Editors Pick

Why you need to have a happy workforce

17th April 2024

Tracey Jones: Mind Management Mentorship for our Next Generation

Tracey Jones

Why is ‘introspective reflection’ critical for our society? And more importantly, our education system.

As we are aware the mental health crisis among younger generations, including children, teenagers, and young adults, is a serious and growing concern in many parts of the world, supporting our younger adults and our society as a whole is becoming even more prevalent.

We seem to have lost the ability to use our critical thinking skills and creativity especially when it comes to the emotional problem solving which enables us to deal with setbacks.

I believe it involves addressing the challenges posed by traditional systems and embracing innovative approaches to learning.  Encouraging students and adults to think independently and analytically preparing them to tackle real-world challenges and adapt to a rapidly changing global landscape.

A study in ‘active people HR’ stated that almost half (45%) of businesses offering tech roles claim that candidates applying for entry-level positions lack core technical skills, despite holding a relevant degree, and more than a quarter (26%) think they lack soft skills, according to new data.

By embracing these strategies such as introspective reflection, educational systems can evolve to better support the next generation, equipping students with the skills, knowledge, and mindset needed to thrive in the 21st century. Building the capacity to learn these skills will inevitably have a knock-on effect to our economy.

What do I mean by introspective reflection? It refers to the process of looking inward, examining one’s own thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a deep, contemplative, non-judgmental manner. It involves self-examination and self-awareness, where individuals reflect on their values, beliefs, goals, and actions to gain insight into themselves and their lives.

Navigating complexities of introspective reflection is the main part of my work, where individuals can often reach a tipping point of burnout and struggle with diverse life transitions. Whether stemming from work-related challenges, media exposure, financial changes, selling a business, or transitioning from a specific career. Providing support during these critical moments brings me a profound sense of harmony as I impart knowledge and wisdom, empowering individuals to introspect, realign, reassess, and ultimately progress equipped with a stronger toolkit.

Through creating an awareness and teaching people the ‘how’, individuals can better understand their emotions, motivations, and behaviours, leading to increased self-awareness and personal growth. Enabling people to elevate emotional literacy which in turn lowers stress and anxiety. Learning key pieces of information about themselves enables individuals to make greater informed decisions.

Understanding the mind in this way can indeed contribute to creating a stronger and more cohesive society and it can help individuals navigate conflicts more effectively. By understanding cognitive biases, emotional triggers, and communication patterns, people can approach disagreements with greater understanding and seek constructive solutions.

On a visit to Nepal last summer, I was grateful to have spent 9 days within the Kopan Monastery where I often watched Buddhist monks engage in a unique form of debate known as  “Monastic Debate”. This practice involves rigorous intellectual exchanges where monks engage in respectful argumentation to explore and deepen their understanding of Buddhist teachings and philosophy.

Monks present and defend their viewpoints, challenge each other’s assertions, ask probing questions, and engage in critical analysis. The atmosphere is one of mutual respect, seeking truth, clarifying concepts, and sharpen one’s own understanding.

The practice of debate also encourages active listening, empathy, and understanding of differing viewpoints. By engaging in respectful dialogue and considering diverse perspectives, monks cultivate compassion, tolerance, and open-mindedness, which are essential qualities for building strong relationships. Whilst I would watch these debates, it made me highly aware that we could learn so much from these ancient traditions.

By exploring the depths of our minds and mastering techniques to strengthen our resilience and maintain equilibrium in times of hardship, we set out on a quest to comprehend a new language – the intricate dialect of our individual minds. Consider the transformation that could unfold if we were to systematically enhance social and emotional learning from early childhood to university, nurturing deeper understanding and wisdom each passing year within the educational framework. In the span of two decades, such dedication would undoubtedly shape a profoundly altered society.

This form of understanding does require, patience and discipline. I feel that too often in today’s fast-paced society, where 10-second social media reels dominate our screens and attention spans, the virtues of tolerance and patience are facing unprecedented challenges. The constant barrage of quick, flashy content has created a culture of instant gratification and impatience, making it increasingly difficult for individuals to practice empathy, understanding, and restraint in their interactions with others.

As we scroll through an endless stream of bite-sized information and entertainment, our ability to engage in deep reflection and thoughtful dialogue is eroded. The pressure to keep up with the rapid pace of online discourse can lead to snap judgments, and a lack of willingness to listen and consider differing viewpoints.

By consciously choosing to disconnect from the relentless buzz of 10-second reels and instead engage in meaningful, face-to-face interactions, we can begin to rebuild our capacity for empathy, tolerance, and patience. It is through these deliberate acts of introspection and self-awareness that we can reclaim our ability to navigate the complexities of modern life with grace and understanding.

As we worked through a pilot last year within schools for our Personal Growth Programme for 16–24-year-olds, we came across resistance from some of our teachers. The resistance being, “we don’t have time to work through the programme, we have so much to do”.  They understood the need for such a programme, however, teachers found themselves ensnared by the pressures of preparing students for statutory exams.

The relentless focus on academic achievement leaves little room for nurturing essential soft skills and well-being techniques in the classroom. As teachers strive to meet rigorous curriculum requirements and ensure that students excel in standardised tests, the vital aspects of emotional intelligence, resilience, and mental well-being often take a back seat.

The limited time and resources available are stretched thin, leaving educators grappling with the challenge of balancing academic rigor with the holistic development of their students. In this environment, the crucial task of equipping young minds with the tools to navigate life’s challenges and thrive beyond exam halls becomes a daunting and overlooked endeavour.  Whilst working through the pilot this was evident to us within the schools that we worked in. We were also made aware by one teacher that our platform needed to be more TikTok style to engage the young students. However, we decided not to go down this path as our programme is an in-depth transformational programme.

We believe that wisdom and knowledge cannot be taught in 10 second bite size reels. It can create an awareness of a subject matter; however, the PAL programme is called ‘Preparation for Adult Life’. It does what is says on the tin. To work through the programme takes patience, time and reflection utilising our very own ‘introspection reflection education model’.

The platform has over 400 minutes of content combining a whole host of methodologies that will support young adult in preparation for the workplace. Enabling them to build empathy, resilience, communication skills. We delve into their values and beliefs enabling them to understand themselves on a much deeper level. We were also proud to have worked alongside the ILM (Institute of Leadership and Management) bringing the age level of certification down from 18 to 16 years old.

What surprised us whilst working through this pilot was that many of the educators wanted to personally work through the programme themselves and as a result we rewrote parts of it, created a new platform and made it more adult centric. This programme is called ‘Preparing to Lead Oneself’ (PGP Personal Growth Programme) we are currently piloting this version with over 100 educators. The feedback after 8 weeks within one establishment is “ I’m already seeing a shift with the mindset and language with our staff’.

As we reflect on the impact of these pressures within our young adults and educators, it becomes evident that a shift in educational priorities is imperative to foster a generation equipped not only with academic prowess but also with the essential life skills needed to flourish in an ever-changing world. This is why collaboration among communities, schools, families, and policymakers is crucial in tackling the mental health crisis impacting today’s society.


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