We are all products of our society. From the moment we are born, we are shaped by the practices and norms of the environment in which we grow up. Our education system, in particular, plays a crucial role in shaping our perceptions and behaviors, often unknowingly. It is the common thread that binds how we collectively view people’s behaviors and respond to any deviations from the norm.
The Role of Education System in Shaping Mindsets
The corporate world often observes that certain professionals who have earned the trust and respect of their peers are given more responsibilities and opportunities to excel in leadership roles. However, it begs the question: why do only a select few succeed in leadership roles, despite many of us having gone through the same education system? What is preventing the majority of the lot from realizing their full potential in leadership?
One possible answer lies in the societal influences that have shaped our mindsets and behaviors from a young age. In Indian culture, obedience to authority and conformity to societal norms are often prioritized over individuality and critical thinking. This can inadvertently limit our ability to think independently and take on leadership roles with confidence.
Societal Influences on Leadership Potential
The education system in India, though undoubtedly rigorous, tends to focus heavily on rote learning and memorization, rather than encouraging critical thinking, problem-solving, and decision-making skills. As a result, many of us who excel in technical skills struggle when it comes to leadership and management roles that require adaptability, creativity, and strategic thinking.
Another factor that can hinder leadership potential is the fear of failure and the aversion to taking risks. In our society, failure is often stigmatized and seen as a reflection of incompetence or inadequacy, rather than as a valuable learning opportunity. This fear of failure can create a culture of risk aversion, where individuals are reluctant to step out of their comfort zones and take on new challenges, limiting their growth potential as leaders.
Overcoming Limiting Beliefs and Behaviors
However, it is important to note that these societal influences can be overcome with conscious effort and self-awareness. As aspiring leaders, we must recognize and challenge these limiting beliefs and behaviors.
When people apply to top MBA programs, we often tell them that the discussions leading to the final drafts of essays would be a period of revelation. Most applicants that come to us come with a clean slate on the board of leadership. They know what they have done, but there is no vision or passion behind what they did. The most important skill that we help our applicants develop is the ability to see themselves clearly for who they are. We help our applicants develop their own voices so they can confidently tell their stories and passion for leadership to the best business schools in the world.
Developing Self-Awareness and Conscious Effort
During the essay discussions, we think it is important that these societal influences can be overcome with conscious effort and self-awareness. As aspiring leaders, we must recognize and challenge these limiting beliefs and behaviors. We need to cultivate a mindset that values the diversity of thought, encourages innovation, and embraces failure as a stepping stone toward success.
Bringing about a mindset shift before applying to an MBA program requires recognizing and challenging societal influences, developing self-awareness, and making conscious efforts to overcome limiting beliefs and behaviors. Cultivating a growth mindset that values diversity of thought, encourages innovation.
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