Growth Mindset


My 7-year old already struggles with not wanting to do things if he doesn’t feel like he’s good at them. I try to instill in him the understanding that you only get to be good at things by doing them. But whether our culture has permeated him already or it is innate, he already, at this tender age, is shy of things that do not come naturally to him.

I’m not sure that I am much better at embracing the growth mindset. It is hard not to think of myself as who I have been until this point. What else do I know but what I have been? But of course, who I have been does not have to be the model for who I become. I can learn new things and become good at things with which I currently struggle. Even hard things.

It is easy for me to see a path for my son to change. At that age you are clearly not the person who you will grow up to be, and so many options are available to you. He has people in his life to guide him and many examples of people to be like.

It is less easy for me to see a path for myself. I am happy with my life as a whole and with many aspects of it. However, there are things that I do that I fear I am not good at and ways that I do things that I fear do not serve me well.

What advice would I give my son. I would say, you need to have a goal in mind, an example of what you’re moving toward. I would say, you need to have a plan of how to get there, tasks to perform that will strengthen the areas you wish to strengthen. I would say you need to practice. No one becomes good at playing guitar by wishing they could play like Jimi Hendrix and no one becomes good at being a leader by wishing they could lead like Nancy Pelosi.

It is hard, though, to know what I am missing precisely enough to know what to change. In guitar there are plenty of lessons and books that teach you step by step. I’m sure there are books and classes out there on all kinds of things, but how do I know what is the right one? Do I have time to select one let alone read one? Can I really change?

From an outsider’s perspective, I am probably making the same kind of excuses my son makes. I should just buckle down, believe in my ability to learn and grow, make a plan and execute. Have you done that as an adult? How have you made it work for you?

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