“Not Yet” – This short phrase embodies how I feel about teenagers (It’s also how I like to think about myself). The phrase evokes optimism, opportunity for success, future possibilities. It is the opposite of: failed, inadequate, unable, sub-par. Rather than thinking about what we can and can’t do, we’re able think about what we have achieved and what we have yet to achieve.
Carol Dweck, whose speaking style may not immediately appeal to teens, delivers a powerfully liberating message that we can become what we want if we embody a growth mindset: the idea that we can grow our brain’s capacity to learn and to solve problems. That our brains become more capable during the times we struggle to achieve.
In this talk, she describes two ways to think about a problem that’s slightly too hard for you to solve. Are you not smart enough to solve it … or have you just not solved it yet?
The first thought process is limiting, a dead end. You’re either good enough or you aren’t. The second is a growth mindset and allows for unlimited possibilities because we can work until we solve the problem. With the growth mindset we have not only found success, but become smarter during the process.
Banish “I’m not good at that”, and adopt a growth mindset: “I’m not good at that yet”.