Mindsets are a thing these days. People talk about growth and fixed mindsets, academic and career mindsets, etc.
But what is mindset and why is it so important?
Mindset is simply a mental attitude you have, which influences how you interpret or respond to situations.
Mindsets shape our lives. It’s a very strong determinant of success.
It’s also one reason many graduates can’t land entry level jobs…
What many undergraduates don’t know is that the best time to develop an effective mindset is during your formative years, especially before you leave the University and lurch into the job search market.
Universities and Polytechnics in Nigeria churn out millions of graduates every single year.
These graduates troop into the already-stretched Nigerian labor market, where unemployment and underemployment is always on the rise.
Going through the social media posts of recent graduates and about-to-be graduates, you can feel the depth of despair poured out by them.
For the graduates, they recount the pain of struggling to find a job, to support their dependents or to repay those who sacrificed a lot to see them through school.
For the undergraduates, they share their fears of becoming a graduate soon. If those who had gone before them are still struggling to land a job after many years of graduating, what then does the future hold for them?
A case of “If gold rusts what will iron do?”
With the right information, however, you need not fear your fate after graduating.
All that is required is a mindset shift. You need to learn about the 7 mindsets to develop before you graduate.
Making this required 7 mindsets part of you isn’t an easy feat.
It takes some serious discipline and courage.
In this post, I go through 7 spectacular mindsets students in Universities and Polytechnics must develop before graduating.
- Military Mindset
- Growth Mindset
- Positive Mindset
- Abundance Mindset
- Analytical Mindset
- Open Mindset
- Global Mindset
These mindsets are key to personal success. Not having these 7 mindsets means you’re setting yourself up for failure after you graduate…
7 Mindsets to Develop Before You Graduate
1) Military Mindset
A military mindset simply means a disciplined mindset. It means sticking to what you’re meant to do until it’s done. It means not letting distractions derail you from your goals.
In 2017, I came across a David Goggins’ interview on Youtube.
In case you don’t know, David Goggins is widely considered to be the toughest man on the planet. Bullied in high school, graduated with a 1.6 GPA, diagnosed with many health conditions, Goggins rose above all of this to become the only member of the US Armed forces to complete SEAL training, the US Army Rangers School and the Airforce Tactical Air Controller Training.
That’s not all. He’ll go on to run nearly 267 marathons in a single year, hold a Guinness world record for most pull-ups (4,030!) in 24 hours, and write the international best seller “Can’t Hurt Me”.
I could go on and on. But if I could distill everything I learnt from Goggins in a few words, here it is:
Be disciplined. I could watch a piece of grass grow for 20 years. Shut out the noise from others and throw yourself into something. Do it again and again and again.
After you graduate, you’re thrown into the job search market designed to break you and make you feel going to school was a waste of time.
So, you need to have a solid military mindset if at all you want to keep your sanity.
A military mindset is the first of the 7 mindsets to develop before you graduate.
Without a military mindset, it becomes even harder to make the shift towards the other mindsets below. This mindset is the ultimate.
It tells you to go again and again, and eventually you succeed!
2) Growth Mindset
Stanford University Professor of Psychology, Carol Dweck, popularized the two mindsets: Growth Mindset and Fixed Mindset in her book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success.
The differences between the two mindsets are best explained in the infographic below.
Having a growth mindset means “understanding that your abilities can be developed”. Having a fixed mindset is the exact opposite.
When I was in the University, I assumed people are either talented or not talented.
You are either a smart chap, making all A’s and topping the department. Or you’re an average student struggling to keep your GPA above the pass grade.
You are either good with computers, or not.
After I graduated and started working, I struggled with using the computer a lot. I was always scared of job hunting or going to work in a big firm because my computer skills were embarrassing.
Reading the book, Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, changed my perception. I picked up the growth mindset and made it a part of my life.
After less than 8 months of putting effort into improving my computer skills, I took my typing skill from less than 15 wpm to over 80 wpm, mastered MS Excel, Word and Access, and landed my dream job.
It all happened for me because I tweaked my mindset from a Fixed mindset to a Growth mindset.
Do this tweak before you graduate. The sky is your limit.
3) Positive Mindset
If you stay in Nigeria, I know how despondent you feel about the future after you graduate…
Insecurity. Unemployment. Corruption. Crumbling economy. Poor standard of education
As Ernest Hemingway puts it: “Now is not the time to think of what you do not have. Now is the time to think of what you can do with what you have”.
