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How to Cultivate Mental Agility? 4 Concrete Steps to Build it

How to cultivate mental agility? 4 concrete steps to build it Cademix Magazine Article by Karima Aboukal

Mental Agility will be one of the main skills necessary for success. It leads to better energy, clarity, and positivity. It focuses on the Agile mindset.

By Karima Aboukal, R&D Project Assistant, Cademix Institute of Technology 

If there is anything we learned from 2020, is that we can’t predict and we can’t plan for what may come in our way. Life can throw us curveballs. I mean, who could’ve imagined that we would go through a global pandemic.  

With that in mind, I believe mental agility, as we continue to navigate an unpredictable future, will be one of the main skills necessary for success and will be a great asset in the workplace. 

 Mental Agility = Agile Mindset  

The key to Mental Agility is the Agile Mindset. It’s virtually impossible to unlock it without adopting and practicing the Agile mindset. The latter is equivalent to the growth mindset.  

In this article, I will be sharing some of my personal experiences and what I’ve learned throughout my journey of acquiring the Agile Mindset.

To start off, I’ve learned that succeeding in any business starts with having the right mindset. This leads to better energy, better clarity, and positive emotions. Taking care and investing in the betterment of your physical and your mental health sets the tone for a successful journey. It helps to build momentum for dedication, perseverance, honesty, and strong productive habits. 

Agile Mindset vs Fixed Mindset  

I used to, sometimes, find myself stuck in scenarios of a fixed mindset. I wasn’t aware of it at that time because I was not aware of this concept. When I learned about the growth mindset and the perspective that comes with it, I managed to break out of this limiting narrative and ask myself the right questions.  

How to cultivate mental agility? 4 concrete steps to build it Agile Mindset vs Growth Mindset Cademix Magazine Article by Karima Aboukal
Agile Mindset vs Fixed Mindset. Credit: screwtheninetofive.com

Talents, skills, and capabilities are all learned through hard work, perseverance, and patience. Your brain can acquire anything as long as you stay focused, dedicated, and committed. There’s no such thing as “I’m either born with a talent or I’m just not cut out for it”. It simply takes practice over time.  

Therefore, I personally ask myself respectively these questions: “Does this interest me? Is this relevant to my growth and my goals?”. If the answers are confirmative, I repeat to myself that I’m simply not YET skilled or trained in this. I will add it to my Agenda and I will practice it on a daily basis. 

In a nutshell, I define the situation, correlate it to my clear goals, make a decision, and get to work on it. My focus is more directed towards Progress and Learning not failures and setbacks.  

Benefits of The Agile Mindset

Thrive by Learning and Creating  

A good practitioner of the Agile mindset fully understands that what creates success is experience and an unlimited number of applied practices.  

Before adopting the Agile mindset, I was a very analytical person that needs all the information available to make a decision. It would take me so much time to gather all the data and to process it just so I can make a safe decision. I, now, came to realize that I was slowing my growth and it was stealing so much of my time.  

Adopting the Agile Mindset has helped me break through that barrier. It is not about knowing all the answers or having all the information and the whole picture. It is about starting out and creating no matter how unsure you are at the beginning because you will figure it out while working on it. Only by operating can we get knowledge, expertise, and, most of all, the answers that you were initially looking for.  

You can join us in this discussion! It’s an upcoming event on Agile Mindset for Personal and Career Development. I will break down the actionable steps one by one that will lead you to acquire the Agile Mindset. It’s the formula that you need to kick off your growth journey and equip yourself with mental agility. You can get more details and book your ticket on https://events.cademix.org/ 

Ability to take accountability  

People with an agile mindset recognize and acknowledge that failure is a key aspect of learning and growth. Don’t make excuses or blame others. Instead, understand how it happened, and, importantly, realize what you learned and what you would do differently next time. 

Boosts your Confidence  

The belief that you can always grow and develop, no matter how much of an expert you are in your field, helps you to regularly challenge your perspective. With the Agile Mindset, you innovate, face challenges head-on, and take action without being afraid of failing. The latter is a learning opportunity. Confidence comes from being competent. You can’t be confident if you don’t take action.  

