Hello, Bonjour, Namaste, Salam!
I’m not going to lie, on my path to finding my internship at the United Nations Headquarters, I thought of quitting more than once. To give your whole heart to something, and then to know that you may not get it, is a hard thing to do. One of most valuable lessons I gained from the application process is the importance of our mindset. I believe that our mindset can keep us going and provide us with strength especially when you have no idea if your dream or your goal will be a reality. From my experience, our mindset is particularly important when applying for international experiences. They can be competitive, difficult to obtain, and also having to wonder about financial pressures can be an extremely stressful experience.
Early last year, I was lucky enough to come across the work Carol Dweck. If I ever had the opportunity to meet her, I would be totally star struck and just thank her tremendously. Without her I do not think I would have found the courage to work towards my goal of finding an internship at the United Nations.
Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset, is one of MY FAVORITE BOOKS in the entire world. It speaks to the fact that feeling
challenged and leaning into what makes us uncomfortable can make us stronger, better people. Before reading this book, I felt EXTREMELY intimidated by challenges and preferred to move away from them instead of towards them.
The concept of FIXED and GROWTH mindsets speaks to the importance of challenge. A fixed mindset gives up easily, moves away from challenges, and feels threatened by the success of others. On the other hand, the growth mindset focuses on embracing challenges, persisting in the face of setbacks, and learning from criticism. This perspective enabled me to realize the importance of challenges and the amount of personal growth that we can gain in our lives from them. Leaning towards what makes us comfortable can truly change our lives and change what is possible.
By understanding that challenges are a gift, we can gain the courage to move to a new country, or meet some of a difference race, or go to an event where we are the minority. From personal experience, changing my mindset has opened up a world of possibilities.
For example: You are in a new country and you don’t speak the language.
Growth mindset: This is an opportunity for me to learn a new language. Fixed: I hate this. It’s too hard. I want to go home.
Finding international opportunities and living other countries are some of the most challenging things I have done in my life. But by viewing challenge as a means of learning and growth, I am able to see situations in a different way.
The Cultural Encounter
I believe that it is the difference between a fixed and growth mindset that can stop individuals or enable them to embrace diversity or face challenging situations. But through these challenges, we can grow, learn, and enables our senses to experience things that we never thought were possible.