I had read Carol Dweck's theory on the fixed vs. growth mindset in the past, but was reminded of it by Amy Wilkinson, in The Creator's Code chapter on failing wisely.
Carol explains that those with a fixed mindset value the end whereas those with a growth mindset value the means. And this can be encouraged, as she demonstrates with fifth graders that were given challenging puzzles. Some of them were commended for their achievement and how smart they were; the others for their effort and how much they accomplished. When both groups were given a further choice between an easy or difficult puzzle, those that were complimented on their intelligence chose the easier puzzles and those that were complimented on their effort chose the more difficult one.
If you look at creator's and their view of failure through this theory, it makes a lot of sense: they all have a growth mindset and therefore focus on what they can learn from the failure instead of it as an end to be mourned.
My son found out earlier this week that he scored in the top 1% for some subjects on his high school entrance exam. My husband and I were proud and stunned; my son was just stunned and kept telling us—and texting his friends—that it had to be a fluke since he was not that smart. When speaking to him later, I tried to stress that he should just view this as confirmation that he can achieve anything he wants to with hard work, but that where he chose to put that effort was up to him (as long as he got decent grades, of course).
Just like Dweck was able to encourage a growth mindset in some of the students and I am trying to encourage it in my son, we can do the same for ourselves. It really does boil down to perspective and how you mentally frame things, and choosing to see something as an opportunity to learn rather than a "failure" is something we can train ourselves to do.
What current challenge can you mentally reframe?
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