Openness to feedback and to change faster for the better 

The other thing that changed is how I take in Feedback. I came to realize that feedback is only indicative of your current capabilities. Constructive criticism is actually a great opportunity to learn and to improve your work or yourself for the better. It is not a personal attack. As you can see, it’s a matter of perspective.  

This is why changing to an Agile mindset and building it in your mind will take you far ahead in life. Your will notice a shift in your attitude and behavior. You will be charged with more positive energy. The latter is actually contagious! You will notice that people you meet will find you much refreshing to be around. A conversation with you leaves them walking away with a positive outlook. That’s how powerful the Agile or Growth mindset is! 

4 Concrete Steps to Acquire Mental Agility  

Our lives, projects, or goals are always filled with unknowns and uncertainties. Now that we understand how important mental agility is to overcome difficulties, be flexible to change and improve for the better. Here are 4 concrete steps to acquire it: 

1) Create a Clear List of Goals and Achievements  

This is where you put pen to paper to help you be more aware of your situation, and visualize how you can improve. Write down your list of achievements and your list of your goals. Make sure to be clear and specific.  

How many times have you found yourself repeating the same narrative of “I’m trying…I’m trying” or “Maybe I’m not cut out for this”? Let me tell you that it comes down to your perspective! It’s about asking yourself the right questions!  

Have clarity on what you want to do and set clear goals because the absence of clarity slows down the process of decision making. A point often overlooked.

Agile mindset, which is very similar to the growth mindset if not the same, has helped me produce faster results in relatively short periods of time. In other words, I basically got good at making a decision and enhanced my critical thinking skills.  

I will be talking about this in-depth in my next upcoming event called “Agile Mindset for Personal and Career Development” with Dr. Javad Zarbakhsh, the President of Cademix Institute of Technology. You can book your free ticket at https://events.cademix.org/  and join the discussion! 

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2) Be Creative and keep your ideas flowing  

Using tried and tested ways of dealing with issues is easy to fall back on, but it is not always the right approach. For that reason, brainstorm your ideas, look for alternative perspectives, and think of all the various courses of action you might take to solve the problem.  

Trust your ideas and experiment with them. In this process, keep in mind that a difficult task or a project is nothing but an opportunity to learn what works and what doesn’t. It is not an indication that you’re not good at it! You can always test new approaches and see what works best for you. You never know, your idea or your solution might actually be the right move. 

“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is not to stop questioning” 

Albert Einstein

The improvement and success of creating and building lies in iterations and incrementalism. It’s a cycle of learning – Create, share, and get feedback. After each cycle, you improve and you keep moving forward.  

3) Focus on Progress Not on Failure 

Setbacks or mistakes are a result of a decision, or a strategy, not an indicator of you missing a natural talent. What matters are the small incremental gains. The focus on progress will get you in the habit of looking at problems from various angles, which is good in the long run to develop your mental agility. 

How to cultivate mental agility? 4 concrete steps to build it Cademix Magazine Article by Karima Aboukal

4) Reflect and Perform Retrospectives 

Take some time, every 2 to 4 weeks, to stop and reflect on your previous process of working, the results you’ve achieved, and what has been challenging for you. First of all, this will help you adapt better to changes in the future because you will be more prepared for it. Second of all, you will be able to improve the process of your work which will help you approach challenges strategically.  

For these reasons, always look back and ask yourself these questions: What did you do well and what could you do better in your next projects? Is there anything you would repeat or keep and what do you want to change about your reactions and behavior? Write it down. Your notes will help you keep track of everything. 

In this period of retrospection, you will identify the knowledge and the right tools that promise better results and that works best for you.  

Finally, what better way to end this article than with a few inspirational quotes. They prove the wonders the Agile mindset can have on your perspective and your success.   

Stephen Hawking was right: “Intelligence is the ability to adapt to change.” It is considered as a major ability and a soft skill in agile Career and business development.   

We cannot plan everything in advance. As Thomas Edison stated, “There is a way to do it better- find it!”. It’s the agile process. Every day, we are searching for new ways to do things better. 

Related Keywords: 

Agile, Agility, Agile Management, Motivation, Qualities, Traits, Problem-solving, Resilience, Self-confidence, Creative-thinking, learning mindset, Career development, Personal development, Personal Experience, Adopt, Continuous improvement, Collaborate, Iterative, Backlog, Prioritize, Iteration

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