A few years ago, I think it was 2017, I listened to the TED radio hour by NPR which featured Carol Dweck, a Professor at Stanford University which stuck with me and profoundly changed my view on my and others’ ability to grow beyond ourselves.
In the podcast, Carol Dweck talked about the “power of yet” – and how the words we choose to talk to children about their abilities and progress have a big impact on how they see their own potential. She told a story about a school where kids would receive a grade called “not yet” instead of an F. This helped them to understand they are able to grow if they put in the work, there were just not there yet. This practice helped them to approach their school life with a growth mindset compared to a fixed mindset. The difference of both mindsets lies in the belief of either being able to acquire and nurture skills and abilities by practicing them, or thinking that a certain talent or ability is fixed at birth and that we don’t have much control over it.
I believe each of us has these areas in our life where we automatically fall into the trap of approaching a challenge with a fixed mindset – while in others we might be leaning towards a growth mindset. I also believe, it’s worthwhile to try to figure out which area is impacted by which mindset and where a fixed mindset might keep you from trying something new or calls you to give up on an idea.
But how do you understand where a fixed mindset tries to get in your way? Sentences such as: “I’ve always been bad at running.”, “I cannot do that.”, “Others are better at this.”, “I’m just not talented to do xyz.” can be a good indicator. What are your sentences like? And what could you do to overcome them? How about starting to use the power of yet? You can try it out for yourself: so, if you want to pick up an exercise regime, let’s say running, and your inner voice is telling you, you’ve never been good at running, tell yourself: I might not be a good runner yet, but I can become better by practicing it. You can apply this to any area in your life and see how it changes your progress. For me, it’s been a great way to become a little better everyday at things I want to do (like running ;)) but might’ve been pushing back in the past. Which area do you want to tackle?
Do you want to learn more about mindsets and how to adopt a growth mindset? Check out our Be Your Best course.