Practices to unlocking your potentials
Experts suggested that unlocking potentials is a process of learning and unlearning. This is the interplay of a focused practice of oneself to help unlearn mental models and ways of operating that are no longer useful, then, to learn skills and capabilities that are relevant to one’s future lives.
According to Deloitte’s Executive Director Duleesha Kulosooriya, there is no particular set of right practices in learning. The idea is for individuals to assemble their own set of practices that collectively support learning and unlearning in a way that is relevant and feasible for each person. Relevant practices might change over time and depend on a variety of factors. Ideally, each person will be able to adopt practices both large and small, those that shape our years and those that shape our minutes, in order to continuously build the capacity for learning and growth.
There are common meta-practices that support learning and growth which everyone can adopt to unleash one’s potential. The practices include:
- Replenish and re-energise. Consciously choosing to step out of the busyness is the first step. You can force a break, for example, by scheduling periodic breaks on your calendars, using a personal tracker to remind you to take micro-break every hour. Having forced breaks, specific additional practices can help ensure that you are getting replenished and re-energised by your break-mentally, physically, and emotionally.
- Explore your core values. Over time, you might be disconnected from even knowing what you value, which can lead to a crisis of identity and hopelessness or despair when difficulties inevitably arise in your daily lives. For instance, the crisis happened after the death of a loved one, an unexpected illness, or getting fired, forcing you to step back and examine your core values and aspirations. As a result, by the time you look inward, your day-to-day life might be far out of line with your core values. While the consequences of losing core values are unimaginable, proactive, ongoing practices aimed at exploring one’s core values can help make introspection safe and productive.
- Cultivate community. In parallel to introspection and internal validation is a need for external validation of one’s Reflection and Reframing. External validation is most effective with a small close-knit community: one that understands you and your context as much as it does the issue at hand, a community that will push and prod your perspectives and conclusions but one that will also support you in taking action upon them.
- Explore edges. New practices are needed to help you find relevant edges without being so prescribed that you miss the interesting adjacencies. At the same time, you also need practices that expose you to more edges and help you understand and make sense of your finding of that new exploration. Online social networks offer one way to access more edges, but doing so effectively involves using social media in a counterintuitive way, paying less attention to close friends and family who are similar to us and cultivating looser connections with a broader network of people whose beliefs and behaviours are less similar. This practice can expose to more nuggets of information, ideas, and perspectives than you would encounter among close friends.
- Be uncomfortable. You might have heard it a million times that success requires stepping out of comfort zones. Being out of your comfort zone is one indication that you have an opportunity to learn something new. Being comfortable, in contrast, occurs when you are on automatic pilot, where the brain is using neural shortcuts to deal with what is expected as efficiently as possible. When uncomfortable, your brain and all of your senses are paying attention. They are trying to map the new experience or new information and make sense of it. Learning something new is usually inherently uncomfortable at the onset.
- Shape serendipity. One of the more uncomfortable tasks for many of us in today’s rigidly scheduled world is to have unscheduled time. Given how busy you are, and how busy you feel – you “should” be, having any unscripted free time. This calendar-filling tendency only does one thing: ensure that there will be no surprises. The idea is to leave space, not just as a means of taking a breather, but with the intent to say “yes” to an invitation or request, even if it seems random and the payoff is not immediately clear. Leave space so that you can accept the unexpected but intriguing request and approach it with an open mind, seeking first to learn, then to build on, rather than critique, the ideas presented.
See also: The Potential of Cognitive Computing in HR
Adopting new practices requires times and effort, but here’s a hack to reach your goal
Adopting new practices is hard as it involves forming new habits and often breaking old ones. According to a study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology, it takes approximately 18 to 254 days for a person to form a new habit. On average, it takes 66 days for a new behaviour to become automatic. And certain habits might take longer to form. As an instance, the study demonstrated participants who found it easier to adopt the habit of drinking a glass of water at breakfast than do 50 situps after morning coffee. This different pace of habit-forming is because a consistent routine of any kind is not for everyone.
On the other hand, breaking a habit might be a lot more difficult because habits are a pleasure-based activity. When a person feels enjoyed when doing it, it is unlikely for that person to leave what they are doing, even if it is bad. But with consistency and some treatments (for habits that require treatment to heal, such as drinking, smoking, or drugs), everyone is able to change the bad habit and create new better ones.
There is no right or wrong timeline. When you want to develop those practices, you should adjust to your own timeline – the only timeline that matters is the one that works best for you. Another important aspect to make the practices stick is a shift mind-set. For example, you might tend to frame life by anchoring around work. Now, flip that around. Instead of ‘taking time off work’, you can ‘take time into life’ whether for taking a vacation, exploring a new idea, learning a new skill, or other things you might enjoy.
The shift in anchoring can make a world of difference in recognising the value of developing new practices. Slowly moving the practices from short-term goals to long-term goals will eventually develop into a habit that is long-term, life-focused one.
The bottomline + some tips
- To unleash your potential and limit, you need to develop new practices.
- The new practices need to be your new habits, and you might be required to leave old habits.
- It requires on average 66 days to form new habits with consistency and shift mind-set.
- You might need help from experts, families, co-workers, or individuals you trust to form these practices for your new habits.
- A commitment to get started with one simple practice is a good place to begin.
- Remember that one small practice can trigger a positive cycle of change, which over time, leads to increased benefits and greater impact.
- Last but not least, having firm, fixed goals help you achieve everything easier, including starting a new practice.
Read also: Different Potentials of Baby Boomers, Gen X, & Millennials