Posted Thursday 15 February 2018
Kingston University alumnus Azmat Ali returned to campus last week to deliver an Upgrade Masterclass on ‘Developing a growth mindset'.
Azmat graduated from Kingston in 1990 with a BEng in Electronic Systems Engineering, and has since specialised in marketing for both major technology brands and start-up companies, having developed and delivered successful growth and marketing strategies.
Opening the masterclass, Azmat asked the audience, made up of more than 70 alumni, students and staff, to fold their arms. He then asked them to unfold them, and fold them back the other way.
"I bet you did it the first time without hesitation, but the second time, you had to stop and think about it," Azmat said. "Most of you won't be used to folding your arms a different way, and it felt uncomfortable doing things differently for the first time."
Azmat used the exercise to demonstrate the first steps to a growth mindset, explaining that the reason most people resist change is because of issues of comfort. "If you are never uncomfortable, you are never doing anything differently," Azmat said.
Flying in from Silicon Valley, California the day before, Azmat was also a judge at Kingston University's annual Bright Ideas competition.
"I spend a lot of my time working in the Valley and all over the world, but I feel a sense of pride when I come back to Kingston," Azmat said.
Having used the growth mindset in both his personal and professional life, Azmat explained he had failed many more times than he had succeeded. "Every mistake I make is awesome, because it's something I can learn from. I try and learn from people every day."
Azmat closed the first Upgrade masterclass of the year with the quote: "Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."
Find out about upcoming Upgrade masterclasses here.