The Beauty of Brains: Pageants & Mindsets – Dr. Rakish Rana

This past weekend I was privileged to attend the Miss USSR UK 2017 final in London. I should start by congratulating the final winner, crowned Miss USSR UK 2017, Anastasia Stussy. A worthy winner!

The successful final was the culmination of lots of hard work, perseverance, and resilience from Julia Titova (CEO Miss USSR UK) and her team. Initially working with Julia on a one-to-one basis, I was then asked to facilitate a workshop on Personal Impact and Confidence Skills for some of the contestants. From all this I was able to witness first hand, from Julia and the team, the dedication it took to deliver such a spectacular evening.

So what’s a beauty pageant have to do with the brain and mindsets you may ask?

Old theory suggested that we were born with fixed intelligence, measurable with an IQ test. Carol Dweck, a psychology professor in the field of personality and social psychology, countered in her 2006 book Mindset (and research), that mindsets can grow given the right circumstances. She formed strong arguments for growth mindsets versus fixed mindsets.

“Becoming is better than being.” – Carol Dweck

An article by Benjamin Hardy, an organisational psychologist, spoke about the 2 mental shifts needed in the growth mindset to achieve great success. Essentially the evolution of the growth mindset. To quote,

“The foundation of the first shift is the sublime power of choice and individual responsibility. Once a you make this shift, you are empowered to pull yourself from poverty of time, finances, and relationships. In other words, the first shift allows you to create a happy and prosperous life, where, for the most part, you control how and on what you invest your time.”   

This is essentially the first shift from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset. He then goes on to talk about the second, more difficult shift,

“The foundation of the second shift is transcending your own independence, wherein your thinking stretches far beyond yourself. Thus, the second shift begins with 10x thinking and subsequently requires you build a team/network that brings your ideas into physical form.” 

Using Benjamin Hardy’s core components, I witnessed this mental shift with Julia Titova and the Miss USSR UK team:

  1. 10X Thinking – Benjamin describes this as having a grand vision, “involving far more boldness and creativity than simply being proactive.” Running a beauty pageant is no easy feat. And you would wonder why someone would take on such a gargantuan task. But understanding Julia’s purpose, it was quite easy to see why. Anyone with a strong purpose can start developing 10X Thinking to accelerate their goals. With a deadline to meet, Julia and the Miss USSR UK team were having to continuously heighten their thinking and accelerate deliveries.
  2. Delegate – Any huge project would be a challenge to be completed by a single person. Benjamin stated, “The sooner you build a team around you, the faster, wider, and deeper will be your results.” Miss USSR UK is very much Julia’s project. Wanting to deliver to the highest of standards, it’s quite easy for anyone (including Julia) to want to do everything themselves to their own exacting standards. I saw that Julia was able to build a highly skilled and loyal team around here, which allowed Julia to focus on what was really needed to ensure success.
  3. Collaboration & Synergy in all Areas of Life – Benjamin talks about using people who are better than you to achieve better results, “In a Darwinian sense, most people compete with others on their own level. Those seeking rapid growth compete with others who are far advanced. An even higher order principle is collaborating with others who are far advanced of your current level. For instance, if you want to get stronger or faster really fast, exercise with people in far better shape. If you want to do incredible work, work with more talented people than you.” This is an area where I saw Julia excel in. She was able to leverage her large trusted network throughout the process, but also on the journey continued to build new relationships that would help drive the project forward (engaging with a life coach & facilitator is definitely a positive to be noted).
  4. Rest & Recovery – Benjamin highlights this final component as being essential, “Deep, creative, and strategic thinking and work is exhausting. An essential component of the second shift is doing “less, but better.” Where the first shift is often about quantity of work, the second shift is all about quality.” He analogises this with professional athletes having to spend vast amounts of time resting. Seeing Julia and the team work endless hours was always a cause for concern, but I was always assured that time was being taken for rest & recuperation in terms of regular gym/swimming sessions and on mindful downtime whenever possible. I think this time for rest and recovery undoubtedly helped Julia and the team get over the ‘finish line’.

What I realised the most was the absolute conviction, that Miss USSR UK 2017 would take place as it had been envisioned. Was the final showpiece to Julia’s satisfaction? And did she and the team take from it what was expected? I’m sure these are questions I will have answered over the coming days. But as a spectacle to watch, I can attest that it left nothing unturned. A great show for all who were there. It was a pleasure and delight to have worked with Julia Titova and the Miss USSR UK team.

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.” – Cecil Beaton

Julia had been able to apply the above components of the second, more difficult mind shift to deliver her project. A huge success. They should be applicable to most areas of life to be very successful. If this is something that you might want to try for yourself, and need any kind of guidance, do reach out to me.

Dr Rakish Rana is an executive life coach specialising in working with successful and determined people, who are unhappy or dissatisfied with their lives, to help them find direction, happiness, and purpose.

Original article from Dr. Rakish Rana:

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