By Mr Bee
Sebastian: Mindset can be a very broad term. Are you familiar with the psychologist Carol Dweck? Her work is around the topic of a ‘growth mindset’.
Mr Bee: I have only touched upon her work lightly, please expand…
Sebastian: Dweck basically uses the concept of ‘fixed mindset’ vs ‘growth mindset’. I will use an example in my own life. Growing up in school I did not excel naturally at maths or science. Things with numbers I would say. I had this belief when I was young that even if I studied and worked my hardest I would still be bad at these subjects. So this mindset set me up for failure. I did not believe I could grow – I believed at that time I had a fixed ability in those subjects.
However when it came to sports and in surfing in particular I had a different mindset. There was no limit to what I could do. There was this belief that if I worked hard I could master certain manoeuvres. It did not occur to me until much later in life how much that mindset impacted on the way I developed. The skills difference between surfing and maths was huge. As time passed, I was able to reevaluate that mindset with maths and become stronger in this subject. I started to put in more effort and I saw my ability grow.
Mr Bee: You mention on your website the ability to have ‘self-reflection and self-awareness’. I believe these concepts can massively impact upon a person’s life. These areas in life take a lot work and nature just seems to have it down to a science! How have you built the capacity for self-reflection and self-awareness?
Sebastian: Great question. It is hard for me to answer that without taking a step back and talking about my upbringing a little bit. I was fortunate to grow up in a community which lived near the ocean. I spent a lot time with my father who was an amazing swimmer. I have wonderful memories with with my father in the ocean. He died when I was young , I was 6 years old. He took his own life which had a big impact on me. This was very difficult for myself and my family. However, my saving grace ever since I was young has been the ocean.
Mr Bee: I can empathise that the ocean became a sacred place for you…
Sebastian: My dad was cremated and then later we scattered his ashes in the ocean. When I could go to the ocean it was my time to reconnect with him. I viewed the ocean with a lot feeling. I’ll be honest, it felt like it was my family. This was personal to me and my experience, and it became the way I would deal with things that were going on ‘on land’ so to speak. It was kind of an escape. I think that relationship with nature from a young age then began to expand. I started to see my dad in other elements of nature. In the trees, in the grass, in the clouds, and the circle of life thinking. That may sound a little out there.
Sebastian: Whether it was going out and sitting next to a tree or going for a walk in a park or going to the ocean. Nature in general has been my go to place from an early age. There is something about the quality of the air, the way nature enlivens our senses that is really grounding. Nature is set up for a practice of awareness of mindfulness . It does most of the work for us.