For people with a fixed mindset the fear of trying and failing can be paralyzing. If you go to do something but you don't really try hard, you were not really prepared, if you didn't work as hard as you could have and you don't win... you have an excuse. Nothing is harder than saying, "I gave it my all and it wasn't good enough". For people with a fixed mindset this fear of failure can prevent them trying in the first place.
I can still remember a moment I experienced early in my teacher training.
As part of a communication course the lecturers had a selection of books on display for us to browse during the breaks. I picked up Susan Jeffers book "Feel The Fear and Do It Anyway". Class started at that moment and I didn't get time to read any more than the cover but I still remember the impact it had on me. At various times since that feeling has come back to me as I have faced moments where I was afraid to give something a try. By acknowledging to myself that I am afraid and then reminding myself that I am not going to let fear stop me from trying I have been able to experience some great challenges that I know I would not have attempted otherwise.
Susan Jeffers outlines Five Truths about Fear including...
The fear will never go away as long as you continue to grow!
Every time you take a step into the unknown, you experience fear. There is no point in saying, "When I am no longer afraid, then I will do it." You'll be waiting for a long time. The fear is part of the package.
Carol also talks about the big risk of low effort...
In the growth mindset, it's almost inconceivable to want something badly, to think you have a chance to achieve it, and then do nothing about it. When it happens the "I could have been" is heartbreaking not comforting.
(Mindset, Carol Dweck. p.44)
Reading this reminded me of a quote from Charles Dickens that I wrote out on a scroll and had stuck on the wall above my desk for a number of years.
“Sadly, sadly, the sun rose; it rose upon no sadder sight than the man of good abilities and good emotions, incapable of their directed exercise, incapable of his own help and his own happiness, sensible of the blight on him, and resigning himself to let it eat him away.”(Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities)
I find those words a challenge to my apathy at times.
I was also interested in Carol's discussion of the idea that we can have a fixed mindset about certain aspects of our lives while still maintaining a growth mindset about other aspects of who we are.
What things in your life do you have a fixed mindset about?
(Toilet paper should always roll out from the wall, never down the wall)