Why ‘YET’ Should Be Your New Favourite Word
— How To Develop A Growth Mindset
In order to unleash your full potential, you must first free yourself of any limitations, and realise the power of positive thinking. Though the idea of a fixed mindset has traditionally held sway, numerous studies have shown that a growth mindset better represents our brains ability to learn. Our brain works like a muscle — with the correct training and exercise, it can do whatever you set your mind to.
Having a growth mindset means that you refuse all limitations, and accept that hard work and persistence can get you where you want to be in life. A fixed mindset, however, considers intelligence and creative abilities to be static — it places limitations on potential, believing that you only have a certain amount of talent that you are born with, and can only excel to the level that that allows.
Only a few small changes can pave the way to a growth mindset —
TREAT FAILURE AS AN OPPORTUNITY
The journey to achieve something teaches you more than gaining the actual achievement itself.
Failure is not the time to wallow, but rather a time to apply extra effort to significantly improve your results. Failure is what you do and understanding what you can learn from it. When you have a fixed mindset, failure is seen as something negative, and paints you as an overall failure. However, when you have a growth mindset, when you fail, you learn.
Jackie Joyner-Kersee, a track and field athlete and Olympic gold medalist sums this up perfectly —
“I derive just as much happiness from the process as from the results. I don’t mind losing as long as I see improvement…If I lose, I just go back to the track and work some more.”
MAKE “YET” YOUR NEW FAVOURITE WORD
Honesty regarding your current abilities, and the challenges that lie ahead is a great thing, but you should always insert ‘yet’ into your affirmations.
I am not good at algebra — YET.
I am not the best at literary devices — YET.
I haven’t mastered essay writing — YET.
This single word can dramatically transform the way that we view our problems. When we recognise that our current condition isn’t good, but we are en route towards progress, the word actually fosters the idea that we are growing and improving.
GET EXCITED ABOUT YOUR WEAKNESSES
Having a growth mindset means that challenges are something exciting, rather than something threatening. When identifying a weakness, rather than letting it intimidate you, you should see it as a challenge to improve.
As Dr Carol Dweck, the author of Mindset says, “rather than thinking, oh, I’m going to reveal my weaknesses, you say, wow, here’s a chance to grow.”
TRAIN YOUR BRAIN LIKE A MUSCLE
Our brains are much more elastic than previously thought, constantly growing new connections, and new opportunities to expand our brain power. IQ and talent are not fixed, but can be changed based on our experiences and our attitude.
Our brains can be developed through the right training, just like strengthening our muscles at the gym. When we view our brains this way, we stop hiding behind excuses and get honest — if we’re not changing, it’s because we’re lazy, not because we can’t do it.
There are plenty of exercises that you can do to expand your brain in areas you felt were impossible to develop — you can find some here.
VALUE EFFORT OVER TALENT, AND THE PROCESS OVER THE END RESULT
You will learn the most when you push yourself, choosing more challenging work, making mistakes, and then learning from these mistakes.
Many students think that making a mistake is one of the worst things that you can do in school, but rather, it is one of the best — by making mistakes you are allowing yourself to learn more.
However, when making mistakes, it is important to ensure that you are remaining productive, rather than careless — you should try to make sense of a problem, explore different approaches to its solution, and articulate your thinking process, ask questions, make educated guesses, try out different ideas, and constructively critique others.
It is most important to remember that you learn more on the journey to solving an issue than you do by finding an answer in the end. Be fearless in your educational pursuits, and make sure to value the journey just as much as the destination.
BELIEVE IN YOUR POTENTIAL
Somewhere along the way, we tend to lose our child-like wonderment, and our thirst to know everything and anything — however this mindset is a great way to ensure continual growth. Go back to your roots and try to tap into your child-like curiosity. Ask more questions, and become more curious about everybody that you meet, the journey that they have been on, and what they can teach you.
Decide today to continually focus on learning and growth.