How A Supportive Environment Creates A Remarkable Mindset

“When we treat man as he is, we make him worse than he is. When we treat him as if he already were what he potentially could be, we make him what he should be.”

      – Johann Wolfgang van Goethe 

Being ‘remarkable’ is a choice we make daily, over and over again. In almost every situation we face, we have a choice. We can be more connected, more generous, more innovative. Or we can be more standard, more selfish, more rigid. 

‘Being remarkable’ refers to a mindset you cultivate. It seeks to respond to any given situation in a way that is as positively exceptional as it could be. It asks us a most compelling question:  are you going to imitate or are you going to create?

Why it’s important to create an environment that cultivates remarkable mindsets

We are all leaders in our own right. Whether it be a leader within work, home, or even just one of your own life. We all have the ability to create environments of remarkable mindsets or ones of mediocrity. 

But sustaining remarkable mindsets generally requires a supportive environment. It’s harder to be remarkable when the environment is saturated in mediocrity. Here, qualities like resourcefulness, risk-taking, and humanity are frowned upon. In other words, we find the remarkable within, and through, each other. Likewise, we find unremarkable and ordinary, in and through each other too.

How A Supportive Environment Creates A Remarkable Mindset

How do you make your environment a remarkable environment?

There are many conditions that support remarkable mindsets but the two most prominent ones are safety and belief

Educational psychologist Benjamin Bloom studied 120 world-class pianists, sculptures, tennis players, mathematicians, swimmers, and neurologists. His research revealed that for most of the group their first teachers were warm, nurturing, and created an environment of trust. This enabled them to live and explore what was possible through effort. They were not judged but rather, encouraged. The teacher created a safe environment that enabled remarkable choices over survival. 

Creating Psychological Safety

The term ‘psychological safety’ has received a growing amount of attention over the past two decades. Simply put, psychological safety makes it possible for people to share ideas, ask for help, and take moderate risks. It allows people to do this because there is no fear of rejection, embarrassment, or punishment. This means that people don’t have to choose ‘safe or easy’ over what’s right and possibly unreasonable, but innovative. When we create compliant environments, we are definitely going to see a scarcity of remarkable choices. Remarkable mindsets flourish in spaces where we feel permission to simply be. This is one reason why organisations must spend time deliberating their workplace culture, contemplating whether the culture fosters autonomy and engagement or compliance and avoidance. In today’s world, the organisation whose people choose ‘remarkable responses’ will certainly trump those whose people nod yes externally, and internally say no.  

How A Supportive Environment Creates A Remarkable Mindset

Creating Belief

Some rather hair-raising social science experiments revealed that when a teacher believes a student is capable and resourceful, the student moves in a direction that makes the belief possible and achievable. But when they believe that the student is incapable, unintelligent, and dependent, then the student fulfils this prophecy.

Such research is unsettling. It highlights how your response and attitude to others impacts how they show up. Whenever you or I make a huge judgment call like, ‘I am surrounded by idiots’ (ala Scar in Lion King), we’re actually pronouncing a judgment on ourselves. The starting quote by Goethe brings this point home beautifully. When we see people having the potential to show up in remarkable ways,  treating them in this manner and communicating this, they are more likely to do so.

We need to remember that a remarkable mindset is an authentic choice. What this response looks like might differ from person to person. But it’s always the choice to push against default mediocrity. That’s what we need and want. Supporting people to be remarkable is not the command for them to do things the way you want them done. When people feel and know that you believe they can step up, they tend to do so. But in ways that are true to them. They live out their potential. 

How A Supportive Environment Creates A Remarkable Mindset

Being remarkable ties into the power of a growth mindset and how it plays a key role in our ability to learn, grow, and excel. Whereas a fixed mindset, one that is rigid and unwilling to be pushed or challenged, literally stops itself from developing further.
If you haven’t yet, I recommend you read the compelling blog we wrote about how to get a growth mindset and why it will change your life forever.

So, in summary: I am accountable for my remarkable mindset, and the remarkable mindset of others. Hmm – not sure I like that. But think what’s possible when I take accountability for both and create environments that produce what the world desperately needs – remarkable people.  

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