Thursday, January 9, 2014

Of mindsets and mediocrity

So, I've been reading this here book for school:  

It is really interesting stuff--and painfully insightful. The author discusses two main types of mindsets: Fixed and Growth.  I haven't finished it yet, but here's the gist so far:

The fixed mindset (raising my hand here) is a mindset that wraps worth up in accomplishments, and thinks that true value is only notable if it comes naturally, easily, and without effort or critique.

The growth mindset seizes the challenge, embraces failure as a learning opportunity, and believes that change is always possible. It values work more than natural talent.


I've always tended to stick with things that come naturally.  I read quickly and run slow. So, I'll take on trivia games but refuse to race Daman to the car. Daman is a fantastically growth minded guy. He doesn't understand why I don't want to race him. I don't understand why I would participate in something I have NO chance of winning. (I am fully aware that I have regularly entered races with thousands of people and about 90% of them beat me, but there was that old lady in the walker that I totally smoked.)

Here's an example of Daman's growth goodness: He challenged me to an online trivia game. I've destroyed him seven times. And he just keeps coming! He thinks it is fun. He can enjoy it, even when losing.


I would have grunted and quit long ago.

But, here's the key premise of this book.

Mindsets can change.

When I catch myself berating myself for a shortcoming, I mentally slap my wrist and embrace it as a chance to grow.  The past is in my behind. . . as Pumba would say.  I can grow. I can change.

But, it ain't easy.

For example, I have this lofty dreams of earning a wage as a writer.

But, I don't write.

I think about writing. I daydream about what a good writer I'll be and how lovely my view will be of my sprawling farm as I peck out another article/story/play/whatever.

But, I don't write.

Why?  Fear of failure. Fear of the work. Fear of the criticism that I will have to listen to if I want to get better.

Fear is fixed.

Growth is good.

So, bring on the critiques. I will listen and roll with them. But, I won't let them define me---especially the ones inside my head.