These problems have always been with Nigeria. Some graduates rose above these challenges and excelled. I’m sure you too can do the same…
But first you need to keep your mindset free from negativity…
Here is a thought from one Twitter user named Thomas…
The world is set to ‘negative’ by default.
You have to find ways to protect your mental state:
– Avoid the news
– Read Lindy books
– Talk to people you love
– Get inspired by people you admire
This will remind you of what’s possible even when you can’t see it for yourself.”
4) Abundance Mindset
An abundance mindset means believing that there’s enough oxygen for every person in the universe.
Whatever you seek? A job. Money. Power. Influence.
You can find in abundance if only you’re willing to pay the price.
The opposite of an abundance mindset – scarcity mindset – makes you believe you’re in a race where graduate “A” getting a job before you means you can never get a job. Or a certain Mohammed getting rich before you now means money will forever elude you.
The job market is not like your departmental or school elections, where one person becoming the SUG president means no other person can become the SUG president.
There is enough to go round for people who have paid the price of acquiring skills that stand them out.
A scarcity mindset can keep you jobless and broke for long.
Have a change of mindset today before you graduate.
5) Analytical Mindset
Being analytical means you can absorb information or data, turn it over in your mind, get to the heart of what the information or data is about, accept what is true, or reject what is false.
This is a rare skill, especially in Nigeria.
Most universities teach you how to memorize by rote and regurgitate in your exams. You’re awarded excellent grades for faithful reproduction.
In the business world, data is everywhere.
No one will pay you to memorize and reproduce data you can easily copy and paste.
The best jobs are for graduates who can look at information and draw insights.
The best jobs are for those who can identify and define business problems, formulate hypotheses to solve these problems, test these hypotheses, reject what doesn’t work, and accept what works. And this is done under unbelievable time-pressure.
Before you graduate, you need to start developing your analytical skills. Get comfortable with basic mathematics and logic. Learn how to summarize long articles. Master how to think on your feet.
You have time to do this now. After you graduate, you’ll have money problems to wrestle with as well.
Why not start today?
6) Open Mindset
An open mindset means having the courage to explore every opportunity and relationship.
It means going all in to see where it leads. (Do this only if it’s aligned with your long term goals).
An open mindset also means not judging people because of their race, tribe, religion, or orientation. The best things in life can come from places you never dreamt of.
In school, birds of a feather flock together. Book worms move together. Average students move together. Backbenchers also move together.
People from each group tend to avoid people from other groups, after all we’re taught early on that “evil communication corrupts good manners.”
These divisions carry over into every sphere of our lives and over time we find it hard to stand people who don’t share our worldviews. Or we find it hard to listen to ideas contrary to our own.
Most job search tests (especially the best jobs) also try to measure your ability to collaborate with others, to measure how well you can entertain ideas you don’t agree with.
Do you disagree politely, pointing out flaws in the ideas of others?
Or you shout them down, without telling them why the ideas are not great?
Make a change of mindset to an open one today. It’ll help you when you start job hunting.
7) Global Mindset
A global mindset means having a global outlook about what you’re studying, or the sector you plan to work in.
The world is changing. Aside for a few professional fields, you can work in most sectors, not minding what you spent years studying at University.
When I started working in financial services, I worked with engineers, lawyers, biochemists, microbiologists, etc.
There used to be these popular saying in the firm where I worked, “it doesn’t matter if you studied Yoruba or Igbo or Hausa, just come and try the job entrance tests and interviews. If you scale through, you’re in.”
The essence of a first university degree is to make you a generalist of sort. You are trained so you’re able to pick up any book in any field, read it and understand it.
Don’t limit yourself by looking down on your course of study. Have a global outlook. You can branch into any sector with training. That’s what a good undergraduate education should do for you.
Also, if you’re good in the digital space, you can make a killing working for firms abroad.
This is the future. “Earn in a first world currency. Spend in a third world currency.”
Looking back on my own journey of trial and error after graduating (I wasted two years working meaningless jobs), I feel that these mindsets would have made my journey easier and painless.
Writing about these mindsets is me trying to send the ladder back so you can quickly climb and make something of your life.
Start working on your mindset today. I’m rooting for you!