I've been thinking a lot about Mindset. Mainly it's because I am reading a book on it but also because I am repeatedly seeing in my own life, that my mindset affects my decisions, responses, and emotions.
I grew up in a household where 'can't' wasn't a word, it was replaced with 'can try'. Even though this was a mindset environment, somewhere along the line the mindset changed and fear crept in.
At the beginning of this week, we celebrated St George's Day - we often recall the story of his bravery in killing a dragon. It got me thinking, what 'dragons' do we need to slay, and how do I get brave to do so.
I believe more often than not, that I can't! Perhaps there is an opportunity before me, a chance to try something new, a task to complete, a new adventure to start but it seems like energy usage coupled with possible failure. If I fail, what was the point, and what will others think. I don't want to embarrass myself.
Where did we get to the point that failure meant embarrassment and shame? Failure has always meant learning and growth - and I want to get back to the place where that is true.
It so happened that in this book I was reading a chapter about people's mindsets about art. We either believe we can or can't do it - it's a natural skill, right? Wrong! Studies have shown this to not be true, we can learn and get 'good' or better at art.
"Just because some people can do something with little or no training, it doesn't mean that others can't do it (and sometimes do it even better) with training" Mindset, Dr Carol S. Dweck
Before reading this I would have sat firmly on the I can't. I'd have said, "I'm creative, but I can't do art and I definitely can't draw!". Having to draw something would put me in a fear zone - ok not the same fear as I get when a clown enters the room, but wobbly "I'm going to look like a fool" kind of fear. What that would usually mean is I avoid opportunities where I would feel this way. Yet, bravery isn't avoiding these opportunities, bravery is stepping into them not knowing the outcome.
So it's Easter, and we have a graffiti workshop at the Skatepark and many of the people there haven't done this before, nor have I. I can hear the fear in people, the excuses why they don't want to do it, they don't even have to vocalize them, I know them because they are mine too, and that's when I knew...
today I had to do something where I thought I might fail, where I knew I wasn't an expert and I knew others would do better than me! I had to make myself vulnerable, with the possibility of not getting it right. I had to take up the mindset, that I would be learning, and getting it wrong, and asking for help is ok, because it helps us to grow.
You know what, it was good fun, I was happy to ask for help when needed, and I'm kind of proud of the result! (full transparency the graffiti artist did the white parts & shadow).
I am learning that growth is possible even in the areas I thought it couldn't possibly happen. I hope this encourages you today.