Vitamin MBA – Tips from Picasso

In our blog, we provide you with news, tips and tools to help you navigate the MBA admissions process. Despite the high volume of information that gets printed each week, in the past we have not really addressed the fact that many applicants face a set of challenges that are very different from GPA, GMAT and resume. I want to help applicants work through road blocks to success that may include self-doubt, anxiety, procrastination and generally feeling overwhelmed by this process. Hopefully, with a bit of “Vitamin MBA”, I can help you overcome these challenges so that you can put our other resources to work and truly excel on your applications. I now present you with a dose of “Vitamin MBA”

The Positivity Blog posted seven tips from Picasso. I think these are great tips for anyone who is paralyzed by fear or procrastination in the MBA admissions process. I have reprinted most of the post below, and you can view it in his blog here.

Pablo Picasso was a Spanish painter, sculptor and creator in many creative fields. He’s perhaps the most well-known painter from all of the 20th century. He also had some interesting things to say about life. Here are my 7 favourite tips from him.

1. You have to believe to be able to do.
“He can who thinks he can, and he can’t who thinks he can’t. This is an inexorable, indisputable law.”

This is a great quote because it doesn’t just say that you should “believe in yourself!”. It explains why you need to believe in yourself and your ability to do something to actually do it.

The funny thing is that it’s hard to see how much your beliefs control your performance and how you see your world when you are used at looking at things from just one perspective.

When you think you can do something instead of not your perception of that thing changes. And your perception of yourself too. Without those changed perspectives it will be hard to find the courage, motivation, enthusiasm and whatever else you may need. And then there are self-fulfilling prophecies.

If you think you’ll fail you are likely to hold you self back or even trip yourself up (sometimes unconsciously). If you on the other hand think you can do something your mind will start to find solutions and focus on fixing things instead of whining about them. From all of the stimuli around you things, solutions and opportunities will just start to pop up. Without that focus on the right thing, on your ability to do, your mind may not find the resources and solutions that are needed.

2. Push your limits.
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.”

Pushing yourself and stretching is necessary to grow. And the more you push yourself the quicker you can grow. But it can be scary. My best tip so far: stay present as much as you can while doing something you cannot yet do.

This can greatly decrease possible negative feelings that are holding you back. And with those feelings out of your mind and body it becomes easier to focus, to feel positive feelings and actually perform well and learn to do whatever you have set your mind upon.

3. Don’t wait for inspiration or the right moment.
“Inspiration exists, but it has to find us working.”

Inspiration can show up on its own, waltzing in through a door or a window. But doing things that way makes work inconsistent ”“ both in quality and quantity – and you spend a lot of time waiting.

I find that it’s better to follow Pablo’s suggestion and just start working. For the first minutes what you do may suck quite a bit and it’s hard going. But after a while inspiration seems to catch up with you. Things start to flow easier and your work is of a higher quality.

If you feel inspired one day that’s great. Use your inspiration. But don’t limit yourself to the moments where you feel inspired or you feel like the moment is just right to do something. Act instead. A lot of the time you can find inspiration along the way. Or accomplish whatever you want to do despite the moment not looking just as you would like it to.

4. Act.
“Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone.”
“Action is the foundational key to all success.”

As Picasso says, action is the foundation. Without taking action any information ”“ no matter how useful ”“ will be pretty useless. This is also the part of personal growth or just life that is often forgotten or perhaps avoided.

It’s scary. It can feel difficult to do it. Or you may not feel like it’s the right moment now. But developing a habit of taking more and more action can make a huge difference.

5. Ask the right questions.
“Others have seen what is and asked why. I have seen what could be and asked why not.”

It’s easy to ask yourself the wrong questions. To ask yourself questions that just will give you answers that confirm that you are incompetent, foolish, wrong and tell you that your future is limited. Questions that will sink you instead of help to lift you up.

So instead, ask yourself empowering questions.

When having a seemingly negative experience ask yourself: what is good about this? What can I learn from this? There is always something you can learn and have use for to create positive experiences later on.

When interacting with others ask yourself: How can I bring even more value (understanding, help, practical solutions, fun, excitement etc.) to this interaction?

There are of course many more empowering questions you can ask yourself. I think the main point is to reframe the questions you ask yourself into positive questions that open up – instead of closes ”“ the door to opportunities and possibilities.

6. See the hidden beauty by not judging.
“If only we could pull out our brain and use only our eyes.”

One of big advantages of becoming more present in your everyday life is that you decrease the amount of analysing and labelling you do to the things/people in your surroundings. You don’t judge as much.

7. It’s not too late.
“Youth has no age.”

Don’t let social conditioning tell you what you can or cannot do just because you are of one age or another. Age is most of the time just in your head anyway. Take tip #1 into consideration and choose for yourself what you can do. And use tip # 6 and ask yourself the right questions instead of ones that limit you.


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