanities and I have found my passion—I realised that I want to continuously learn skills that allow me to work toward the pressing concerns of society. I do not wish to be a certain specialist, rather, I want to excel wherever I am planted.
After graduation, I worked as an editor, an English teacher in Spain, a publisher, and now an operations associate and a content designer in an edtech startup. None of these milestones would have been possible without the purpose that changed my mindset.
Humans are not static, we are always tested on how we act in adversity. Our purpose gives us reason to persevere in learning and in doing our tasks in front of such circumstances. Our mindset enhances our purpose as it influences the path we take to get there. So, adapting a growth mindset is embracing a life of learning.
With a growth mindset, talent can always be nurtured and failures are seen as temporary setbacks. Feedback is a source of information and others’ successes are sources of inspiration. This creates a healthy environment within one’s self, as opposed to having a fixed mindset where the belief of having skills set in stone can lead to self-destructive thoughts.
To assess your current adopted mindset, you can systematically link experiences and situations to thought and emotion. In the spirit of Ikigai, that which makes your life worth living doesn’t have to be grandeur: you can learn and find meaning in a spectrum of big and small things you encounter everyday.
Fill-up this “Ikigai spectrum” for better assessment and reflect on these questions:
As purposeful learners, we look for avenues to put this mindset into practice. Driven by the purpose of equipping everyone with future-relevant skills, Eskwelabs champions an environment that stimulates growth in all aspects. Our Data Analytics Bootcamp and Data Science Fellowship programs are characterised by mentorship, project-based, and cohort-based learning which highly promote critical thinking and collaboration.
Having a growth mindset demands collaboration, and vice versa. More than just working together, collaborating means exerting conscious effort to improve ourselves and others. It creates a community– a space where feedback is constantly sought when competition is not. At Eskwelabs, communities like these are nurtured and have been proven effective and complementary as our learners do projects.
Project-based learning encourages students to not just simply recall what they’ve learned but to apply them in engaging experiences or projects. Since said projects tackle real-world problems, this method of learning is highly interdisciplinary. Lastly, it is student-centred because teachers are facilitators who provide support when needed. Eskwelabs is proud of its learners who went above and beyond in doing their capstone projects, the final project produced in the 15-week Data Science Fellowship by the Fellows. While in the Data Analytics Bootcamp, the learners’ final project after the 9-week program is the Company Business Review. These projects are remarkable examples of purpose and skill coming together to make impactful results.
Carol Dweck in her writings on the Growth Mindset talked about “fixed-mindset triggers,” which are events like feedback or criticism. This can cause a reaction from an individual such as defensiveness or insecurity. Mentorship is a way to go around these triggers because the mentee would be motivated to recognize challenges and growth opportunities while the mentor would give expert advice based on what the mentee needs. It is a collaborative practice that is celebrated in Eskwelabs which our alumni have fond memories of.
Becoming a mentor can easily encompass more than one circle in our Ikigai diagram above. Let us help you nurture this purpose by signing up for a mentor role today!
The most beautiful thing about learning and cultivating a growth mindset is that eventually, you would encourage others to go on the same journey too. Part of accepting your setbacks as opportunities to learn is seeing the same of others. Facing adversity and finding your purpose means you respect that of others as well.
Believing all efforts accelerate growth means believing that no efforts are wasted. This whole process of growth and self-discovery is meant to be shared with a community that’s as enthusiastic to learn, so, why not join one today?