Inspiration to work and life

A year ago I attended 925 festival, an inspiring seminar that brings together leading researchers and creative visionaries to share practical insights on how to make work better. Back then I applied the insights to better job seeking. A few months later I found a job. Coincidence? Yes it was.

But the seminar gave me such kicks that I didn’t want to miss 925 festival this year either. My expectations towards the seminar were sky-high and they exceeded: all the speakers were excellent!

The talks were all very insightful, but some topics gave me more practical tips than others. These were my favorite 3 takeaways from 925 festival 2014:

1) “Be better” mindset is a key to success

Dr Heidi Grant Halvorson talked about how the right kind of mindset is the key to success. There are two kind of mindsets: “be good” and “be better”. Depending on mindset one handles successes and failures differently, and performs differently, too:

“Be good” -mindset:


“Be better” -mindset


And how to change your mindset to “be better?” Heidi gave 3 tips:

  1. Use triggering words like improve, progress, develop, become, grow
  2. Re-frame your goals E.g. Instead “I want to be best at X”, say “I want to learn how to become great at x”
  3. Get and give better feedback: message should focus on the process, not the person: “great effort / persistence / strategy / attitude you got there”

I was convinced. I want to become better at “be better”

2) Visibility around progress helps motivation

Dr Jason Fox told us how game design thinking can help to get and stay motivated, especially in innovative, complex work.

Todo-list Kanban-style

Studies have show that employees are most likely to engage in tasks that have most immediate sense of progress. So one should craft visibility around progress to make things more motivating.

Or course the task itself needs to be suitably challenging, too. Fun comes when there’s short sprints of tension (challenging work) and then release (looking back how it went).

I guess those who came up with Kanban boards, burn down charts, sprints, sprint retrospectives and such were on to something smart. I’m glad we have those in use in my workplace. It IS motivating to see the progress.

3) Less worries with mindfulness

Aleksi Litovaara spoke about the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one’s attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment. Or shortly: mindfulness.

He had us experimenting how simple thing mindfulness can be: you just have to stop for a moment, breathe in and out, and observe how you’re feeling. What ever you feel, it’s okay, and you can decide yourself how to proceed.

What hit me the most was how this can be applied in stressful situations where you might usually react in not-so-smart way. Whether it’s at work or at home.

Mindfulness in action

I’ve tried this and I can tell you that I’m a believer.

Better work AND life

All in all what touched me the most in 925 festival this year was a bigger emphasis to – not just work, but life too. And how these two are actually very much part of each other. Any insight that will make you feel better at work will make you feel better at home. And vice versa.

I surely felt better after this seminar and can warmly recommend it to anyone! In case you missed it or would like to hear talks from last year, 925 youtube channel is definitely worth following.

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