Resilience builds the growth mindset


What does it take to become a world class surfer? Would you expect, when you first start, to be able to get on the board and then simply ride the waves as seen in the picture above? Or would you expect to be wiped out, over and over again? Of course, you know the answer to that. In fact, in the beginning, it would seem that one would be off the board much longer than one is on it. But the key trait is to never give up. If one is wiped out, one gets back onto the board, and gets back out there. The ability to Bounce Back from an ignominious wipe out is the ONLY way that one can become a world class surfer. Over time, the surfer learns how to shift his/her weight with the change in the wave angle and speed, to be able to plant one's feet firmly on the board as though it were glued to them and to conquer the surging energy of the sea. These come with countless hours of being wiped out, bouncing back and being wiped out again. The key is not to give up; it is to learn, adjust and go at it again.


In my previous article, I wrote that Learning is the key growth mindset Dimension. Today, I will discuss Bounce Back, the next dimension to support the growth mindset in people. Indeed, without be able to pick oneself up from a fall, dust oneself and try again, one might never be able to learn.



TEFCAS

I learnt of the method called TEFCAS from my good friend, Tony Buzan (May God rest his soul). As you may know, Tony was a Learning Guru and the inventor of the Mind Map, the visual tool that allows you to take everything in on one sheet of paper. It appeals to the whole brain, something that mere words cannot do. I met Tony in 2001 and after sharing with him how I earned my MBA using Mind Maps, he invited me to become his licensed instructor. Yet Tony did not simply create a learning tool, he also created the mindset that came along with using that tool. In fact, he had a process called TEFCAS, which to this day, I not only adopt, but also teach. TEFCAS is Tony's Bounce Back method for learning.


Once the ball is thrown, it will fly along its own trajectory; sometimes landing on the other hand, many times onto the floor, and yet other times, onto your friend's head. Whatever happens, that is an Event.

T refers to Try-all (or Trial). This means to learn something new, you need to Trial the process - and Try-all ways! He normally taught a class to juggle, and we typically saw people being able to juggle within a 3-hour time frame. To learn to juggle, one must at least Try to throw the ball(s) in the air. If one was afraid to do that - for whatever reason - one would never learn to juggle.

Next comes Event. Once the ball is thrown, it will fly along its own trajectory; sometimes landing on the other hand, many times onto the floor, and yet other times, onto your friend's head. Whatever happens, that is an Event. Something that has occurred.


Next comes F. Normally, when Tony introduced F, he would pause, waiting for the class to fill in what it meant, and invariably, everyone would say "failure". That is where he would correct them and say, "No, it is Feedback." So, the Event - be it the ball falling on the ground or successfully landing onto the other hand - provided us with information. It is the Feedback that we get from the Event.


This allows us to Check where we went wrong, or where we went right. It allows us to ascertain if we threw the ball with too much force, or too little; or if the pitch and yaw angles were off. This in turn allows us to Adjust our inputs and then Try again.


This becomes an iterative process, from Try, Event, Feedback, Check, Adjust and then Try, Event, Feedback, Check, Adjust again. Each iterative loop allows us to get closer to becoming a master juggler, until finally, we get Success, whatever that Success is to us.


by adopting the TEFCAS process, we insulate ourselves from the ignominy of being "wrong" or of being a "failure", building up our Bounce Back ability.

You can see that by adopting the TEFCAS process, we insulate ourselves from the ignominy of being "wrong" or of being a "failure", building up our Bounce Back ability.


Tony Buzan was a genius Growth Mindset thinker long before the concept became fashionable. His TEFCAS process is a key tool to build resilience, not just in learning, but also in life. Because if we view any outcome of a Trial as simply an Event that gives us Feedback, then technically, there is no failure. But of course we have seen failure, and to say that there is none is delusional.