Mistakes are an opportunity to grow — Growth mindset in Practice
I have been aware of the Growth Mindset, through the TED talk of Carol Dweck and a few articles for a few years now. During these years I think I was only superficially aware of the concept.
However, only after reading the book, I think the true essence has stuck with me now. Going through various examples, especially in different aspects like sports, at work and in relationships, made me question each aspect of my life.
It gave me a huge ray of hope, of the possibilities I am capable of if only I attune myself to a Growth Mindset. I know, a lot of other aspects play a role. However, the very core belief that each of us is not fixed with what we were born, or with what we practised all our lives in past, in itself is very freeing.
I can change, and it takes effort, consistency and a lot of conscious observation of my thoughts, behaviours, my beliefs.
Like she said about each of us, I too oscillate between a fixed mindset in a few aspects of my life and exhibit a growth mindset in others. Since reading the book, I have been a more conscious observer of myself and am trying to adopt a growth mindset more often.
This incident is a good one.
I was mixing a compound in water, to get a certain type of solution. This was a special and costly one, to ultimately achieve an outcome like on this page. I had preserved this compound carefully for around 2 years. I was meant to be extra cautious and extremely precise with my actions. But I don’t know, some kind of hurry came over me, and I dumped the entire compound in warm water. While actually, I was supposed to add very slowly.
Due to my hurry, the compound formed lumps. I didn't have another set. My whole huge expectations of what all I would do with these bubbles suddenly crashlanded. So I was so very angry at myself and fuming at my action. Wondering why I did like that, why I couldn’t be a little more diligent, why I had to rush, why I was so …….? I was going on and on about the disappointment of my action. I was stuck with the mindset of regret.
My daughter was watching me, intently. I told her that I did a mistake and that I am disappointed in myself.
And I think, that was the aha moment for me.
The moment those words left my mouth, I looked at my daughter for a moment and the whole aspect of my future daughter appeared in front of me, how she would respond to such disappointments in life, to what can she learn from me, how should I model to resolve such situations etc, ran into my mind.
That’s when the idea of a Growth Mindset struck me.
I immediately changed my tone, my perspective and told her.
“See I did a mistake, I should have been more careful. Such things happen. Now, let’s see what we can do with it, and think of solution for this problem. “
And my mind actually felt a lot at ease and light suddenly. I was now able to accept the situation and think of the next steps without the burden of guilt or negative emotions.
We have what we have now. Is there a way we can get rid of lumps I thought to myself?
Then I got an idea to use a filter to remove lumps. And it worked.
My happiness knew no bounds when I saw that the compound finally worked the way I wanted it to, the way I imagined it all this time. And I was particularly more happy as I learnt an important lesson and I modelled it well for my daughter to pick.